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Types of Documents

The Hague Convention provides that the following are public documents that can be authenticated by this office so long as the document contains the signature of the appropriate official:

  • Documents originating in a court or tribunal;
  • Administrative documents;
  • Notarial acts; and
  • Official certificates placed on documents.

Original 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.

Note:  Photocopies of any of these documents are acceptable for authentication but only if properly notarized as a true and accurate copy (with the exception of birth and death certificates).  

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 or copy containing the notarized signature of the document custodian.  Many foreign countries will not accept notarized copies of birth and death certificates.  See OAC § 3701-5-02.

Notarized documents. Documents notarized by an Ohio notary may be authenticated.  These documents include the following (this is not a comprehensive list):

  • Adoption papers
  • Authorization to conduct business in foreign countries
  • Copies of passports
  • School records – transcripts, report cards or diplomas
  • Power of attorney
  • Deed of assignment
  • Distributorship agreement
  • References, job certification and employment letters
  • Vehicle title
  • Police clearances

You may wish to use the following resources if you seek notary services in your area:

Note:  The Ohio Secretary of State does not endorse these sites, but offers them as a potential resource.  Use the Notary Search to view a list of all registered notary publics in Ohio.