What is a notary public?

A notary public is a specialist lawyer who authenticates documents and certifies signatures for use overseas. The notary confirms that a document is genuine or has been validly executed.

Why would I need a notary?

If your businesses engages in international trade you may be asked to provide notarised and legalised corporate documentation to prove that your business has the authority to undertake certain activities, for example, setting up companies overseas, litigation, opening bank accounts or confirmation of product compliance.

What is legalisation?

The receiving country may require that in addition to notarisation, a document will need to be legalised, which is the process of having the notary’s signature and seal authenticated by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Legalisation can be achieved by sending the notarised document to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for an apostille. An apostille is a certificate confirming the authenticity of the document. Some countries, for example in the Middle East or Asia, may require further legalisation from the relevant embassy. Assistance with legalisation can obtained through the Chamber of Commerce or from a notary.

Common situations needing notarised documents

This depends on the recipient country and the nature of the transaction.

Common activities include:

  • Certification of product compliance
  • Incorporation of foreign subsidiaries
  • Powers of attorney - appointing agents or lawyers overseas to act on behalf of your company
  • Opening of foreign bank accounts
  • Signature of documents in the UK relating to foreign transactions
  • Confirmation of Directors, board minutes and confirmation of company details

How much will it cost?

The cost of using a notary will depend on the complexity of the request but will include verification of the identity of the company and signatories, record keeping, as well as establishing the correct process required to ensure the document is acceptable to the destination country.

I am pleased to offer Surrey Chamber of Commerce members a 10% discount on Notary services (excluding disbursements).

Tel: 07387 570715 Email:

Jo Humphrey Notary is based in Farnham, offering mobile services throughout Surrey, and is regulated by the Faculty Offi ce of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

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