What is a Notary Public?
A Notary Public is a qualified lawyer. Notaries are appointed by the Court of Faculties of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The main role of a Notary for private clients is the witnessing of signatures to documents, and preparing and certifying copies of documents usually for use abroad.

For business clients as well as the above a Notary verifies, authenticates and records deeds, documents and facts for cross-border transactions, performing a vital function in international trade and business.

Often documents may have been prepared by a foreign lawyer for signature in the UK.

Notarised documents may then be used outside the UK.

Notaries must be fully insured and maintain fidelity cover for the protection of their clients and the public.

Why use a Notary Public?
Some documents may clearly state that your signature must be witnessed by a Notary Public.

For centuries, Notarial acts have been recognised and accepted throughout the world. Anyone with business abroad may rely on a Notary to provide acceptable documentation quickly and at a reasonable cost.

If you are not sure if the document must be witnessed by a Notary Public please seek guidance from the person requesting or who issued the document.

What is Notarisation?
If your document states that is must be ‘notarised’ this means that you must sign the document in front of a Notary Public.

As a Notary Public for each person signing a document I must verify their identity, legal capacity and understanding of the document as well as their authority if signing on behalf of another party such as a limited company.

What is Legalisation and an 'Apostille'?
UK documents that have been signed by a Notary can be ‘legalised’ by the Legalisation Office of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. They do this by attaching a certificate to the document which is known as an Apostille.

You might need to do this if someone in another country has asked you to provide a UK document and they have said it must be legalised or have an Apostille.

Attaching the Apostille authenticates the validity of my signature, stamp and seal and that I am a Notary Public.

The Apostille is widely recognised by countries that are members of the Hague Convention.

What is Consular or Embassy Legalisation?

Some countries who are not members of the Hague Convention require notarised documents to be legalised by their Consul or Embassy in the UK.

Many of these countries require legalisation first by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the attaching of an Apostille.

Can you notarise documents for use in the USA?

You do not have to go to the US Embassy in London to have a document for use in the USA notarised in the UK.

I can help you with your US documents requiring notarisation. I have notarised US documents for many American and non-American clients here in the UK.

Each US State has its own rules as to how documents should be notarised. These rules usually set out what should be done if a document for use in a specific State is to be signed and notarised outside of the State and outside of the United States.

In some cases, additional steps may need to be taken. A few States have particular specifications (such as the need for by legalisation by an Apostille). For more details on legalisation by Apostille see Legalisation Services.

The US Embassy provides US Notary services in London because they are technically operating on US soil.

You have to book an appointment with the US Embassy in advance and you may have to wait several weeks for an appointment. You can check the US Embassy site here

Outside of the US Embassy, only English qualified and regulated Notaries can undertake Notary functions in England for use in the USA. Apostille.

Stage 1 - Notarised Certification
I will need to make a copy of the ORIGINAL degree certificate. I will then notarise and certify the copy with a certificate and my signature, stamp and seal.

My certificate can be either qualified or unqualified.

A qualified certification will include a statement that I have not verified that the degree has been awarded by the University.

If an unqualified certificate is required, I carry out an online check via Hedd.ac.uk or the University to verify the award of the degree. Hedd and Universities make a charge for this service. I will also need to attach to my application for verification the degree holder’s consent and I can email this to you for completion and return to me if an unqualified certification is required.

The time which this takes depends on the response time of Hedd or the University.

Stage 2 Legalisation (if required)
Legalisation is the verification by the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) and/or consulate of the destination country that my signature, stamp and seal are mine as a Notary Public.

I can obtain an apostille by post from the FCO in Milton Keynes but you should usually allow four or more working days after your document is notarised for this to be received by me. The FCO fee for the apostille is £30 for each document plus a £5.50 return courier charge (within UK).

If Embassy or Consulate legalisation is required also additional fees and Embassy/Consulate charges will be incurred.

Have any other questions that need answering?

The easiest thing to do is ring me on 07971 149 310 – I will do my best to help