Certification of documents as true copies of the original – what does it require?
Certified true copy means a copy of an original document which is certified as a true copy by an authorised person. It does not certify that the original document is genuine, only that it is a true copy of the original document. The reason why you are requested to provide a certified copy of the original is because the documents you submit are not returned to you, so you need to provide a copy which must be certified as a true copy of the original.
When documents are required to be certified copies of the original, each copy of the document or, where a document has several pages, then each copy of each page of the document, must be certified and must show clearly:
• The words ‘certified true copy of the original’
• The original signature of the certifying officer
• The name and address or provider/registration number (where appropriate) of the certifying officer legibly printed below the signature so that the assessing authority can contact the certifying officer if necessary.
Authorised people include: Justices of the Peace (JPs), legal practitioners and registered migration agents. Overseas, this role is undertaken primarily by notary publics and for this reason ‘notarized’ documents usually mean the same thing as ‘certified’ documents.
Once a document has been correctly certified, they can also be scanned for submission. Most assessing authorities now accept scanned certified documents uploaded on their online application portal. The scanned copies must be the certified copies of the original documents, not copies of the certified true copies of the original.
Authentication of a document is different to certification of a document as a true copy of the original. Authentication of documents is not a requirement for the visa application process. This is because the documents you are providing are assumed to be authentic.
For Filipino applicants, the ‘red ribbon’ authentification by the Philippine Embassy in your overseas country of residence is also not a requirement for the visa application process. This is because red ribbon authentication frequently does not bear the stamp “certified true copy of the original” on the documents, or where such a stamp is used, only the first page of the document bears the stamp. Moreover, the red ribbon authentication process punches a hole through the top corner of the documents to enable tying of a red ribbon through the documents. This practice is not advisable for your visa application documents as it often obstructs full view, or worse, affects the integrity, of the documents – rendering them unusable in some cases.
Translation of documents
If your qualifications are not in English, you must provide certified copies of both the original language document and an English translation carried out by an authorised translator. Certification must appear on the front of the document (not the back page).