What is Notarisation?

Notarisation refers to the process of authentication for documents such as deeds, agreements, corporate documents or other writing material. The documents are authenticated by the Notary Public’s signature and official seal, certifying or attesting the due execution in his presence, and attached with a Notarial Certificate.

In doing so, the Notary Public is attesting that they have properly identified the person or persons signing the document, and that it has been signed under their own free will, or that they have verified the origin and authenticity of a document. The Notarial Certificate provided is also a way for relevant parties to independently ensure that proper verification has been carried out.

Overall, it is an official fraud-deterrent process that assures the parties of a transaction that a document is authentic, and can be trusted. It applies to companies or individuals who require documents issued in one country to be duly notarised before they are valid for use in another country.

Process of Notarisation

First of all, you need to identify a registered Notary Public in Singapore. Before documents are notarised, the Notary Public will first need to verify the identities of the parties involved, ensure their willingness and understand the intention of the parties signing the documents, eventually witnessing the signing.

For Certifying of True Copies of documents, the Notary Public will compare the original document with the photocopied document to ensure that they are identical, before certifying the same.

Notarial certificates, which contain the full name, status, attestation of the involved parties, the date of notarisation, signature and seal or stamp of the Notary Public, will be produced and affixed to the notarised documents. Once the Notarial Certificate is done, it needs to be submitted to the Singapore Academy of Law (SAL) for further authentication.

Generally, the notarisation process may be completed within 5 working days.

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What is an Apostille?

An Apostille is a certificate issued under the Apostille Convention authenticating the signature of a public official (notary public) who has verified the origin of a public document for use in another country.

A country that is party to the Apostille Convention accepts an Apostille in place of any other form of legalisation. For non-member countries, it is likely that further legalisation will need to be carried out. However, regardless of the country that your documents are bound for, do confirm the exact authentication requirements before you proceed.

Apostilles to be issued for all documents legalised by SAL from 16 September 2021

On 18 January 2021, Singapore acceded to the HCCH Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents (“Apostille Convention”). To operationalise the Apostille Convention, SAL will be issuing Apostilles for all Singapore documents bound overseas from 16 September 2021.

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What is Legalisation?

Legalisation is the process of authenticating or certifying a legal document so a foreign country’s legal system will recognise it with full legal effect.

For example, it is the official attestation of the origin of a document. If a document is required to be legalised for the purpose of submission in the United Kingdom (UK), a document executed in Singapore for use in the UK would be legalised by the Embassy of UK in Singapore.

Process of Legalisation

In order to legalise the documents, they must be notarised before submission to the respective embassy for which its country requires the legalisation, for example, to be legalised in the UK Embassy or US Embassy in Singapore.

Generally, the legalisation process may be completed within 10 working days, depending on the requirements of the specific embassy in Singapore.

Please contact us for more details on our notarisation and legalisation services.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The main difference between notarisation and legalisation is where the final stage of verification stops. A notarisation is carried out by a registered Notary Public, whereas a legalisation is carried out by the respective embassy to verify the notarisation done by the Notary Public.

Typically, the entity requesting for the submission of your documents will state whether a notarisation or a legalisation is required. If they have not, please check with them on their requirements.

Do you need more information?

You may refer to these Singapore business expansion guides to find out more:

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