This blog post is here to help you understand what it means to have your passport and other identity documents notarised and what a notary public will usually require from you in order to complete the process.
Notarised identity documents are often requested to open bank accounts abroad, to obtain visas and to deal with taxes and pensions abroad, to name a few examples. Notaries are asked to certify many different identity-related documents, such as passports, driving licences, government-issued identity cards, utility bills and bank statements.
Many people are confused about what is involved when they are told to ‘notarise their passport’. It is in fact a copy of the passport which is notarised (i.e. certified as a true copy by a notary public), rather than the original document. When it comes to having a passport notarised, you may be asked to have just the ID page notarised, the whole passport or certain pages (that contain visas, restrictions or residence permits). It is best to find out from the requesting party which pages you need to have notarised in order to avoid the document being rejected. The notary can usually take the copies for you so you would not normally have to worry about this.
Another common request when notarising identity documents is to include true likeness wording to the notarial certificate, which will state that the picture on your ID is a true and accurate likeness of you (as long as you do look like your picture!). Please remember to mention this at the start of your appointment with the notary to make sure this wording is included.
In addition to ID documents, you may need to provide a notarised proof of address. These can include utility bills or bank statements. You should note that a mobile phone statement is not normally accepted as a proof of address so please keep this in mind when selecting which document you use. It is advisable to use a proof of address that is recent (typically something dated within the last three months), therefore a driving licence is unlikely to be the best option unless it is clearly stated that it would be accepted in the instructions the requesting party has provided.
The notary will normally need to see both your proof of ID and your proof of address when attending the appointment, as notaries are under a professional obligation to identify their client and they are also subject to money laundering regulations and other legislation that establishes identification requirements. Even if you only need your passport notarised, the notary will probably still need to see a current proof of address.
If your document needs to be legalised as well as notarised, the notary should also be able to arrange this for you. After notarising the document, it often needs to be sent to the Foreign Office to obtain the Hague apostille. If further legalisation is required at the Consulate of the receiving country, then this is also something the notary should be able to assist with. For example, if your document is to be used in Mozambique, then the document will probably need to go to the Foreign Office and to the Mozambique Consulate in London to obtain their respective stamps. It is best to check with the receiving party what steps are needed to ensure the documents are accepted.
Please be aware that the paper counterpart of your driving licence is no longer valid. So please do not use the counterpart as your proof of address as it may not be accepted.
Things to remember when attending the appointment with the notary:
• Have the original documents with you (passport/utility bill)
• Find out how many copies you need
• Find out which pages need to be notarised
• Use a recent proof of address
Do not hesitate to contact our notaries if you need more information about the notarisation of ID documents. You can find full contact details and get a quote via our website: www.vpnotaries.co.uk