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Hotline Tip: How To Perform A Copy Certification By Document Custodian

In states where Notaries are prohibited from certifying copies of documents, there is an alternative procedure called a copy certification by document custodian. This procedure allows a person in permanent possession of an original document to sign a written declaration that a copy of it is identical to the original, and take an oath or affirmation before the Notary.

The custodian’s signature is then notarized on the written declaration using jurat wording. In essence, a copy certification by document custodian is an affidavit signed and sworn to by the custodian with a jurat as the notarization. Remember, the custodian, not the Notary, guarantees that the copy is an authentic reproduction of the original.

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Su McMillan

21 Jan 2015

How can I get this form? I can't find it on the internet. Please advise as soon as possible. Thank you very much.

Gloria Herrera

26 Feb 2015

Can you please provide me with a copy of this form?

National Notary Association

27 Feb 2015

Hello Gloria. Not all states permit copy certification by document custodian or have statutory wording for this notarial act. What state are you commissioned in, please?

02 Mar 2015

Does CA commission allow this?

National Notary Association

04 Mar 2015

Hello. Yes, California permits copy certification by document custodian, except in the case of vital records such as birth, death and marriage certificates. Persons requesting certified copies of vital records need to contact the agency that holds the original record.


16 Apr 2015

Hi, I am in the process of renewing my passport in NY. I need to get the copy of my driving license, passport , marriage certificate and my permanent resident card notarized but I found out from my my bank that state of new jersey does not allow copy certification. Can I use the Copy Certification By Document Custodian instead and is it allowed in NJ Thanks

National Notary Association

17 Apr 2015

Hello. You would need to contact the agency you are submitting the information to and ask them if they would accept copy certification by document custodian as an alternative.


30 Apr 2015

so is there a form that CA notaries can order to use for Document Custodian?

National Notary Association

04 May 2015

Hi Amy. We don't have a specific CA form for copy certification by document custodian, however we do have some general information in our CA Notary Law Primer, which is available here:


15 Jun 2015

The National Notary Association used to have CA Copy Certification By Document Custodian forms. I just found out last Friday that we are no longer supposed to use them. Why did you stop producing them? The form made my job much easier since I have quite a few people who need copies of passports, documents and other items copy certified by the document custodian.

National Notary Association

17 Jun 2015

Hello. We previously offered the certificate because it was a common practice for Notaries in states that do not allow Notaries copy certifications (as is the case in CA with some exceptions) to suggest a copy certification by document custodian as an alternative. We discontinued the form because it we feel it's best for the Notary not to make this suggestion to the client, as doing so could easily broach providing improper advice.

30 Jun 2015

The signer is requesting a certified copy by document custodian. Seeing the state does not offer a form; and the signer is requesting this type of notarization. Is this document okay, if i were to add the correct verbiage to the top of the document?

National Notary Association

07 Jul 2015

Hello. Notaries should not recommend a copy certification alternative, make claims concerning the legality of the procedure or provide a form to assist the customer unless the Notary is an attorney licensed to practice law. However, if your customer presents a document with statements concerning the accuracy of a photocopy, you may then notarize the customer’s signature.


25 Sep 2015

Does New Jersey allow use of the "Copy Certification by Document Custodian" form? Many of my Customers keep asking me to notarize copies of drivers licenses, passports, etc. Thank you.

National Notary Association

25 Sep 2015

Hello. No, New Jersey does not authorize its Notaries to certify copies of documents.


02 Oct 2015

Hello, I was just approached to see if I can notarized a California Copy Certification by Document Custodian, however after reviewing some of the comments it seems that it is really no recommended. Is this correct and should not perform the notarization. The company that I work for does business worldwide and is in need of this price of document. Please advise with your best response. Thanks in advance! Maria

National Notary Association

02 Oct 2015

Hello Maria. So we can better answer your question, can you confirm what state you are commissioned in (is California correct?) and tell us what type of document is involved? If you need a fast response, you can also contact our Hotline team at for assistance. Thanks!

Chelsea Duncan

30 Nov 2015

Does Indiana allow for this?

National Notary Association

01 Dec 2015

Hello Chelsea. According to the Indiana Secretary of State's Notary Guide, page 55, "A notary public is allowed to certify or attest to a copy of a document. The signer of the document does not state anything about the document; only the notary does. You must carefully make the copy or oversee its making in order to make sure that the copy is true and accurate. The transcription and reproduction must be full, true and accurate. It is best to photocopy the document. A certified copy does NOT have to be made from an original copy unless specified. Personal appearance is required from the person requesting the certified copy.A photograph cannot be notarized. A statement about the photograph may be notarized though."

19 May 2016

How can I obtain this form??

National Notary Association

20 May 2016

Hello Kim. To help us answer your question can you tell us what state you are commissioned in, please?


10 Aug 2016

How can I obtain this form? I am in California.

National Notary Association

12 Aug 2016

Hello. California Notaries may only directly certify copies of a power of attorney or copies of their own journal entries if requested by a court or the Secretary of State. There is no statutory CA wording for a copy certification by document custodian.

Christie Agena

02 Sep 2016

Does Hawaii allow the use of this form?

National Notary Association

06 Sep 2016

Hello. A copy certification by document custodian is simply a statement written by the signer and signed and sworn to in front of a Notary with a jurat. From the Hawaii AG's website: "For a jurat, the notary certifies that the signer personally appeared before the notary. The signer is positively identified and, after signing the document in the notary’s presence, takes an oath or affirmation that the statements contained in the document are true." Hawaii does not prescribe specific jurat certificate wording.


23 Nov 2016

Hello, Im in California and will be doing a loan doc signing in. Few days, Escriw is asking I submit a "Certified Copy" of the Deed of Trust and Note once I return loan docs to them. I've never done this before. Can we Certify copies of a deed of trust and note? They claim to do it with every file so I'm confused.

National Notary Association

23 Nov 2016

Hi Karina. Notaries in California are only authorized to certify copies of powers of attorney or copies of their own journal entries if copies of the entries are requested by the Secretary of State or a court. (GC 8205[a][4]), (Probate Code 4307[b][2]), (GC 8205[b][1]), (GC 8206[e])

omar khan

19 Dec 2016

Hi, my daughter was born few months ago in Canada and I am residing in Texas USA. They have asked me to apply for her CRBA ( Consular Report of Birth Abroad ). They want me to get all the certified copies from custodian of records like our marriage licenses, previous divorces, citizenship etc etc., can Someone help me finding a place here in Texas to get a certified copies from custodian of records. I cant find any information on that on internet.

National Notary Association

19 Dec 2016

Hello. If the original records are held by offices in Canada, you may wish to contact a Canadian consulate or embassy in your area to ask if they can assist you in obtaining certified copies of the appropriate records.

chris casaday

13 Jan 2017

In NJ, can I Notarize an Affidavit of Copy related to a US Passport?

National Notary Association

13 Jan 2017

Hello. Yes, provided the notarial act requested for the affidavit meets all requirements of New Jersey state law.

Tonya Upperman

13 Feb 2017

I don't think I can certify a copy of a marriage license in Ohio. If one of the people on the certificate write something on the copy stating it is a true copy, can I notarize their signature only? Do I need a separate form? They need it for a passport.


17 Feb 2017

Ok so I'm confused. In the state of CA there is no form to notarize copies say of a power bill or passport pages. Can I use the Jurat form for this purpose? If not, what form am I suppose to use and why doesn't the state provide one since there is so much demand?

L burns

27 Mar 2017

Does Illinois permit this form for document copy certified by the custodian (containing the custodians seal or signature)

National Notary Association

28 Mar 2017

Hello. No, Illinois does not permit Notaries to perform any type of copy certification of documents.

Alice Finch

31 Jul 2017

Is this still valid in 2017 (in CA)? I can't find anything about using this form on the Secretary of State website.

National Notary Assocation

03 Aug 2017

Hello, we no longer provide this form. While a client may request this, a Notary should not advise a signer to choose this type of act as this type of advice could be considered unauthorized practice of law.

Hilary Edwards

13 Sep 2017

Is this form available for Maryland? I have previously made copies of a document that I did not copy myself that they want certified as true copies.

National Notary Association

13 Sep 2017

Hello. A Notary in the State of Maryland does not have the power to certify the authenticity of any document — official or unofficial — other than the Notary’s registry. For example, a Maryland Notary cannot notarize a passport, birth certificate, school transcript, or other document.


22 Oct 2017

Since Maryland notaries do not have the power to certify copies of any document, may they then perform A Copy Certification By Document Custodian when suggested by the custodian?

National Notary Association

25 Oct 2017

Hello. Yes, but only if the signer requests it and provides the wording for the statement the signer wishes to swear or affirm. The Notary should not instruct the signer to perform this act, or choose this act on the signer's behalf, as that would be unauthorized legal advice.


30 Nov 2017

I am a notary in Illinois - just to clarify, I am not allowed to notarize/certify copies of documents, nor am I allowed to perform a copy certification by document custodian, correct? If this is correct, how does the requesting party get their copies certified?

National Notary Association

04 Dec 2017

Hello. You are correct. Illinois does not allow Notaries to certify copies of documents. A requesting party would need to contact the agency requesting a certified copy to find out what alternative means of certification the agency would accept.

John Reinier F Narvaez

21 Mar 2018

Hello, Is this practice done in New York State? I’ve gotten conflicting responses from notaries here.

National Notary Association

22 Mar 2018

Hello. If a signer asks you to notarize their signature on such a statement, you may notarize their signature-the signer would need to tell you if they want an acknowledgment or a jurat. However, a Notary should not direct or advise a signer to seek out a copy certification by document custodian-this could be construed as the Notary offering unauthorized legal advice to the signer.

Braxton W. Purcell

26 Jul 2018

I'm the document custodian for a Christian ministry in California, and I had to get commissioned as a notary public in this state to qualify for this position (because some of the documents in my files will be used as "Self-Authentication Non-Judicial Records with Full Faith & Credit throughout the U.S." pursuant to F.R.E. 902 & 28 USC 1739). I'm also frequently asked to certify copies of original documents held in my possession, however, I simply sign the California Copy Certification Form (which you no longer provide) as the "Document Custodian" while having another notary public verify my ID, signature and credential with their required jurat and notary stamp. In the lower portion of the form marked as "OPTIONAL", where it asks for the Title of the Governmental Officer or Agent, I also apply my notary stamp. The California Secretary of State's Office is very much aware that I routinely follow this procedure, and has never raised an issue about it (dozens of apostilles have been issued in this way). It should also be noted that in the California Notary Handbook where it "instructs" on Certified Copies, both the ambiguous wording and method of citing of the various codes seems to imply that notary certification of POA's & journal entries are "inclusive", but not "exclusive". Anyone care to comment on this?


11 Oct 2019

I am a notary in the state of Maryland. Maryland does not allow notaries to certify copy's but I am wondering if I may act as an official witness on a custodian certification copy (where I am just witnessing the signature of the custodian. I believe I may witness the signature, as I would on other documents. I am just not positive about a copy certification document. I appreciate your thoughts on this. Thanks.

National Notary Association

15 Oct 2019

Hi Robin. We consulted with our Hotline Team counselors. They said that a Maryland Notary may perform a signature witnessing for the signature on a document custodian's statement that a copy is accurate, if the document custodian requests it.

miranda morelli

04 Jun 2020

Where can this document. I need it for a notary next week in California

National Notary Association

05 Jun 2020

Based on what you’ve described, we think it would be best if you contacted our Hotline team by phone and provided them with a more detailed description of the situation. The NNA Hotline: 1-888-876-0827 Mon – Fri: 5:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (PT) Saturday: 5:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (PT) If you’re not an NNA Member or Hotline Subscriber, they will provide you with a one-time courtesy call.

Kerry Wilson

16 Oct 2020

Hello. Quick question. We have a client who needs proof of his identity while filing for SSA Medicare. The notice is requiring he mail in the original of his drivers license which is preposterous. How can he send in proof of his drivers license without having to mail off the original? Please explain in detail. The SSA notice said that he "must send the original records, or if he does not have it, then a copy by the person who is the custodian of the original record. Do not send copies by a notary public." So how does our client send his drivers license without having to send the original???????

National Notary Association

19 Oct 2020

Hello. We're sorry, but in this case you would need to contact someone directly at the agency making this request and request additional clarifications or instructions from them.


08 Jan 2021

I am in CA and have to notarize copy of drivers license next week. Can I use "copy certification by document custodian"

National Notary Association

21 Jan 2021

Hello. Please see this article for more information on the use of alternatives to copy certification:


25 Feb 2021

A client has brought an original death certificate and has for a black and white photocopy and has asked for the CERTIFICATE OF A CERTIFIED COPY BY DOCUMENT CUSTODIAN. I am not certifying the copy of the certificate, I am only notarizing the document that the document custodian is signing regarding a photocopy of the original death certificate. Is this doable in NYC?

National Notary Association

05 Mar 2021

Based on what you’ve described, we think it would be best if you contacted our Hotline team by phone and provided them with a more detailed description of the situation. The NNA Hotline: 1-888-876-0827 Mon – Fri: 5:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (PT) Saturday: 5:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (PT) If you’re not an NNA Member or Hotline Subscriber, they will provide you with a one-time courtesy call.

Elizabeth Gilroy

10 Mar 2021

Can you tell me where I can find this form to attach to the documents?

National Notary Association

10 Mar 2021

Hello. Please see this video and article for more information about copy certification by document custodian:

10 Mar 2021

I recently sent a request for a form for certification of a copied document. Someone graciously sent me the video as to how to notarize such document which I had already watched and it did not explain to me we I can find this. Please send me the said form to my email address as it is mostly impossible to find on the site. My apologies if it is there but it is not easy to find. many thanks

National Notary Association

10 Mar 2021

Hello. Most states do not have statutory Notary certificate wording for a copy certification by document custodian. If you can tell us what state you are commissioned in, we can confirm if your state has such wording.


17 May 2021

I need to have a my college diploma notarized, but I reside in CA so it appears I will need to have this Copy Certification by Document Custodian performed instead. My question is, would I be the Document Custodian (as the person who holds the diploma and it was issued to) or would my University be considered the Document Custodian? Also, are there any "written declaration" forms available to use for this process, or is it something I must draft myself?

National Notary Association

28 May 2021

Hello. The term "Document custodian" refers to whoever is in possession of the document in question. If you require a certified copy of your diploma, you may wish to contact your school to ask if they can provide you with a certified copy.

21 May 2021

Does Texas allow it's notaries to do this?

National Notary Association

24 May 2021

Hello. A Texas Notary cannot make certified copies of recordable documents. A Notary may, however, make a certified copy of a non-recordable document. A non-recordable document is one that cannot be recorded with any type of governmental entity. For instance, a letter is not recorded with anyone, but there are times the sender of the letter would like to maintain a certified copy of that letter for his or her file.


14 Jul 2021

Hello, I needed to get a local police check "notarized" and when I did it in California, a document custodian form was approved for apostille. But when I showed a Nevada notary this form as an example what I needed ( I moved states) he didn't know what It was. So he stamped the document with my oath and notarized my signature.. Now I am thinking I did this wrong. This if for a work permit for China.

National Notary Association

19 Jul 2021

Hello. You would need to contact the agency that has requested the document to check if the notarization is acceptable to them, and if not to ask them for instructions how to proceed.

Peter Luger

04 Sep 2021

Hello - I am the custodian of an entity and need to provide a letter that I received from the IRS in an international tax filing. Can I provide a copy of the letter and notarize it as a "copy certification by document custodian"?

National Notary Association

10 Sep 2021

Hello. You would need to contact the IRS to ask if they will accept this option or not.

Pipeline Ministries Trust

17 Oct 2021

Please advise how and if this type of certification(document custodian) can be used in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania ? Thank you.

National Notary Association

22 Oct 2021

Hello. Pennsylvania Notaries are authorized to certify copies of documents, but may not certify copies of certain federal and state records such as birth, death and marriage certificates (Department of State website, “Sample Notary Public Statements”).

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