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Efficient Use of Notary Service

For the most efficient use of a notary service, it is recommended that you:

  1. Contact a Notary as soon as possible
  2. Be ready to provide the Notary with a copy of the document needed to be notarised and any covering letter received 
  3. On meeting the Notary have available a passport and a utility bill which confirms the identity and residential address of each person signing the document

There may be additional requirements for a company. The Notary will be able to supply the relevant information.


Legal Documents signed in Hong Kong, but need to be used in another country must be “authenticated” or “legalized” before they can be recognized as valid in the foreign country.

Such documents range from:

  • powers of attorney
  • affidavits, affirmations and statutory declarations
  • birth, death and marriages records
  • incorporation papers
  • deeds, conveyances, mortgages
  • patent application and
  • various other legal papers.

Legalization is a verification process, where the validity of a document is verified. For example, if you sign a Power of Attorney before a Notary Public, the Notary Public will verify your signature, so that the receiving party of this Power of Attorney will know that it was really you who signed the document.

Notarial Acts. Apostille or Legalisation.

notarial acts

Documents certified by notaries are sealed with the notary's seal or stamp and are recorded by the notary in a register (also called a "protocol") maintained and permanently kept by him or her. These are known as "notarial acts".

apostille or legalisation

In countries subscribing to the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement for Legalization for Foreign Public Documents only one further act of certification is required, known as an apostille, and is issued by a government department (usually the Foreign Affairs Department or similar). For other countries an "authentication" or "legalization" must be issued by the Foreign Affairs Ministry of the country from which the document is being sent or the Embassy, Consulate-General, or High Commission of the country to which it is being sent.

In Hong Kong, this is done by a notary public (around 400 in Hong Kong) through the High Court.

For more information on Apostille service, also see

Notary Public: Duties and Functions.

a notary public may be described as an officer of the law, whose public office and duty it is to

  1. draw, attest or certify under his official seal deeds and other documents, including wills or other testamentary documents, conveyances of real and personal property and powers of attorney;
  2. authenticate such documents under his signature and official seal in such a manner as to render them acceptable, as proof of the matters attested by him, to the judicial or other public authorities in the country where they are to be used, whether by means of issuing a notarial certificate as to the due execution of such documents or by drawing them in the form of public instruments;
  3. keep a protocol containing originals of all instruments which he makes in the public form and to issue authentic copies of such instruments;
  4. administer oaths and declarations for use in proceedings
  5. note or certify transactions relating to negotiable instruments, and to draw up protests or other formal papers relating to occurrences on the voyages of ships and their navigation as well as the carriage of cargo in ships.