Help & FAQ's

What is a Notary Public?

A notary practicing in England and Wales holds an office which is internationally recognised. The signature and official seal of a UK Notary are recognised as evidence of a responsible legal officer in most countries of the world.

The notarial system in England and Wales is very different from the work of notaries in the USA or the notarial system across mainland Europe. The British notary mainly acts as an impartial and legally trained witness to authenticate and certify the execution of documents required or intended for use outside the UK.

When might I need a Notary?

You probably know if you need the services of a Notary Public; it is usually whenever a legal transaction has an international element. The following is a list of some of the Notarial work undertaken by MyNotary members; it is provided as an illustration only and not as a definitive list.

  • Business contracts
  • When buying property abroad
  • Preparation and witnessing of Powers of Attorney for worldwide use
  • Legalisation of documents
  • International Affidavits, declarations, sworn statements and depositions
  • Certified Translations
  • Fingerprinting confirmation
  • Lost Passports & Birth Certificates
  • Change of Name
  • Marriage Certificates & Confirmation of Single Status
  • Certified Copy Documents
  • Statutory declarations
  • Authentication of identity and signatures
  • Documentation in connection with Bills of Exchange
  • Shipping documentation including the preparation and noting of protest
How do I find a Notary?

Search for a notary on the home page.

In the “Notary Location Search Box” you can just type part of the postcode, town, county or country where you require the services of a notary – a drop down box will display the options.

For now, we only list notaries in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. Please contact us if you are a notary in another country and want to be included in our database of notaries. Our geo-location (GPS) search facility enables you, the visitor, to search anywhere in the world - our database of notaries outside the UK will be extended over time.

How to use the interactive Google map.

The sliding scale situated on the left hand side of the map can be used to zoom in to a designated area by clicking a dragging the button on the scale and moving it up and down to the desired level of zoom. There are also navigation arrows in the top left hand corner of the map, which allows different areas of the map to be viewed. This can also be achieved by clicking and holding the mouse down anywhere on the map area and dragging it in the direction you wish to go.

Click on a balloon and ‘view profile’ to see full contact details and a location map. The notaries depicted by a balloon are notaries that definitely want to be found! And want your business.

You can also search by Town or Postcode. The map will either display the location of any Notaries in the area or ask you to email us to locate one for you.

Note: in Scotland there is no actual published list of notaries. Almost all solicitors may act as a notary. A list of law firms in Scotland can be obtained on The Law Society of Scotland's website at www.lawscot.org.uk

Contacting a Notary

Once the relevant Notary has been found, their name and address is displayed. Some Notary listings also provide email and website addresses as well as contact telephone numbers and a description of other services that their respective firms provide. Please contact the notary directly or email admin@Mynotary.co.uk

What proof of Identity is required?

In order to maintain the internationally recognised high standards of Notaries Public, the Notary is required to make certain checks. Individuals should produce a current passport or, in exceptional cases, other proof of similar validity and reliability. Other proof could include certificates of birth, baptism, marriage, divorce, deed poll on change of name, statutory declaration, full driving licence, National Insurance Card or some other official document bearing a full name and signature.

Where you are signing on behalf of a company the notary will need to make additional checks, it is often wise to discuss what is required in advance with the Notary.

The legalisation process

You may have been asked to make sure that your document is ‘legalised’. Legalisation means that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office puts a certificate on the document confirming the Notary's credentials. The Foreign Office certificate, for some countries, is known as an Apostille and is attached under the terms of the Hague Convention.

We are finding that most documents, other than certified copies of educational or professional qualifications, do require to be legalised; certainly most Powers of Attorney and international trade documents do. If you or your notary is unsure we may be able to help as we are familiar with the varying requirements of most countries. Please email any queries to admin@MyNotary.co.uk

For some countries Foreign Office legalisation is not enough and they require a stamp from their own embassy or consulate before the document is legally acceptable abroad. Your notary will advise you what legalisation your document needs, (if any).

Why is legalisation necessary?

Legalisation is a double check to make sure that the notary signature is genuine.

What happens if the document is not in English?

If the documents are in a language other than English it is possible that the notary will still witness these documents. For example if there is a valid translation annexed to the deed that is understood by the person signing or if the notary is fully satisfied that the person signing is conversant with the language of the document.

But if the person signing does not understand the foreign language of the document and there is no English translation attached to it, then it is necessary for the document to be translated by an official legal translator who will then have to sign a statutory declaration certifying that it is a true translation and this declaration itself will have to be witnessed by the notary and sealed.