The notaries at Vanner Perez Notaries have a good deal of experience helping prospective adoptive parents adopt children from overseas, and we are always delighted to be asked to assist with an international adoption. The UK Government website contains some excellent information about the procedure for intercountry adoptions. As part of the process, you will be required to produce various documents and paperwork; depending on the applicable rules in the prospective adoptee’s country of origin, you may need to have this paperwork notarised and legalised. This article deals with some frequently asked questions about the steps involved in notarising and legalising documents for intercountry adoptions.
What is the first step in the notarisation process?
Once the Department for Education (DfE) has been supplied with all the various documents from the adoption agency and issued a certificate of eligibility, it will then ask the prospective adoptive parent(s) to nominate a notary, to whom your paperwork will be sent.
Generally, at around this time, the notary will meet with the prospective adoptive parent(s) and ask them to provide the other documents that may be required. These requirements vary from country to country but will often include details of your financial situation (for example, payslips, bank statements and P60s), identity documents (passports, birth certificates, proofs of address, etc.) and marital status (marriage certificates, divorce certificates, etc.).
There may also be other documents that require notarisation, such as powers of attorney authorising a local representative to petition the foreign court for the grant of an adoption order.
What do you do with the documents?
Once the notary has all these documents, he or she will usually need to take steps to confirm the documents’ authenticity. This may involve contacting the signatories, checking with employers, or simply scrutinising the security features on the documents.
With everything verified, the notary will then issue a notarial certificate attesting the documents. In most cases, the notary will prepare a single certificate covering all the documents in the pack. However, in some instances, it may be necessary to produce several certificates notarising each document separately.
My documents need legalising. What does that mean?
For some countries, such as India or China, the receiving authorities require the notarised documents to be legalised, as well. Legalisation refers to the procedure for ensuring a document issued in one state can be used in another. Thanks to our central London location and inhouse legalisation department, we can visit both the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, as well as any foreign consulates, as required to complete the legalisation stage. Not only does this save you time and cost, it also ensures your documents are kept as confidential as possible.
After the legalisation stage is complete, your notarised and legalised documents, together with any notarised copies, will be returned to the DfE so that they can continue the process.
How long does the notarisation and legalisation take?
Usually, the process takes somewhere between three and six weeks. However, the main factor that will dictate timescales is how quickly any third-party organisations take to respond to our verification requests.
How much does the notarisation and legalisation cost?
The cost can vary from country to country, as the number of documents needed and legalisation process may vary. However, as a rough guide, you can reckon on a total cost of between £600 and £1000 including VAT and the cost of the legalisation.
Do we need to meet our notary?
Yes, although we would normally only expect to need to meet the prospective adoptive parent(s) once, toward the beginning of the process. Our notaries are based in the London Bridge quarter of Central London and you are welcome to arrange an appointment to visit us. If needs be, we could arrange a meeting at your home or office, although this would incur separate attendance fees.
How can I be sure that my documentation will be treated securely?
Vanner Perez Notaries are fully GDPR compliant and have invested in the latest I.T. to make our systems as secure as possible. We are accredited with the government-approved Cyber Essentials scheme.
Which countries do you deal with?
We are at home working on documents for adoptions from all over the world, though we tend to see more applications for India than anywhere else (take an in-depth look at the Indian legislation governing adoptions). In the past, we have also worked on cases involving placements from Thailand, South Africa, China and Russia. You should be aware, though, that the UK Government has restrictions on adoptions from Cambodia, Guatemala, Nepal, Haiti and Ethiopia.
If you have any questions at all or would like to instruct us to help you with your adoption, please don’t hesitate to contact us.