Notary Public for Individuals

A Notary Public (often referred to as a ‘Notary’) is a legal official who holds public office. The duty of the Notary is to authenticate and legalise documents and facts for use anywhere in the world. You will normally require the services of a Notary when you have documents which need to be used abroad. The Notary’s signature and seal will verify to the authorities in any country that the relevant checks have been carried out and that the documents are authentic.

When would I need a Notary Public?

If you need documents or facts to be officially authenticated and verified, the signature and seal of a Notary are recognised around the world. The need for a Notary is dictated by the requirements of the country where the document is to be used. For example, if you wish to buy a property abroad, it is often necessary to give your overseas lawyer power to deal with the purchase. This can be done by means of a power of attorney, which is signed by you in front of a Notary. The Notary will confirm your name and identity, sign the document and seal it with an official seal.


  • Powers of attorney
  • Acknowledgments for use in the USA
  • Academic qualifications
  • Passports and other documents
  • Overseas property transactions
  • Sponsorship documents
  • Taking evidence (depositions) for use in foreign courts
  • Affidavits and statutory declarations of foreign jurisdictions
  • Certify copies of passports, for example to open a bank account
  • Certify copies of documents such as exam certificates
  • Transfers of land, houses, shares – at home and overseas
  • Lost passports, share certificates or other documents
  • Declarations of single status when getting married
  • Oaths
  • Permission to let children travel with one parent or alone

How does legislation work and what is an Apostille?

Legalisation is a way by which foreign authorities check that the Notary’s signature and seal are those of a proper and qualified Notary using the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the appropriate embassy.
An Apostille is a shortcut to this process if the country receiving the document is a signatory to the Hague Convention; in this case, the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office can certify the Notary’s signature and seal (an Apostille) and so no further steps are required.

Seeing a Notary

You will need to make an appointment to see a Notary. When you come to the office, please bring good evidence of your identity – ideally a valid passport together with a council tax or utility bill to confirm your address. Please also bring all relevant papers or documents which relate to the matter. If possible, please send a fax or an electronic copy of your document to us before your appointment.

How much does a notary cost?

There is no set charge; we charge an hourly rate and will give you an estimate of the cost before we start work. There may be fees for third parties such as the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office or Embassy or another agent or courier.

How long do notary services take?

If the document is straightforward, already prepared and in the correct form, your meeting should not need more than 30 minutes. If the document is more complex, or if we need to draw up the document or make a proper copy, the process will take longer.


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David Taylor, Consultant


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