A certified copy of a document is an authorized, exact copy of the original document. Certified copies include official seals or endorsements verifying their authenticity. For example, a certified copy of a birth certificate always includes a raised, embossed, impressed, or multicolored seal, as well as the registrar’s signature. These indicators verify that it is legal proof of identity or citizenship.
While application processes vary by document and location, the process of obtaining certified copies of documents generally goes like this:
- The agency holding the original document makes an exact copy
- A notary compares the copy to the original document
- The notary then certifies that the copy is accurate