Many different situations call for you to provide copies of your personal documents, whether you’re starting a new job, buying a property, or immigrating overseas. When you provide a copy of a legal document, there are often authentication processes in place to check the validity against the original.
Depending on the circumstances, you might have been asked to provide a notarised copy or a certified copy of a document. Notarised and certified documents are slightly different, yet before we examine the differences, it’s important to understand the basic definitions and uses.
What does certification mean?
A certified document means that the document in question has been certified to be up-to-date, and an authentic copy of the original. Certification is granted using a written statement to confirm validity. The copy is signed by a certifying professional, such as a lawyer. For certification to be carried out correctly, the certifier must examine the original document against the copy.
For each different document, there are specific requirements, determined by the certifying body. The certifying body may establish rules about which words should be used, and who can certify the document. Documents are typically certified by a solicitor, but in certain scenarios some documents can also be certified by other professionals.
What’s the process to certify a document?
To certify a document you’ll need to present both the copy and the original document to the certifier. The professional must write, ‘certified to be a true copy of the original seen by me’, and then sign the document and write the date. The certifier will need to print their name and write their contact number, occupation, and address.
Which documents might need to be certified?
There are several situations where you may need to provide certified copies of your personal documents. For instance, you might be asked to present a certified copy of a degree certificate, to a new employer. If you are applying for a credit card, you may be asked for a certified copy of your passport. Other documents that can be certified include:
- Credit card or bank statements
- Letters from a doctor
- Letters from the government
What is a Notary Public?
A notary public is a specialist type of solicitor, practicing under the Court of Faculties of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Notary public solicitors are qualified to confirm the validity of legal documents.
What is a notarised document?
A notarised document means that the signer’s signature and identity has been verified. The verification takes place by referencing photographic identification, with a notary public as witness. The notary public solicitor must seal or stamp the document, to confirm that the correct person has signed. It is also the responsibility of the notary public to verify the signer’s identity. They must witness the signing, to check that the person has signed of their own free will.
What is the difference between notarised and certified?
For a document to be notarised, A notary public must witness the signing of the document, to verify the signer’s identity. To certify a document, you do not need a notary public to bear witness. Certified documents can be certified by different types of professionals, including solicitors, accountants, and bank officials.
If you need to use a legal document overseas, you may find that a certified copy is not accepted. When dealing with legal matters abroad, you’ll be asked to provide notarised copies of your personal documents. For instance, if providing documents to purchase land overseas, study, work, or get married. A notary public can also authenticate documents for foreign wills, to administer the estates of individuals who are abroad.
The organisation you are dealing with should specify whether they require a notarised document or a certified document. If you’re not sure which type of document you require, you’ll need to contact a solicitor. Attempting to handle your legal affairs abroad can be complicated, which is why it’s always best to seek legal guidance.
How can Hatten Wyatt help?
If you need to get your important documents notarised or certified, Hatten Wyatt can assist you. We have supported many clients to authenticate their documents quickly, and at an affordable rate. To find out more about verifying your legal documents, contact our notary public and certification solicitors today.