Picture notarization in Los Angeles
Can Notaries verify that a picture is a copy of the original? Can they notarize a photograph? What about a copy of my passport or birth certificate?
Foreign countries and some agencies request that photocopies that people send in are notarized or certified. While some states or countries may allow notaries to do this as their legal duty, California does not allow notaries to notarize or certify any photocopy or photograph unless it is a power of attorney certification of copy. If it is any document other than a power of attorney, it cannot be done.
There is a document that notaries can be presented with that can be notarized in California, in which the owner or signer of the document states that the document is a copy of the original document they possess and takes an oath swearing to that, and then the notary would notarize the signature of the person and verify that they administered an oath to the signer. This document is called Copy Certification by Document Custodian. However, the notary in California will not sign saying anything having to do with saying the notary examined the documents and they are the same, or verifying the content of the documents at all.
Notaries also cannot legally stamp a document that does not have the required notarial certificate wording. So we cannot simply put our notarial seal over the photocopy, or on the pictures so that they appear to have been viewed or certified by the Notary. While some notaries will do this, it is prohibited and the notary public can lose their commission if they are caught doing this.
Contact the agency requesting notarized or certified copies and inform them that you live in California where the notarization of photographs and copies cannot be done, and ask them about copy certification by document custodian, or alternatives that THEY will accept.