Certified Copy of Passport in the United States

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Certified Copy of Passport in the United States


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Old 09-12-2012, 07:01 PM
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Certified Copy of Passport in the United States

Hello! I am applying for a PMV to Australia, and I wanted to share a tidbit of information that I gleaned from the application process.

One of the requirements is to submit a certified copy of your passport. Initially, I was under the impression that this meant that I had to go through the Department of State and get a certified copy of my passport record. Everywhere I looked, it pointed me to the DoS website. However, when my case officer got to my application, they requested a certified copy of my passport biopage.

This confusion stemmed from differing definitions of "certified copy". Here in the US, certified copy usually means a copy directly issued by the agency that holds the original. For instance, to get a certified copy of a birth certificate, you have to contact the birth records office where you were born and request a birth certificate from them. However, for a passport, you carry the original. The only documents the issuing agency has is the application you filed with them.

There are two ways to satisfy this requirement, and it all depends on what state you're in. If you go to wikipedia and search for "certified copy", there is a list of states that lets you know whether or not notary publics are allowed to do copy certifications.

There are certain states where "copy certification" is legal by notary publics, and even states where copy certification is legal, it is sometimes restricted to only certain types of documents. For instance, in my state of Alabama, notary publics are only allowed to do copy certifications for their own journal entries. This means that a "copy certification" of my passport is not legal in Alabama.

In this case, the acceptable alternative is to write an affidavit swearing that the copy you've made is a true copy of the original. I contacted the DIAC hotline and they said that this was OK, and now I'm in the final stages of getting my visa approved (I just have to finish my medical check). You can do a google search for the term "affidavit of true copy" and a couple of examples will pop up. You can create a custom form in Microsoft Word. Just take the form to a notary public along with a photocopy of your passport biopage, and have them notarize the affidavit.

In cases where it is legal for notary publics to do copy certifications, do not make a copy ahead of time, because, depending on the law, the notary may either need to witness the photocopying or make the photocopy themselves.

Take this advice with a grain of salt, and to be ultra careful, you may just want to talk to a notary public about it, because they may even have form letters that you can use to save the labor of creating any forms yourself. This was just one of the many things to stress me out during this process and figured that if there were any other Americans needing help figuring out how to satisfy this requirement, I might be able to help.

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Old 09-12-2012, 11:36 PM
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