Certified documents for application

As part of your application, you may be asked to supply certified copies of documents.

Certified copies are sometimes referred to as verified copies; regardless of the naming, the requirements are the same.


What is a certified document?

A certified copy is a photocopy of an original document, signed as being a true and accurate copy by an authorised person.


True and accurate copy

To be considered true and accurate a copy needs to be of the full document/page requested (i.e. not be cropped, or missing edges), and have the below on each page supplied:

  • The words '"original sighted"
  • The date the original was sighted
  • The name and signature of the person sighting the original
  • The stamp or name of the institution/organisation of the person verifying the documents

The above annotations must be in English.


Authorised person

The below people are authorised to certify documents for the purposes of enrolling at Otago Polytechnic:




Frequently Asked Questions 


What documents will I need?

The task in your application portal will tell you what documents are required for your application.

The most common certified documents we request for applications are below:

  • Passport
  • Birth certificate
  • Visa (for non-New Zealand citizens)
  • Marriage or civil union certificate
  • Deed poll

Please read the requirement in your application portal for the documents you need to provide. Most applicants will not need to supply all of the above, and some programmes have additional or specific requirements.

Why do you need these documents?

All learners in New Zealand are given a National Student Number (NSN) which is recorded on the National Student Index (NSI).

It is a requirement for us to verify the name, date of birth, and residency of each leaner so you can be matched to your NSI record (see https://nsi.education.govt.nz for more information).

I’ve been asked to supply a verified copy of a document, is this different than a certified copy?

Certified copies are sometimes referred to as verified copies. For application purposes a verified copy is the same as a certified copy.

I’ve supplied my document, why have you asked for it again?

The task requesting the document will contain further information about why we need you to upload another document. Some common reasons are:

  • Your copy was not certified correctly
  • Your copy was not certified by a suitable person
  • The copy provided was cropped
  • The copy provided was not legible
  • You uploaded an incorrect file (but thanks for the photo of your cat)

Please read the task which has been set for you, and contact us if you need further clarification.

I’ve been asked for certified documents but my friend/family member hasn’t, why?

NZ Citizens whose details match a verified NSI record will not normally need to supply documents for ID verification.

I have an NSN, why have I been asked for certified documents?

This is normally for one of the below reasons

  • Your NSI record is not verified – if this is your first time studying at a tertiary institute your NSN may have not yet be verified. Otago Polytechnic will verify your NSI record for you once we receive your certified documents.
  • You have changed your name since the last time you studied in NZ – in this case we will require evidence of your name change (such as a Marriage or civil union certificate, or Deed poll).
  • You are not a NZ Citizen – we need a copy of your passport and/or visa on record.
I provided certified documents last time I studied, why have you asked for them again?

There are some documents we need to have copies of each year, for example residency visas which have an expiry date.

How can I provide certified documents during increased COVID-19 alert levels?

If you can’t get your documents certified in person due to COVID-19 restrictions a Justice of the Peace may be able to certify these for you digitally.

Visit https://justiceofthepeace.org.nz/ for more information.