Useful Info & Frequently Asked Questions
MyNotary.co.uk is an online directory of independent Notaries Public situated in the United Kingdom of England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. This site is here to provide you, the site visitor, with a quick and easy access to a Notary who is actively seeking your business.
A notary practicing in England and Wales holds an office which is internationally recognised. The signature and official seal of a UK Notary are recognised as evidence of a responsible legal officer in most countries of the world.
The notarial system in England and Wales is very different from the work of notaries in the USA or the notarial system across mainland Europe. The British notary mainly acts as an impartial and legally trained witness to authenticate and certify the execution of documents required or intended for use outside the UK.
Notaries also arrange for documents to be Legalised by the affixing of an Apostille by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and further Legalisation by a certain Embassy or Consulate as required. The primary duty of a Notary Public is not only to the client but to the transaction and all those who rely on the Notary’s acts and certificates.
Notaries in England and Wales are regulated through the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Click here to view regulatory information including how to make a complaint against a notary in England and Wales.
You probably know if you need the services of a Notary Public; it is usually whenever a legal transaction has an international element. The following is a list of some of the Notarial work undertaken by MyNotary members; it is provided as an illustration only and not as a definitive list.
The most frequently notarised document is the Power of Attorney (PoA). A Power of Attorney is a document where legal powers are delegated to another party – this is often done where a person or company needing to complete a legal transaction in another country cannot travel to the country in person. The “donor” appoints another person or lawyer (the donee) to act for them.
- Preparation and witnessing of Powers of Attorney for worldwide use
- When buying property abroad
- Certified copy documents such as academic certificates or professional qualifications – often needed when applying for a job outside the UK
- International Affidavits, declarations, sworn statements and depositions
- Fingerprinting confirmation
- Lost Passports & Birth Certificates
- Change of Name
- Marriage Certificates & Confirmation of Single Status
- Certificates of non-impediment when getting married outside of the UK
- Certified Copy Documents
- Statutory declarations
- Authentication of identity and signatures
- Travel documentation, for example unaccompanied minors
- Visa applications
- Wills: if you own property overseas it is a good idea to have your Will specifically mention the property and have the Will notarised. Many European countries have an official Registry of Wills; some property owners have separate Wills for their foreign estates.
- Affidavits, declarations and notarial acts
- Certificates of incorporation and other documents issued by Companies House.
- Export certificates.
- Documents from HM Revenue and Customs: photocopies or original documents.
- National Identification Certificates, Association of Chief Police Officer certificates and Disclosure documents: only original with an official signature can be legalised.
- Medical documents, medical reports and letters issued by UK hospitals and NHS Trusts may be legalised if they have been signed by a UK doctor who is registered with the General Medical Council.
- Commercial documents
- Business contracts
- Board resolutions
- Minutes, Articles of Association
- Documentation in connection with Bills of Exchange
- Shipping documentation including the preparation and noting of protest
- Certified Translations
- Legalisation of documents
The quickest and easier way to search ‘find a notary near me’ is to expand the front-page map and click on the notary marker nearest to you. Click through to the notary’s 3-page listing where full contact details are displayed. Some Notary listings provide a description of other services that they or their respective firms provide. All members of the MyNotary Network are independent service providers and should be contacted directly.
To maintain the internationally recognised high standards of Notaries Public, the Notary is required to make certain checks. Individuals should produce a current passport or, in exceptional cases, other proof of similar validity and reliability. A proof of residency, for example, a utility bill, is usually required. Other proof could include certificates of birth, baptism, marriage, divorce, deed poll on change of name, statutory declaration, full driving licence, National Insurance Card or some other official document bearing a full name and signature.
Where you are signing on behalf of a company the notary will need to make additional checks, it is often wise to discuss what is required in advance with the Notary.
If the documents are in a language other than English, it is possible that the notary will still witness these documents. For example if there is a valid translation annexed to the deed that is understood by the person signing or if the notary is fully satisfied that the person signing is conversant with the language of the document.
But if the person signing does not understand the foreign language of the document and there is no English translation attached to it, then it is necessary for the document to be translated by an official legal translator who will then have to sign a statutory declaration certifying that it is a true translation and this declaration itself will have to be witnessed by the notary and sealed.
You may have been asked to make sure that your document is ‘legalised’. Legalisation means that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office puts a certificate on the document confirming the Notary’s credentials. The Foreign Office certificate, for some countries, is known as an Apostille and is attached under the terms of the Hague Convention.
We are finding that most documents, other than certified copies of educational or professional qualifications, do require to be legalised; certainly, most Powers of Attorney and international trade documents do. If you are unsure, your MyNotary member can advise.
For some countries Foreign Office legalisation is not enough and they require a stamp from their own embassy or consulate before the document is legally acceptable abroad. Your notary will advise you what legalisation your document needs, (if any).
Legalisation is a “double check” to make sure that the notary signature is genuine.
Your local MyNotary Notary will advise as to what is the best course of action for you. Notaries work closely with legalisation experts in offering a fast and extremely efficient service.
If you want to legalise a certified photocopy of a document, you should check with the intended recipient of the document that this is acceptable to them; some documents must be originals. As a guide, here is a list of some of the documents that may be legalised.
- Document in connection with getting married abroad. For example UK Certificates of No Impediment (CNI) or ‘No Trace’ letters. Note only original CNIs and letters issued by the General Register Office confirming that there is no trace of an individual currently being married can be legalised. The legal paperwork you need to complete for an overseas wedding can be confusing. Fortunately help can be found on the Foreign Office web site.
- UK birth, death, marriage and civil partnership certificates: only original or certified copies of certificates issued by the General Registry Office (GRO) or local Registry Offices in the UK, or British Diplomatic Missions overseas can be legalised. Only original death certificates issued by a UK coroner can be legalised.
- UK Educational Documents. Educational documents which are not degrees, diplomas, certificates, qualifications, or other awards may be legalised if they have been issued by an educational establishment in the UK. This includes school reports and letters concerning enrolling, attendance, fees, and grades. Documents which are degrees, diplomas, certificates, qualifications, or other awards can be legalised if they were issued by a recognised educational establishment – we can advise in individual cases.
- British passports: Only notarised photocopies of the bio data page of British and foreign passports may be legalised; original passports of any nationality may not be legalised.
- Change of Name Deed Poll: originals as well as copies
- Religious documents: the notary public will certify original documents as being genuine, and photocopies as being true copies of the original documents such as Islamic Marriage and Divorce Certificates issued by UK mosques, Jewish Divorce Certificates issued by a Jewish Court, Baptismal Certificates of any denomination.
- UK County Court documents: certified photocopies or original documents issued by UK courts can be legalised.
Your local MyNotary Notary will advise as to what is the best course of action for you. The MyNotary Network offers a fast-turnaround legalisation and consular service to notaries outside of London. For personal service at a reasonable cost; contact your local MyNotary member or email us at email@example.com.
New and associate members are welcome to join, subject to the area requested being available. Please visit lawconsultancyservices.co.uk/mynotary
For now, we only list notaries in the United Kingdom. Please contact us if you are a notary in the Republic of Ireland, a notary in Gibraltar or any British Overseas Territory where notaries are regulated through the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury. For example (bizarrely) in Queensland Australia! Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please contact us if:
- You are a notary or legal services provider outside the UK and wish to be listed
- You provide legal services from the UK in connection with legal matters outside the UK and wish to be listed in the editorial pages
- You operate a notarial directory outside the UK and wish to be listed
- You wish to represent your business to persons or companies that use notarial services by providing editorial content.
For example: real estate agents selling investment or lifestyle property, travel services, currency exchange services;
please contact us at email@example.com.