Notary Bulletin

Hotline Tip: Copy Certification By Document Custodian Of Birth Certificate?

As a California Notary, I have been asked to execute a Copy Certification by Document Custodian for a birth certificate. Am I allowed to do this, and do both parents or just one need to sign?- P.N., Foster City, California

Copy certification by document custodian is not appropriate for vital records (birth, marriage, death certificates), since originals of these documents are retained by public agencies. Anyone requesting certified copies of vital records should be directed to the agency that holds the original — either the State Registrar of Vital Statistics, duly-appointed local registrar or county recorder of the county where the birth, death or marriage occurred. (Health and Safety Code, Section 103545)

If the vital record is from a foreign country, then you should tell them to contact that country’s government for information on how to obtain a certified copy of a vital record, or they could contact the embassy or consulate of that country to see if a Notary working there could assist them.

Hotline answers are based on the laws in the state where the question originated and may not reflect the laws of other states. If in doubt, always refer to your own state statutes. – The Editors

Confronted with a tricky notarization? Unsure how to proceed? NNA members have unlimited access to our expertly trained NNA Hotline counselors to help you with all of your notarial questions. Call (888) 876-0827, Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST; Saturday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST

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Quiz: The Many Types Of Notarial Acts

Notaries perform many different duties for the public — and it’s easy to lose track of the different acts and what states they’re authorized in. Test your familiarity with common — and uncommon — notarial acts.

(A link to the correct answers is provided at the end of the quiz.)

Confronted with a tricky notarization? Unsure how to proceed? NNA members have unlimited access to our expertly trained Hotline counselors to help you with all of your notarial questions.

(888) 876-0827

Monday through Friday:
5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST

Saturdays: 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST

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