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Types of Documents

General documents include papers for adoption, authorization to conduct business in foreign countries, copies of passports, diplomas, employment letters, police clearances, powers of attorney, transcripts etc.  For authentication purposes, a commissioned Ohio notary public must notarize any of these privately issued documents.

  • If the notary is an Ohio attorney notary whose commission does not expire, the document  may be submitted directly to the Secretary of State.
  • If a non-attorney notary notarizes the document, the document must first be submitted to the County Clerk of Courts of Common Pleas in the Ohio county in which the notary resides.  The Clerk of Courts must certify the notary’s signature.  The certification must have the county clerk of courts signature and seal.

Use the Notary Search to locate a notary public through county of residence.

To locate a Clerk of Court to receive a certification of the notary, view the County Clerks of Court directory (PDF).

Documents that are already certified do not need notarization.  These types of documents include (this list is not exhaustive):

  • Birth certificates and Death certificates certified by the Ohio Department of Health or Vital Statistics.  If you need to obtain a certified copy of a birth or death certificate from the state of Ohio, you may contact the Ohio Department of Health for statewide birth certificates at (614) 466-2531, or contact the Department of Health or Vital Statistics in the county the birth or death took place.
  • Certified copies of marriage licenses or certificates.  Marriage records are on file at the county probate courts. To obtain a certified copy of these, contact the probate court in the county where the marriage license was obtained. A Certificate of Single Status can also be obtained at the county probate court.
  • Certified copies of divorce decrees, probated wills and judgments.  These can be obtained at the Clerk of Court’s office in the county where the proceedings took place. 
  • Certified copies of business organization documents on file with the Ohio Secretary of State.

Photocopies of any of the documents are acceptable if properly notarized (and in some instances certified by the Clerk of Courts) as a true and accurate copy. 

Note about Birth and Death Certificates: This office can only attach an apostille to a certified copy of a birth or death certificate that is issued by the custodian of the record.  This office cannot accept a photocopy certified as a true copy by a notary public or attested by you to be a true copy in a statement made before a notary.  Many foreign countries will not accept notarized copies of birth and death certificates.  See ORC § 3701-5-02.

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