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What is a Notary Public and other FAQs


What is a Notary Public?

An independently qualified & regulated lawyer (www.facultyoffice.org.uk) holding professional indemnity insurance and an annual practising certificate

Why do people need a Notary Public?

Because a Notary's qualification and status is recognised worldwide by means of the Notary's signature and seal

A Notary may be asked to:


What does the Notary do?

Assists people to ensure that a document is signed in a manner acceptable to the intended recipient in the destination country and can be relied upon on with confidence. This may entail making further enquiries if you are signing on behalf of a company or another person

A Notary can also provide a formal notarial certificate e.g. to confirm facts about a person or business or attaching true copies of certificates or other documents

Which countries are dealt with?

All countries worldwide (usually outside England & Wales)

What is legalisation?

Legalisation is the process whereby a Notary’s signature and seal are verified and confirmed by an independent authority. Many countries require the Apostille - a certificate of confirmation provided in the UK by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO).

I can organise legalisation for you. The FCO's standard service currently costs 30 per document and takes 3/4 days. The premium service costs 75 per document and is useful for very urgent documents as it usually saves at least 1 day.

Some countries require legalisation by their own Consulate in England. Consular fees vary enormously from 10 to 400 depending on the type of document legalised and the Consulate involved.

Once legalised, the document will usually be accepted (subject to any necessary translation) by the authorities in the destination country as evidence of the matters stated in the document.

Allowing more time for legalisation keeps the costs of legalisation down.

What sort of documents need to be notarised?

All kinds of documents can be notarised for any business or personal purpose.

How long will it take?

Most notarial work can usually be completed within 7 days (excluding the time needed for any legalisation) - often much sooner if the matter is urgent.

What is the usual procedure?

  1. You email your draft document to me (with any instructions you have received from the person requesting the document) & confirm which country it is for
  2. I review the document and instructions and determine whether there are other requirements (e.g. whether a covering notarial certificate is needed or extra witnesses), confirm my fixed fee & any disbursements e.g. legalisation fees
  3. We arrange a convenient appointment prior to which I finalise the documentation (if it is not already complete) and, if appropriate, send it to your overseas adviser for approval
  4. We meet so that I can check your ID (passport and evidence of address) and witness you signing the document in my presence
  5. I arrange any necessary legalisation
  6. I return the document to you or alternatively send it overseas at your request – courier or special delivery charges may apply

How much will it cost?

I quote competitive fixed fees which reflect the professional time spent reviewing, drafting &/or amending the documentation; the complexity & urgency of the matter; dealing with any necessary legalisation; any additional travel time etc.