Have you ever dealt with authenticated documents before? If you have ever relocated to a new country, you know how daunting the compliance process can get. Different authorities or entities require different documents as part of their immigration requirements. So, knowing exactly what it is they want from the documents is key. For example, do they want the documents notarized, legalized, or both? Since notarization and legalization are different actions on documents, you may wonder what they are, and their main differences. Please read on to find out more.
What is the Notarization of a Document?
Notarization is the first step of legal certification. It is the formal process where a notary public validates a document through a signature or certification. Thus, the notarization of a document involves the use of a notary public who certifies that a document is legal, genuine, or original or signs the document.
Remember, the notary certifies what the document is in a certain way depending on the requirements. For instance, the notary public may sign a document to act as proof and certify that the signature on the document belongs to the one who owns it. On the other hand, a notary may certify the authenticity of a document, or that it is a copy made from an original of the document. Additionally, a notary can be a witness as you sign the document.
Notably, a notary can notarize your documents at their office. Alternatively, there are mobile notary services available, where you make arrangements for the notary to come to your own home. Furthermore, you can take advantage of the convenience of online notary services such as Notary24.
Some of the documents you can notarize include agreements, deeds, last will and corporate documents. They must get authenticated by a notary’s signature is an official seal. Moreover, the notary public’s signature attests that the person signing the document has done so under free will, is properly identified as the owner of the document, and that the origin and authentication of the document are verified. Therefore, with notarization, other parties that will use the document can trust and see it as authentic.
What is the Legalization of a Document?
This is another form of legal certification, and it comes second after a document is notarized. Therefore, all legalized documents are notarized. Legalization of documents is usually done by the respective countries’ embassies or consulates that are located in the country in which the document will be used, or where the notary public authenticating the document is. Countries will require you to legalize your documents before you submit them with your immigration applications. However, legalization is not a requirement for all notarized documents.
Different countries have varying requirements for the legal certification of documents. For instance, commonwealth countries do not require your notarized documents to be legalized, hence will accept them once they are notarized. However, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States are among some countries that only recognize legalized documents.
Before moving further, what is the legalization of a document? It is a formal process that validates, authenticates, or certifies a legal document for official use in a different country. Therefore, a foreign country’s legal system can recognize a legalized document with full effect. It is thus a form of officially attesting the origin of a document. Various documents; powers of attorney, birth certificates, affidavits, educational transcripts, statutory declarations, death certificates, and certified true copies of original documents, can be legalized.
Moreover, your document can be legalized if you obtain an apostille certificate, or get consular legislation. Once again, some countries may ask for both the apostille certificate and the consular legislation while others will require either. Therefore, ensure you know the specific requirement of the country.
Legalization Processes in Different Countries
Remember, legalization may be different depending on whether the country is part of The Hague Apostille Convention or not. How? Countries that are signed to this convention, such as Canada, Australia, and Jamaica among others, require the notarized document to have an apostille stamp. So, what is an apostille stamp? This is the official verification of a notary public’s signature. Therefore, countries that are party to this convention can accept an Apostille certificate as a form of legislation. Notably you can always get Apostille stamps online from platforms such as Apostille.ong
On the other hand, countries such as China, Vietnam, Thailand, and other Middle East countries are not signed up for The Hague Apostille Convention. In this case, the legalization of documents must go through a third step; consular legislation. This means that after the document is notarized and apostilled, it must be legalized at the specific country’s consulate, which will stamp it for verification.
The Main Difference between Notarization and Legalization
Both the notarization and legalization of documents are essential steps, especially for documents that are to be used abroad. One of the most common questions notaries get is the major difference between notarization and legalization.
Notarization of documents is the formal procedure of certifying or authenticating documents whereas legalization of documents is the formal process that validates a document that has already been authenticated for official use in another country.
The key difference between these two legal processes is evident in who does the verification of the documents. While a notary verifies your signature on a document, the legalization of a document requires the verification of the notary’s signature. For example, German Trade Registry offers consular legalization and Apostille services. Alternatively, some countries require the authentication of a document at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the specific state before it is legalized.
Also, these two legal processes have different procedures. Ensure you follow the right one depending on the requirements of the country in which you want to use the documents.
Understanding Notarization and Legalization Differences
Notarization and legalization are important steps for the certification and verification of legal documents. They come in handy when migrating to a new country. Also, businesses and organizations can notarize and legalize their documents depending on the requirements set by the specific country. The main difference between notarization and legalization of documents is evident in who signs the document for verification. While notarized documents require the signature of a notary public, the legalization of documents further requires the authentication of the already notarized document.
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