In the United States, copies of original documents can usually only be certified by the institution that originally issued the documents or notaries public in certain states. A notary public's authority to perform document certification is dictated by each state's law.
Certified copies, which are used for government, legal and commercial transactions, are typically required for identification purposes and to verify education, state and federal licensing or ownership of property. Regulations and procedures for obtaining certified copies vary by country. Certified copies of documents, such as tax returns, birth certificates and deeds, can be obtained for a nominal fee from the government offices that originally issued them.