Certified True Copies: Understanding the Role of Notary Publics in International Document Certification
A common inquiry we receive is about the distinction between a Notarized Copy and a Certified True Copy. The answer is straightforward: there is no difference.
In most cases, a Certified True Copy must be certified by a Notary Public. This is particularly true when the documents need to cross international borders.
As a Notary Public, certifying a true copy of a document is the only service that can be provided without the signatory's presence. The Notary only needs the original document to be present, which can be sent through mail or courier. However, it cannot be sent through email, as emails can easily be altered. In this case, the original document should be printed and stamped by the sender, and then the Notary can certify a true copy.
The Notary's certification only confirms that the copy is an accurate reproduction of the original document, not that the original document itself is valid. For example, having a certified copy of a Will does not prove that the Will was executed correctly.
Practical reasons for requiring a Certified True Copy
Certified True Copies are often required for practical reasons, such as ensuring the copy's authenticity. The certification process by a Notary Public makes it more challenging to alter the copy after it has been certified. This provides the recipient with reasonable assurance that the copy is genuine.
The common uses of Certified True Copies
These copies are frequently required for applications, including job applications, university admissions, or professional or trade license applications. The required documents are usually identification documents, such as Passports, Driver's Licenses, or academic records, such as Degrees, Diplomas, Transcripts, or criminal record checks. When applying to multiple organizations, sending the original documents is not practical, which is why certified true copies are required.
Certified True Copies are requested when it is not possible for someone to verify a copy in person. This is particularly true for documents that need to be sent internationally or when the volume of documents to be verified is too large for an organization to handle. These copies are often used to prevent the loss of original documents or the need to return them.