Laminating important documents - a good idea?

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luckybamboo
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Laminating important documents - a good idea?

Post by luckybamboo » Mon Jun 10, 2019 2:41 pm

Hello,
Is it a good idea to laminate following documents to prevent damage from water, tears etc
1. Birth Certificate
2. Marriage certificate
3. School transcripts/diploma
4. Social Security card

Will doing so, make any of the above documents invalid ?

texasdiver
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Location: Vancouver WA

Re: Laminating important documents - a good idea?

Post by texasdiver » Mon Jun 10, 2019 2:48 pm

luckybamboo wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 2:41 pm
Hello,
Is it a good idea to laminate following documents to prevent damage from water, tears etc
1. Birth Certificate
2. Marriage certificate
3. School transcripts/diploma
4. Social Security card

Will doing so, make any of the above documents invalid ?
From the social security office. Do not laminate your social security card: https://faq.ssa.gov/en-US/Topic/article/KA-02202

School transcripts and diplomas are usually verified by the school if you are applying for grad school so probably not necessary.

I you are concerned the easier/better solution is probably to put these documents into plastic sheet protectors without actually laminating them. I would also take high quality color scans and store the digital images someplace. It is more frequently the case that you need to send digital copies of these documents.

ohai
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Re: Laminating important documents - a good idea?

Post by ohai » Mon Jun 10, 2019 2:54 pm

Some of those documents probably have special anti copying features that you shouldn't laminate. Anyway, as long as you keep them in a secure place, I don't see why lack of lamination would cause them to suffer wear and tear.

miamivice
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Re: Laminating important documents - a good idea?

Post by miamivice » Mon Jun 10, 2019 3:00 pm

luckybamboo wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 2:41 pm
Hello,
Is it a good idea to laminate following documents to prevent damage from water, tears etc
1. Birth Certificate
2. Marriage certificate
3. School transcripts/diploma
4. Social Security card

Will doing so, make any of the above documents invalid ?
I have never been asked to show school transcripts or diploma to anyone, ever.

I have been asked to show birth certificate and social security card. Mine is laminated. I haven't been sent to jail yet. (Nor has anyone cared.)

Our marriage license and our birth certificates are not laminated. As others have said, a raised embossed stamp is used to prove authenticity and laminating could cause it to not be accepted.

Topic Author
luckybamboo
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Re: Laminating important documents - a good idea?

Post by luckybamboo » Mon Jun 10, 2019 3:21 pm

ohai wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 2:54 pm
Some of those documents probably have special anti copying features that you shouldn't laminate. Anyway, as long as you keep them in a secure place, I don't see why lack of lamination would cause them to suffer wear and tear.
My father's birth certificate started disintegrating due to the acid in the paper. That is my fear. Paper acid will destroy it or else some kind of water spill or moisture.

nvambith
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Re: Laminating important documents - a good idea?

Post by nvambith » Mon Jun 10, 2019 3:25 pm

texasdiver wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 2:48 pm
I you are concerned the easier/better solution is probably to put these documents into plastic sheet protectors without actually laminating them. I would also take high quality color scans and store the digital images someplace.
+1 for both plastic sheet protectors and digital copies.
Plastic sheet protectors are almost as good as lamination, but reversible.

yeahman
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Re: Laminating important documents - a good idea?

Post by yeahman » Mon Jun 10, 2019 3:25 pm

I would consider lamination "damage." A plastic sleeve and waterproof document safe is plenty. They're also scanned which is almost always all I need anyway.

123
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Re: Laminating important documents - a good idea?

Post by 123 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 3:39 pm

Lamination generally destroys the item's integrity as a legal document because the lamination process can be used to hide alterations or manipulations to the original document. Lamination is fine for "keepsake" documents that will no longer be used for any purpose other than your own. Plastic sheet protectors are a far better solution if there is any possibility that the document may be needed by you, or one of your descendents, in it's original unaltered physical appearance.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

texasdiver
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Re: Laminating important documents - a good idea?

Post by texasdiver » Mon Jun 10, 2019 3:40 pm

miamivice wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 3:00 pm

I have never been asked to show school transcripts or diploma to anyone, ever.
I had to upload digital copies of all my transcripts every time I ever applied for a teaching job. I also had to do the same thing when applying for a teaching license in a new state. Actually I think I might have had to have the schools send certified transcripts directly to the department of education when applying for teaching license. Always the the transcripts, not the diplomas. Most college transcripts (at least the ones I have) show the degree on the transcript so you don't need the actual diploma. Mine diplomas are framed and in a box someplace as I haven't hung them on the wall in decades.

adamthesmythe
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Re: Laminating important documents - a good idea?

Post by adamthesmythe » Mon Jun 10, 2019 4:45 pm

I can't imagine needing those documents enough that there would be any need to "protect" them.

I don't remember the last time I used a birth certificate. Maybe when I got my first passport?? Once you have a passport and a driver's license you won't need it again. I don't know where my social security card is, and I don't remember using it for anything.

If you are excessively paranoid you might just leave them in a safe deposit box.

mcraepat9
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Re: Laminating important documents - a good idea?

Post by mcraepat9 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 4:52 pm

nvambith wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 3:25 pm
texasdiver wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 2:48 pm
I you are concerned the easier/better solution is probably to put these documents into plastic sheet protectors without actually laminating them. I would also take high quality color scans and store the digital images someplace.
+1 for both plastic sheet protectors and digital copies.
Plastic sheet protectors are almost as good as lamination, but reversible.
+1
Amateur investors are not cool-headed logicians.

bikechuck
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Re: Laminating important documents - a good idea?

Post by bikechuck » Mon Jun 10, 2019 5:08 pm

I have been "on the lam" since I was a teenager as I made the mistake of laminating my social security card. They tell me that ignorance of the law is no excuse and I cower in fear of being prosecuted and incarcerated should I ever get caught.. Hopefully there is a statute of limitations that has expired as I am now in my mid 60s.

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FIREchief
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Re: Laminating important documents - a good idea?

Post by FIREchief » Mon Jun 10, 2019 6:07 pm

Other than perhaps the diploma, aren't all of those easily replaced through the appropriate issuing agency?
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

EddyB
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Re: Laminating important documents - a good idea?

Post by EddyB » Mon Jun 10, 2019 6:22 pm

FIREchief wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 6:07 pm
Other than perhaps the diploma, aren't all of those easily replaced through the appropriate issuing agency?
Depends on the agency and the urgency. I recall getting a copy of my (NYS) birth certificate was very slow.

Topic Author
luckybamboo
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Re: Laminating important documents - a good idea?

Post by luckybamboo » Mon Jun 10, 2019 6:25 pm

FIREchief wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 6:07 pm
Other than perhaps the diploma, aren't all of those easily replaced through the appropriate issuing agency?
Good point. Would be a hassle, but still possible. Only caveat...if they don't get hacked or destroyed at the source... :) At this point, in the digital world, anything could happen. That might sound too cynical or negative but I somehow feel that could be true someday. I have no understanding of how does government ensure the integrity and safety of public data. I have been part of a Megacorp HR and I have personally seen employees not have any regards for people's SSN. All the printouts of reports with SSN of thousands of people lying out there for anyone to walk away with.

Reviewing all the responses, here is what I will do
1. Take a high-res scanned image of each document, encrypt it and put it on cloud.
2. Put the originals in Acid Free Sheet protector in a Fire Safe.
3. Cross my fingers and hope they survive.

Thanks everyone for your response.

adamthesmythe
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Re: Laminating important documents - a good idea?

Post by adamthesmythe » Mon Jun 10, 2019 6:30 pm

FIREchief wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 6:07 pm
Other than perhaps the diploma, aren't all of those easily replaced through the appropriate issuing agency?
And nobody really wants to see your diploma. In rare cases you may need an official transcript, where "official" often means sent directly by the institution.

HawkeyePierce
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Re: Laminating important documents - a good idea?

Post by HawkeyePierce » Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:13 pm

I keep important documents in a fireproof document safe. Cheap and it gives me some peace of mind since I live in an apartment complex where a fire could rapidly spread from elsewhere in the building.

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friar1610
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Re: Laminating important documents - a good idea?

Post by friar1610 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:35 pm

I got my first SS card when I was 14. Somewhere along the line I laminated it.

Fast forward to last summer when I needed to renew my driver's license (Mass). I wanted one of the newer type licenses that we will eventually all need for airline travel ID. So I had to appear in person at the Registry with the proper documentation, including verification of SS#. (I'll skip all the details of taking a number, standing in line, etc. We've all been there.) They would not accept the laminated SS card because they needed to scan it and were unable to do so with a laminated card. So I had to drive back home and return with an unlaminated document to prove my SS#. That, of course, meant repeating the take a number, etc. Little did I know when I laminated the card as a teenager that it would cost me half a day of irritation and frustration in my 70s.

Moral: don't laminate a SS card! At least if you live in Mass.
Friar1610

AlohaJoe
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Re: Laminating important documents - a good idea?

Post by AlohaJoe » Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:44 pm

FIREchief wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 6:07 pm
Other than perhaps the diploma, aren't all of those easily replaced through the appropriate issuing agency?
The diploma is also easily replaced. I had to get a new copy of mine a few years ago, when I needed it for immigration purposes.

AlohaJoe
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Re: Laminating important documents - a good idea?

Post by AlohaJoe » Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:47 pm

adamthesmythe wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 6:30 pm
And nobody really wants to see your diploma. In rare cases you may need an official transcript, where "official" often means sent directly by the institution.
I needed to produce my diploma in order to get a work permit. They did not care about a transcript.

Be careful of using absolutes.

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Toons
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Re: Laminating important documents - a good idea?

Post by Toons » Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:01 pm

68 years young here,
Never crossed my mind to laminate.
I have all of the mentioned documents in a folder
I am good with that
:happy
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

J295
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Re: Laminating important documents - a good idea?

Post by J295 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:14 pm

Not necessary to laminate any of these

In our state the bureau of vital statistics will issue a new birth certificate. So if you want a new one for your father you may obtain one.

Turbo29
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Re: Laminating important documents - a good idea?

Post by Turbo29 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:32 pm

texasdiver wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 2:48 pm

From the social security office. Do not laminate your social security card: https://faq.ssa.gov/en-US/Topic/article/KA-02202
I have my original from before they said, "Do not laminate." I laminated it over 40yr ago. Am I in trouble?

(Had I not laminated it back when I got it, I doubt it would have survived this long.)

OnTrack
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Re: Laminating important documents - a good idea?

Post by OnTrack » Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:31 pm

miamivice wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 3:00 pm
I have been asked to show birth certificate and social security card. Mine is laminated. I haven't been sent to jail yet. (Nor has anyone cared.)
I know someone who's social security card was not accepted by the DMV when applying for a driver's license because it was laminated. The person was not arrested though :happy . I actually find it strange that social security cards are used for identification purposes. Mine actually says right on the card "Not for identification".

michaeljc70
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Re: Laminating important documents - a good idea?

Post by michaeljc70 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 3:35 am

As others said, I almost never need to produce any of those documents. All of them are pretty easily replaced by the county or SSA if something were to happen to them (unlikely since in my safe). I don't have college transcripts and have never been asked for one but I'm sure that could be easily had from the school. I also have copies of SS card, birth certificate and marriage certificate scanned in.

bob60014
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Re: Laminating important documents - a good idea?

Post by bob60014 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 6:25 am

friar1610 wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:35 pm
I got my first SS card when I was 14. Somewhere along the line I laminated it.

Fast forward to last summer when I needed to renew my driver's license (Mass). I wanted one of the newer type licenses that we will eventually all need for airline travel ID. So I had to appear in person at the Registry with the proper documentation, including verification of SS#. (I'll skip all the details of taking a number, standing in line, etc. We've all been there.) They would not accept the laminated SS card because they needed to scan it and were unable to do so with a laminated card. So I had to drive back home and return with an unlaminated document to prove my SS#. That, of course, meant repeating the take a number, etc. Little did I know when I laminated the card as a teenager that it would cost me half a day of irritation and frustration in my 70s.

Moral: don't laminate a SS card! At least if you live in Mass.
Of course the easiest thing to do for others that may have this issue and dont have a copy, is to get a replacement Social Security card. The numbers will be the same and you'll still have the "legal" version and the laminated backup.

https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/replacement-card.html

TNWoods
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Re: Laminating important documents - a good idea?

Post by TNWoods » Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:27 am

I recently began cooking using the Sous Vide method, and I bought a vacuum sealer. It was about $60, I think.

The bags I use come in long rolls, you cut off the length you want, insert one end in the sealer, seal it, then put your food in and insert the other end and vacuum seal it. Takes about 30 seconds, and creates a perfect seal that with paper documents would be virtually identical to lamination, but which is also easily reversed, simply by cutting off one end.

TNWoods

cherijoh
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Re: Laminating important documents - a good idea?

Post by cherijoh » Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:46 am

nvambith wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 3:25 pm
texasdiver wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 2:48 pm
I you are concerned the easier/better solution is probably to put these documents into plastic sheet protectors without actually laminating them. I would also take high quality color scans and store the digital images someplace.
+1 for both plastic sheet protectors and digital copies.
Plastic sheet protectors are almost as good as lamination, but reversible.
Make sure it is a good quality sheet protector - the cheap ones can actually cause documents to deteriorate.

cherijoh
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Re: Laminating important documents - a good idea?

Post by cherijoh » Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:49 am

friar1610 wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:35 pm
I got my first SS card when I was 14. Somewhere along the line I laminated it.

Fast forward to last summer when I needed to renew my driver's license (Mass). I wanted one of the newer type licenses that we will eventually all need for airline travel ID. So I had to appear in person at the Registry with the proper documentation, including verification of SS#. (I'll skip all the details of taking a number, standing in line, etc. We've all been there.) They would not accept the laminated SS card because they needed to scan it and were unable to do so with a laminated card. So I had to drive back home and return with an unlaminated document to prove my SS#. That, of course, meant repeating the take a number, etc. Little did I know when I laminated the card as a teenager that it would cost me half a day of irritation and frustration in my 70s.

Moral: don't laminate a SS card! At least if you live in Mass.
Real ID is everywhere, so I'm sure your experience is not unique.

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Sandtrap
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Re: Laminating important documents - a good idea?

Post by Sandtrap » Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:25 am

123 wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 3:39 pm
Lamination generally destroys the item's integrity as a legal document because the lamination process can be used to hide alterations or manipulations to the original document. Lamination is fine for "keepsake" documents that will no longer be used for any purpose other than your own. Plastic sheet protectors are a far better solution if there is any possibility that the document may be needed by you, or one of your descendents, in it's original unaltered physical appearance.
+1
DW and I had to produce original certificates with the stamp and engraving.
If it can't be felt and verified, many institutions won't consider them as original.

Don't laminate.
j

carolinaman
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Re: Laminating important documents - a good idea?

Post by carolinaman » Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:46 am

We laminated our Medicare cards and have had no problems using them for medical card. The old ones were worn out from 10 years of use.

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celia
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Re: Laminating important documents - a good idea?

Post by celia » Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:02 pm

The items in our wallets can get pretty ragged so we made a COPY of the cards we want to carry in a wallet and laminated them.

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FIREchief
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Re: Laminating important documents - a good idea?

Post by FIREchief » Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:53 pm

OnTrack wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:31 pm
I know someone who's social security card was not accepted by the DMV when applying for a driver's license because it was laminated. The person was not arrested though :happy . I actually find it strange that social security cards are used for identification purposes. Mine actually says right on the card "Not for identification".
Were they applying for one of those new "travel" licenses that will be valid at the Airport long term? Our state's normal drivers licenses will no longer be valid to board an aircraft after October of 2020 or 2021 (I forget which). If that was the case, the DMV likely required a number of additional documents to establish citizenship, home address, etc. I think mine had a laundry list that included utility bills, bank statements, SS card, passport, etc.
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

OnTrack
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Re: Laminating important documents - a good idea?

Post by OnTrack » Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:25 pm

FIREchief wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:53 pm
OnTrack wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:31 pm
I know someone who's social security card was not accepted by the DMV when applying for a driver's license because it was laminated. The person was not arrested though :happy . I actually find it strange that social security cards are used for identification purposes. Mine actually says right on the card "Not for identification".
Were they applying for one of those new "travel" licenses that will be valid at the Airport long term? Our state's normal drivers licenses will no longer be valid to board an aircraft after October of 2020 or 2021 (I forget which). If that was the case, the DMV likely required a number of additional documents to establish citizenship, home address, etc. I think mine had a laundry list that included utility bills, bank statements, SS card, passport, etc.
Yes, the license was Real ID Act compliant (which can be used to board an airplane) and there was not an option to get one that isn't compliant.

Looks like Oct. 1, 2020 is the deadline for all states to be compliant.
https://www.dhs.gov/real-id-public-faqs

Looks like most states are currently compliant and the others have been granted extensions.
https://www.dhs.gov/real-id

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Steelersfan
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Re: Laminating important documents - a good idea?

Post by Steelersfan » Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:57 pm

FIREchief wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:53 pm
OnTrack wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:31 pm
I know someone who's social security card was not accepted by the DMV when applying for a driver's license because it was laminated. The person was not arrested though :happy . I actually find it strange that social security cards are used for identification purposes. Mine actually says right on the card "Not for identification".
Were they applying for one of those new "travel" licenses that will be valid at the Airport long term? Our state's normal drivers licenses will no longer be valid to board an aircraft after October of 2020 or 2021 (I forget which). If that was the case, the DMV likely required a number of additional documents to establish citizenship, home address, etc. I think mine had a laundry list that included utility bills, bank statements, SS card, passport, etc.
In my state an original Social Security card is required to verify identity for a Real ID. Since mine had been lost sometime in the last 50 years, I had to go to the local SS office to get a replacement. Other than the time it took in the SS office (maybe 30 minutes in a slow time then five days to get it in the mail) it was painless.

There are other possibilities to prove US citizenship, e.g. an unexpired passport, but for most people is will be a birth certificate with a raised seal.

Laminated copies of either or both would not work.

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