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True Copy (Certified Copy) of a Document

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True copy (or certified copy) of original documents are often needed to make sure that copies submitted are true, exact, complete and unaltered. The procedure and wording may differ slightly from state to state and information may be available from the Office of Secretary of State of each state.

In general, a simple "true copy" word with a stamp and signature of the notary public is NOT enough for the purpose of document authentication in a Chinese consulate.

Most states allow a notary public to certify a true copy of non-recordable documents. Recordable documents, like birth certificate, marriage license, deed, court documents usually should be obtained directly from authorities.

Before your document can be authenticated by the Chinese consulate, it needs to be certified by the Office of Secretary of State. [see Authentication Procedures]

Here are the basic requirements for the southern 8 states (the states covered by Chinese Consulate in Houston).

StateRequirement
Louisiana Does not allow a notary public to certify true copy. Follow the "Connecticut" example.
Mississippi Does not allow a notary public to certify true copy. Follow the "Connecticut" example.

However, "nothing in this section shall prohibit a Notary from notarizing a signature on a document which has a copy of an official government document embedded or attached as an exhibit."

Florida, Georgia Allow a notary public to certify true copy, but the notary public must make the copy, or supervise someone to make the copy.
Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas Allow a notary public to certify true copy.

Arkansas

Sample wording for certifying photocopies:

State of Arkansas
County of ____________


I, [Name of Notary]_______, certify this is a true and perfect copy of the original document [insert type of document] presented to me on this ______ day of _________, 20___.


Notary's Signature _____________
My commission expires: ___________
                                                                [Seal of Office]

Oklahoma

Example for attestation of a copy of a document:

State of Oklahoma
County of ____________

I certify that this is a true and correct copy of a document in the possession of _____________________
Dated _________________

(Signature of notarial officer)
(Seal, if any)

Title (and Rank)
(My commission expires: )
(My commission # )

Texas

CERTIFIED COPY OF A NON-RECORDABLE DOCUMENT
STATUTORY CERTIFICATE FOR CERTIFYING A COPY IN TX ONLY

State of Texas
County of _______________

On this __________ day of __________, (year), I certify that the preceding or attached document, and the duplicate retained by me as a notarial record, are true, exact, complete, and unaltered photocopies made by me of (description of document), presented to me by the document's custodian, _______________, and that, to the best of my knowledge, the photocopied document is neither a public record nor a publicly recordable document, certified copies of which are available from an official source other than a notary.

______________________
Notary Public's Signature

(Personalized Seal)

Florida

A notary public may make attested photocopies if the following criteria, found in 117.05(12)(a) of the Florida Statutes, are satisfied.

  • The document must be an original document. A notary public cannot make an attested photocopy from a photocopy, or from another certified copy.
  • The document cannot be a public record, certified copies of which are available from another public official. If a certified copy can be obtained from the official source, then the notary public should decline the request.
  • The making of the photocopy must be supervised by the notary public. It is not sufficient for the notary public to compare the photocopy with the original document. The notary public must actually make the photocopy or supervise another person while he or she makes the photocopy.

F.S.A. 117.05(12)(a)

A notary public may supervise the making of a photocopy of an original document and attest to the trueness of the copy, provided the document is neither a vital record in this state, another state, a territory of the United States, or another country, nor a public record, if a copy can be made by the custodian of the public record.

A notary public must use a certificate in substantially the following form in notarizing an attested copy:

STATE OF FLORIDA
COUNTY OF __________

On this _____ day of __________, (year) , I attest that the preceding or attached document is a true, exact, complete, and unaltered photocopy made by me of (description of document) presented to me by the document's custodian, ____________________, and, to the best of my knowledge, that the photocopied document is neither a vital record nor a public record, certified copies of which are available from an official source other than a notary public.

(Official Notary Signature and Notary Seal)
(Name of Notary Typed, Printed or Stamped)

Connecticut

Under Connecticut law, notaries have NO AUTHORITY to prepare "certified" or "true" copies of any documents. It is a very common request and notaries should be prepared to meet such requests in a helpful manner. The Office of Secretary of State of CT recommends that all notaries use the following procedure:

The notary should request that the person presenting the document make a photocopy and prepare a written statement, that may be attached to or written on the photocopy itself, stating that it is a true copy of the original. The individual then verifies under oath, administered by the notary, that the statement is true. The requesting party signs the statement in the notary's presence and the form of jurat that appears under Sec. 4.9, is attached and completed by the notary.

Warning: All information provided on this web site, through email communications, or over the phone, are for reference only and do not constitute legal advice. We shall not be held responsible if loss or damage occurs. For document authentications, we strongly suggest that customers seek legal advice from lawyers.

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Documents can only be authenticated at a consulate based on the state that issued the documents, not where you live now.

We only serve AL, AK, FL, GA, LA, MS, OK and TX, but you will be happy to answer your general questions.

We may help with your Chinese visa application no matter which state you live in.

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