Colorado RULONA Notary Training classes include the process of how to notarize a certified copy. A notary may make a certified copy of an original document, but the document must not be a vital record, a public record document, or a document that may be publicly recorded, available from a clerk and recorder of public documents, the Secretary of State, the state archives, or a document that is marked “do not copy” or is prohibited from copying.
Certified copies of vital records may not be made by a notary. Copies are available directly from government agencies and document custodians that keep those vital records, including birth certificates, death certificates, marriage certificates, and divorce records.
The most common types of certified copies made by a notary include powers of attorney, contracts, leases, bills of sale, financial statements, health assessments, passports, and driver’s licenses (caution, illegal in some states).
Sources of Certified Copies
Court records may be obtained from the court clerk. County records, including copies of real estate deeds, may be obtained from the county clerk and recorder. City records may be obtained from the city clerk. Some public records are available online, on government websites.
School and college records, such as student grades, course transcripts, and diplomas, may be obtained from the school registrar.
For business records, contact a company officer or the secretary. A business may include a Business Records Affidavit signed by the record-keeping custodian.
Electronic records and documents may be obtained from the original issuer or custodian of the electronic records. They can print a copy and certify it as genuine.
As blockchain electronic records become more common a Blockchain Records Affidavit may be issued by the record-keeper.
Do Not Copy Certain Documents
Do not copy a Social Security card or an immigration card, permanent resident card, green card, or documents issued by USCIS. Contact the issuing agency or the recipient for help. Effective August 1, 2014, Social Security stopped providing Social Security Number (SSN) printouts.
According to Federal law, do not make copies of military ID.
Do not copy documents marked “Do Not Copy”.
Certified Copy Request Form
Colorado RULONA notary law no longer requires the customer to give the notary a signed, written certified copy request form. The request form states that a certified copy of the document is not available from a clerk, recorder or custodian of documents in this state, and, making a certified copy of the original document does not violate any state or federal law.
RULONA Certified Copy Certificate
If the customer needs one certified copy, as a best practice, the notary may request permission to keep a copy in notarial records for evidence.
The notary will certify each copy given to the customer, by stamping or securely attaching a signed RULONA certified copy certificate, indicating the notary has carefully compared the original document with the certified copy, and the copy is complete and accurate.
As a best practice for fraud prevention, the notary should include a description of the original document so the notarial certificate may not be attached to a different document.
The certificate wording is:
I certify that this is a true and correct copy of a record in the possession of _______________, dated _______________, 20_____.
[For historical reference here is the old certified copy certificate used before RULONA laws became effective on July 1, 2018.]
The transaction is recorded in the notary journal. The original document and the certified copy are returned to the customer.
Best Practice Record Storage Tip: The paper copy kept by the notary should be made on acid-free archival paper for long-term storage and stored in a controlled environment in the notarial archive, according to best practices for the preservation of paper records. A fireproof, waterproof safe should be used as disaster protection for storing notary journals and records.
Note: Colorado law does not specifically mention color regarding certified copies. It is not clear that if the original document is in color, if the certified copy must also be made in color, or if a black and white copy is acceptable. Contact the Secretary of State or an attorney for more information.
Colorado RULONA Notary Training includes Colorado statute CRS 24-21-505(4), which describes the procedure for making a certified copy.
[For historical reference, Colorado statute CRS 12-55-120 was used for making a certified copy before RULONA laws became effective on July 1, 2018.]
NNA Model Notary Act, Section 2-4 Copy Certification
[Note: The Model Notary Act is not Colorado law, but is used as a reference for best practices. It includes provisions for copy certification of paper or electronic documents. Metadata may include important information about the style, size, and spacing of the typeface used. They might also include past edits and revisions that have been made to the electronic document.
Metadata may be very useful to know whether a certified copy of an electronic document is the same metadata of its original. Metadata may include a computed hash value, based on the document content. To check file integrity, if any character in the document is altered or corrupted in storage or transmission, the computed hash value will not match the stored hash value.]
“Copy certification” means a notarial act in which a notary:
(1) locates or is presented with a paper or an electronic document that is neither a vital record, a public record, nor a recorded document;
(2) compares the document with a second paper or electronic document that either is:
(i) presented to the notary;
(ii) located by the notary; or
(iii) copied from the first document by the notary; and
(3) confirms through a visual or electronic comparison that the second document is an identical, exact, and complete copy of the image or text and, if applicable, metadata of the first document.
Certified Copy Certificate
A notary shall use a certificate in substantially the following form in notarizing a certified copy:
[State] of __________
[County] of ________
On this ______ day of ________, 20___, I certify that the (attached or following paper document)
(affixed, attached, or logically associated electronic document) has been (visually) (electronically) confirmed by me to be a true, exact, and complete copy of the image (or text)
(and metadata) of ________________(description of original document),
(presented/e-mailed to me by ___________________,) (found by me (online) at _______________________,) (held in my custody as a notarial record,) and that, to the best of my knowledge, the copied document is neither a vital record, a public record, nor a publicly recordable document, certified copies of which may be available from an official source other than a notary public.
(official signature and seal of notary)
Copy Certification by Document Custodian
If the notary is unauthorized to make a certified copy for you, you may consider using a Copy Certification by Document Custodian. The document custodian certifies that the copy is a true and correct copy of a record in their possession.
[Last-Modified Date 2020-05-28] added blockchain records affidavit