Certified copy (of a document) definition

A certified copy is a copy of a primary document that features and endorsement or seal that proves it is a true copy of the primary document. According to Wikipedia, "it does not certify that the primary document is genuine, only that it is a true copy of the primary document".

The process for the certification of copies may vary depending on individual state laws, but it basically includes:

  1. The document’s custodian requests the certified copy
  2. A Notary compares the original and the copy
  3. A Notary certifies that the copy is accurate

A certified copy of a birth certificate is a copy that has a registrar’s seal. The main difference between the original birth certificate and the certified copy is that latter has a registrar’s seal that might be raised, embossed, impressed or multicolored.

The certified copy must be notarized by the registrar, this means that it must be signed and dated. A certified copy can be used to prove your identity.