You probably have heard of people notarising their documents and having it legalised. Have you ever wondered what exactly is notarisation? Why and when do you need to notarise your documents? What is legalisation of document, and how do you go about doing so?
The section offers an overview on issues related to legalisation and notarisation of documents in Singapore.
A notarised document is a document that has been marked with a notary public's seal indicating that the signature(s) on the document is authentic and legitimate. To notarised a document, you need a third-party notary public to witness the signing of the document, and apply their signature and seal, along with information that allows others to track down records related to the signature(s). The notary public also ensures that all parties who signed the document did so willingly and under their own power.
Important documents need to be notarised, which include bank and financial institution documents (e.g. mortgages), wills, and court documents. Notarisation of documents is also required when purchasing a property (deeds), providing power of attorney or executing other important transactions. Some countries require that certain documents, such as documents for registered assets like land and ships, be notarised before they are accepted as valid.
Having important documents notarised is useful because it acts as a deterrent to fraud and adds a layer of verification. When notarising a signature, a notary public certifies that the people signing the document are who they claim to be. The notary's seal, however, does not vouch for the accuracy of the document details.
To notarised a document, you simply engage a notary public, a lawyer or other professionals who are certified to perform notarisation (such as post office staff in Australia). You are required to present an official identification such as your NRIC or passport to verify your identity. Remember not to sign your document ahead of time; your notary public needs to watch you sign the document in person.
In addition to notarisation, some countries require your documents to be legalised. Legalisation is the process whereby the signature and seal of the notary are authenticated by the embassy, consulate or high commission of the country in which the document is to be used. Legalisation is sometimes referred to as consularisation or attestation. Examples of documents that may need to be legalised include birth certificates or corporate documents.
To legalise a document, you first need to get a notary public to issue a notary certificate for the original document, then have it legalised by the Singapore Academy of Law and the Consular Service Counter, then the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The final step is to bring your document to the respective embassy to have the document legalised.
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