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Hotline Tip: Can I Notarize A Copy Of A Passport?

New Hotline Resized 3Can Notaries certify copies of passports? If so, what are the steps? — A.G., Rialto, CA

California Notaries are not allowed to certify copies of any document except powers of attorney and journal records. However, an alternative act is called a “copy certification by document custodian.” Copy certification by document custodian may not be acceptable to the individual or agency receiving the copy, so the person requesting the act should verify that it will serve the required purposes.

The procedure is as follows:

The permanent keeper of the document — the document custodian — certifies the copy, not the Notary. The custodian makes a photocopy of the original document, makes a written statement about that the copy is true, correct and complete, signs that statement before a Notary, is identified by the Notary and takes an oath or affirmation regarding the truthfulness of the statement. The Notary, having witnessed the signing, identified the signer through satisfactory evidence and administered the oath or affirmation, executes a jurat.

Copy certification by document custodian is NOT appropriate for vital records such as birth, marriage and death certificates. Since originals of these documents are retained by public agencies. It is not considered best practice to do copy certification by document custodian for any recordable documents.

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) 876-0827Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST; Saturday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST

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02 Sep 2015

Trying to get rid of this comment screen

National Notary Association

02 Sep 2015

Hello. If you are having any issues viewing a Bulletin story, please contact us at with a description of your problem and the type of device you are using to read the article, and we'll be happy to try and assist you in resolving the issue.


07 Mar 2017

What would be a sample statement by the document custodian for the procedure outline above?

National Notary Association

08 Mar 2017

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.

Morris Goodman

10 Jun 2017

To get a proper notarised copy of a passport, drive to Nevada and get it done there. Don't bother with the useless 'copy certification by document custodian' - unless the photocopy itself is stamped by the notary, it can be replaced with another photocopy, rendering the value of the certification as zero.

25 Jan 2019

If the statement and signature of the document custodian is on the same page as the copy of passport, do we sign and stamp on that same page?

National Notary Association

28 Jan 2019

ased 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.

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