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Who Can Certify a Copy of a Document in California

Who Can Certify a Copy of a Document in California?

In the state of California, it is often necessary to have certified copies of important documents. These certified copies are often required for legal proceedings, government applications, educational purposes, or other official purposes. But who can certify a copy of a document in California? In this article, we will explore the individuals who are authorized to certify documents and provide some frequently asked questions regarding the certification process.

Individuals Authorized to Certify Documents in California:

1. Notaries Public:
Notaries Public are individuals appointed by the state government to serve as impartial witnesses in various legal matters. They have the authority to certify copies of documents by attaching a notarial certificate to the copy. Notaries Public can be found in various settings, such as banks, law offices, or independent notary services.

2. Attorneys:
Licensed attorneys in California also have the authority to certify copies of documents. Attorneys can certify documents by signing a statement on the copy, indicating that it is a true and accurate copy of the original. It is important to note that not all attorneys may offer this service, so it is advisable to check with the specific attorney beforehand.

3. Court Clerks:
Court clerks, who work in the various courts across California, are authorized to certify copies of documents that are part of the court records. This includes documents such as court orders, judgments, or other official court documents. It is usually necessary to visit the specific court where the document is filed to obtain a certified copy from a court clerk.

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4. Government Officials:
Certain government officials in California, depending on their position and the nature of the document, may be authorized to certify copies. For example, a city clerk may be able to certify copies of birth certificates or marriage certificates. Similarly, a county recorder may be able to certify copies of property deeds or other recorded documents. It is advisable to contact the relevant government office to inquire about their certification services.

5. Authorized Copy Services:
In addition to the above-mentioned individuals, there are also authorized copy services in California that can certify copies of documents. These services are often private businesses that have been authorized by the state to provide certification services. They typically employ individuals who are appointed as notaries public and can certify documents accordingly.


Q: Why do I need a certified copy of a document?
A: Certified copies are often required for legal or official purposes to ensure the authenticity and accuracy of the document being presented. They are commonly needed for matters such as court proceedings, immigration applications, educational admissions, or government-related applications.

Q: How can I obtain a certified copy of a document?
A: To obtain a certified copy of a document, you can visit a notary public, an attorney, a court clerk, a government office, or an authorized copy service. Each entity may have specific requirements and fees, so it is advisable to contact them beforehand to ensure a smooth process.

Q: Can I certify a document myself?
A: No, you cannot certify a document yourself. Certification requires the involvement of an authorized individual who can attest to the accuracy and authenticity of the copy.

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Q: How much does it cost to get a document certified?
A: The cost of certification may vary depending on the entity providing the service. Notaries public and attorneys may charge a fee for their services, while government offices may have a set fee schedule. It is best to inquire about the fees beforehand to avoid any surprises.

In conclusion, several individuals in California are authorized to certify copies of documents, including notaries public, attorneys, court clerks, government officials, and authorized copy services. It is important to select the appropriate entity based on the nature of the document and the purpose of the certification. Additionally, it is advisable to contact the specific individual or office beforehand to inquire about their requirements, fees, and availability.

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