During the life of your business, there will likely be a time when you will be required to provide an official copy of your company’s formation or qualification documents. In order to ensure that the document you are providing is legitimate (and is identical to the copy on file with the state), you must follow the steps to secure a certified copy. While the most common reason to need a certified copy of your formation documents is in order to register your company to conduct business in other states, there are a number of other reasons as well. Read ahead for more information on what a certified copy is, when you may need one, and where to get one.

What exactly is a certified copy?

A certified copy is an official version of a document on file with a governmental agency. A certified copy includes a stamp or certification from the government agency that confirms that the version included with the stamp or certification is a true and correct copy of the official governmental record.

When would you need a certified copy?

A certified copy may be required for a number of purposes:

  • You need to open a financial account.
    Most financial institutions require you to provide a certified copy of your company’s formation documents before you can open an account with them.
  • You are attempting to foreign qualify.
    In order to successfully register your company to conduct business in another state, you will need to present a certified copy of your formation documents or a Certificate of Good Standing.
  • You want peace of mind.
    Some business owners prefer to obtain a certified copy of their formation documents simply to verify that they have not overlooked any necessary filings. This is increasingly common now that electronic filing has become the norm.
  • You need to replace a lost or destroyed original.
    It is highly recommended that all businesses keep an official copy of their formation documents on hand at all times. Should these papers ever become lost or damaged beyond recognition, it is advisable that they are replaced with a certified copy.

A note on international business

If you are a foreign-based owner of a business in the United States, simply obtaining a certified copy of your US-filed documents will not be enough to use them outside of the country. If this is the case, you will need to obtain an apostille, or relevant gold seal, on these documents to be able to use them outside of the US. Read more about apostilles here.  

Swyft can help!

Whenever your business needs a certified copy of any state-filed documentation, we can help. Since we have tons of experience with every state’s ordering system, we can streamline this process. Don’t hesitate to contact us today!You focus on your business, and we’ll do the leg work.