Certified True Copy, Power of Attorney and Declaration are the legalized documents which are usually required by the financial institutes and government authorities from the owners these documents to complete some sort of applications.
If you are in need of obtaining legalization of your documents, then you should seek help from Notary Public. This article is your quick guide of seeking help from them in Hong Kong.
What is Notary Public in Hong Kong?
A Notary Public is a legal profession appointed by the Hong Kong High Court under the regulation of Legal Practitioners Ordinance (Cap. 159 of Laws of Hong Kong) to serve the public by preparing, and providing authentication and execution of documents for use and acceptance overseas (except Mainland China) under his signature and official seal. The signature and official seal of the Notaries Public in Hong Kong are widely recognized internationally.
The name of a Notary Public must be registered in Register of Notaries Public kept by High Court of Hong Kong. As of March 2015, there are over 350 Notaries Public registered in Hong Kong, they are usually experienced solicitors who has been in practice for at least 7 years. All Notary Public has been qualified by the Notaries Public Examination held by Hong Kong Society of Notaries in additional to the appointment of the High Court.
Additionally, a Notary Public is simultaneously appointed as Civil Celebrant to celebrate marriages under the Marriage Ordinacne in Hong Kong
What does a Notary Public can do?
First of all: Notarization
Notary Public help to deal with legal documents, they offer legal services regarding the following:
- The preparation, execution, and verification of clients’ documents for their use abroad; and,
- The saving of documents which originate in Hong Kong for use in Mainland China.
In general, the public need notarial services of Notary Public because they have documents which are required by the recipient body (may be private companies or government authorities) to be “legally authenticated” by a Notary Public. In fact, a Notary Public can provide more services related to notarization, here are the common cases:
- Preparing and witnessing Powers of Attorney for client’s use in overseas
- Verifying the copy of a document is the Certified True Copy presented to a Notary Public
- Witnessing signature of the person signing in front of a Notary Public
- Witnessing the Declaration as Commissioner for Oaths
- Verifying the identity of the person appearing in front of a Notary Public
- Authentication of documents for the purpose of:
- For purchase or sale of land or property overseas
- For immigration, marriage, adoption or succession: Authentication of personal documents
- For trade and doing business: Authentication of commercial and business documents
- For secure record for a transaction, document or event
If a Notary Public is also a Solicitor, notarial services can be provided in additional to general legal service at the same time.
The, preparing documents for Apostille / Legalization
Some recipient bodies requires that the documents bearing the signature and seal of the Notary Public (i.e. Notary Public’s Seal on notarized documents) must be “further authenticated” to verify the identity, signature and seal of the Notary Public in Hong Kong.
The required process of “further authentication” should be either on the the following:
- Apostille by the High Court in Hong Kong
For the jurisdictions of recipient bodies which are member of Hague Apostille Convention, the process of “further authentication” can be replaced by Apostille by the High Court.
- Legalization by Consulates or Commissions
When the notarized documents are destined for non-Hague Apostille Convention states or territories, legalization of the identity, signature and seal of the Notary Public by the relevant diplomatic representative of the state or territory in Hong Kong before these can be used in that state or territory.
Note to oversea entrepreneurship:
In Hong Kong, Apostille by High Court is the only way to get appostille services in Hong Kong. The High Court only accept types of documents for Apostille Service as the following:
- Public documents bearing the true signature of an official party such as a Hong Kong SAR Government recognized officer.
- Documents signed by a notary public or a Commissioner for Oaths in Hong Kong.
Therefore, if you have a business contract that need Apostille Service, you have to seek help from a Notary Public to complete notarization on this document, then submit to the High Court for Apostille Service. If you outsource the task to others, you should expect the cost should be the sum of Notary Public’s Seal and Apostille Service by the High Court.
For the details of Apostille Service by the High Court in Hong Kong, please refer to here.
How long is the term of appointment of Notary Public?
A Notary Public appointed in Hong Kong has no expiry date of the term of office. However, a Notary Public is required to renew his or her practising status annually.
How does a Notary Public charge
The Notary Public quote a fee in advance for their professional notarial service, the fee is usually depending on the complexity of the notarial matters i.e how long the Notary Public will have to spend on this matter to complete the work.
We found a fee guideline on the website of Hong Kong Society of Notaries, feel free to take a look here.
Notarial services in Hong Kong is easy to access and low cost. As Hong Kong is a member of Hague Apostille Convention, notary public in Hong Kong are widely recognized worldwide.
Since the recipient bodies hold the final decision of whether a Declaration, Certified True Copy and Power of Attorney is accepted or not, you should strictly follow the requirement of the recipient body and seek help from help.