What is a Certified True Copy?

January 6, 2018 6:32 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Certified true copy

A certified true copy is a specially made copy of a document used for legal purposes.

Who can help you

Our BC Notaries would be happy to make you a certified true copy:

Linda Caisley at Kelowna-Downtown and Penticton
Tim Janzen at Kelowna-Enterprise
Larry Stevens at Kelowna-Enterprise
Debra van Beers at Westbank

Our BC Lawyers would be happy to make you a certified true copy:

Jaime Boyle at Kelowna-Downtown
Daniel K. Lo at Penticton
Keith Martens at Kelowna-Enterprise & Spall

Need to send something important away, but don’t want to lose it?

What is a certified true copy?

A certified true copy is a specially made copy of a document used when you need to use an important document for legal purposes, but you don’t want to lose the original.

You bring your original document to someone who is recognized as being able to make certified true copies – a notary public, for example. The notary public will make an exact copy of your document, and will attach a special certificate to that copy.

It should be noted that there is no law that sets out who can actually make certified true copies, so theoretically, your neighbour could make a certified true copy of a document for you. It’s just that notaries have a unique standing worldwide as trusted professionals, and therefore the certified true copies made by notaries tend to be accepted when those made by your neighbour down the street would not be.

The certificate made by the notary confirms that the notary has seen the original document, has made an exact copy, and has verified the attached copy against the original. Others rely on that certificate to know that what they are seeing is an accurate representation of the original document.

The notary then seals the certificate and the copy of the document, which can then be sent away.

Because the copy of the document has been made by an recognized person, and it has been made following a particular protocol, it is accepted in lieu of the original document.

Why would I need a certified true copy?

Imagine, for example, that you need to apply for job in a foreign country. In order to verify your identity, you have to produce your identification.

But you don’t want to send your driver’s licence or your passport away – you won’t be able to guarantee when, or if it will come back.

It may also be unacceptable for you to send certain documents out of your possession – for example, a Canadian Passport is actually the property of the Government of Canada. In some cases, it is also forbidden by law to make photocopies of identification and other important documentation unless you fall within a special class of persons such as notaries.

If your passport gets into the wrong hands, it can be used for identity theft or fraud; you should notify the authorities immediately if that happens.

Can you make a certified true copy of any document?

No. We can only make a certified true copy of a complete, original document.

For example, we cannot make a certified true copy of:

  • a document you have downloaded from the internet
  • a copy of a document
  • an incomplete document

While we can make a certified true copy of a specific page of a document (for example, we can make a certified true copy of the identification page of your passport, or of a visa page from your passport, that original document must be intact. We cannot make a certified true copy of the signing page of a contract for example, without seeing the whole contract.

Do you need the certificate? Can’t you just stamp it?

In some cases, a stamp will work instead of using a certificate, but the wording isn’t the same, and a stamp doesn’t often work in foreign jurisdictions. It’s better to use a certificate, so the right language is included, and the document has a better chance of being honoured in the foreign jurisdiction.

How do I get a certified true copy?

Bring us your original document and let us know how many certified true copies you need.

Please let us know if your documents are going to the same source, or different places, as that will affect the number of certificates we make for you.


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What is a certified true copy?
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What is a certified true copy?
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A certified true copy is a specially made copy of a document used for international legal purposes.
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TNG Legal Services MDP
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This post was written by Linda Caisley