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Can I Notarize A Birth Certificate Requested In Another Country?

New Hotline Resized 3I have a client who has moved to Mexico. Her son is a U.S. citizen. She tried to enroll him in school and Mexican officials told her they needed her son’s birth certificate with an apostille attached from the U.S. The family only has a copy of the birth certificate — not the original. They want me to notarize the copy so they can send away for the apostille. Am I allowed to do this?A.V., CA

In the United States, vital records are maintained in the office of the county where a person is born. Generally, that office is authorized to certified copies of birth records.  A Notary Public in California is not authorized by law to notarize a copy of a birth certificate. Once the certified copy is obtained from the appropriate county, your client may contact the Secretary of State of the state in which the person was born for assistance in obtaining an apostille for her son’s birth records.

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

David Thun is an Associate Editor at the National Notary Association.

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, 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. PST; Saturday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST.

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Tessa Y. Jackson

12 Aug 2014

These hotline tips are very informative, if followed we notaries can help our clients and keep ourselves out of hotwater.


13 Aug 2014

I look forward to every tip I can get. Thanks.

Carmen Hudson

05 Oct 2015

Help line tips is the best to keep you well informed and help us as Notary to perform safe, secure and acknowledged document's Notarizations.


20 Oct 2020

Some one is asking me to notarize a affidavit for adding a spouse to a birth certificate is this allowed in ca. The page is comeing from georgia. Also it does not have the california wording.

National Notary Association

21 Oct 2020

Hello. As long as the type of notarization requested is permitted in California and meets all CA Notary law requirements, you can perform the notarization. However, you would need to complete and attach the required CA Notary certificate wording,

Bepen Kadel

17 Oct 2021

My son has foreign original birth certificate and copy of notarize. How can I notary again because copy of notarize birthday certificate is not accept for us passport?

National Notary Association

18 Oct 2021

Hello. You may wish to contact an embassy or consulate of the country that issued the original birth certificate to see if they can provide you with a certified copy.

Veronica Thomas

19 Sep 2022

I know I need a notary to look at my ID and sign my form for my birth certificate that I have to send back to San Diego county how much would it cost like that I won't have to send my actual idea just sent a copy because you looked at it

National Notary Association

28 Sep 2022

Hello. Can you please clarify what type of notarial act the document is asking of the Notary? California Notaries cannot certify copies of vital records such as birth certificates.

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