Notarized copy of government issued documents

In NY State notary public cannot perform copy certifications of any document - neither publicly recorded nor private.

If you need a certified copy of any of publicly recorded documents like:

  • Birth, marriage, and death certificates; 
  • Certificates of citizenship or naturalization; 
  • Documents filed in a court proceeding; 
  • any form of ID (passport, driver license);
  • Documents recorded by the Clerk of the Court; 
  • Public records maintained in government offices; 
  • Student records (transcripts, etc.) kept in public education offices; 
  • Already filed federal or state income tax forms; 

- you  may only obtain it from the custodian of records. 

In case of NYC vital records such as birth certificates, marriage certificates or death certificates certified copies would have to be obtained from the NYC Health Department (birth and death records) or the NYC Marriage Bureau (marriage records).


Why notarization is important?

Chief among the reasons to have certain documents notarized is that having a document notarized is a deterrent to fraud.  Getting agreements notarized adds a layer of verification. Notarization is the assurance by a duly appointed and impartial Notary Public that a document is authentic, that its signature is genuine, and that its signer acted without duress or intimidation, and intended the terms of the document to be in full force and effect.

Notarization not only makes it more likely that signors are who they say they are but also is mandatory in some states for certain agreements, such as deeds, mortgages, easements, powers of attorney and living wills

Having certain papers notarized also is important when disputes are litigated; affidavits, which are sworn statements, will not be considered by a court unless they are notarized.  Notarized documents also are considered self-authenticating, which means the signers do not need to testify in court to verify the authenticity of their signatures. 

Notaries Public Official Status

Notaries have the power to impart an official imprimatur to a document or transaction. There are a plethora of judicial opinions that declare Notaries are “public officers.” (See, e.g., Britton v. Nicolls, 104 U.S. 757, 765 (1881); Werner v. Werner, 526 P.2d 370, 376 (Wash. 1974); and Commercial Union Ins. Co. v. Burt Thomas-Aitken Const. Co., 230 A.2d 498, 499 (N.J. 1967).) But public official status is different for a Notary than for many other public officials. Unlike some public officials, e.g., elected officers, appointed administrators or policemen, a Notary is not a government employee, per se. This distinction can have far-reaching ramifications, especially in the area of personal liability. Usually Notaries are not afforded the sovereign immunity protection routinely available to public officials acting within the scope of their authority. Indeed, in some jurisdictions the enabling statute identifies the Notary as a quasi-public official (see, e.g., Kan. Stat. Ann. § 53-101; and Mo. Rev. Stat. § 486.220.3) and in others the same result has been reached by court decision (see, e.g., Transamerica Ins. Co. v. Valley Nat’l Bank, 462 P.2d 814, 817 (Ariz. Ct. App. 1969); and Ely Walker Dry Goods Co. v. Smith, 160 P. 898, 900 (Okla. 1916)). These classifications, however, are primarily for liability purposes, and do not detract from the central thesis that a Notary is a public official empowered by the states to perform specified duties.

Notary should be identify as a public servant because notarial services are rendered to the public at large under the authority of state statutory rules. Notaries are important functionaries who are obligated to serve individual members of the public. Although notarial acts benefit the public at large by fostering reliance on various types of documents and acts, Notaries nevertheless are distinguishable from other public servants whose primary obligations are to the public as a whole, instead of individual members. 

(based on "The Notary Public Code of Professional Responsibility" National Notary Association)