Having Documents Notarized In A Foreign Country?

By
Title Insurance with Frontier Title Group, LLC FL DFS License #E015761
http://actvra.in/4hyg

Notary SealWith the increase in foreign national persons buying and selling real estate (especially here in South Florida) the need is increasing for a deed, power of attorney, or even a bank mortgage package to be notarized in a foreign country.  Here are some basic guidelines to be aware of and plan for:

     The only foreign notary accepted in the United States is from Canada.  All others must be performed at the American Consulate in the foreign country or in the presence of an Apostille in which the signing party is physically located. 

     Follow this link for a list of American Consulates:  http://www.americanconsulate.com/

     Since October 15, 1981, the United States has been part of the 1961 Hague Convention abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents. The Convention provides for the simplified certification of public (including notarized) documents to be used in countries that have joined the convention.

     Under the Hague Convention, signatory countries have agreed to recognize public documents issued by other signatory countries if those public documents are authenticated by the attachment of an internationally recognized form of authentication known as an "apostille". The Apostille ensures that public documents issued in one signatory country will be recognized as valid in another signatory country.

     There are currently over 60 member states of the Hague convention and in addition to those countries many other countries will also recognize an Apostille certificate (follow the link to a list of these countries).
     http://apostille.us/Documents/States_Abolishing_Legalisation_Documents.shtml

      If the signing party is in the US at any point during the transaction, have them execute a Power of Attorney before leaving the country.  Trust me, it will save you a lot of time and stress!

     For example:  A buyer lives in Istanbul, Turkey and must execute a Power Of Attorney for his daughter to sign mortgage loan documents on his behalf in the United States.  (Always verify that the format of the Power of Attorney is approved by the Mortgage Lender's underwriting department and the Title Insurance Agent's underwriter before proceeding.)  The documents are sent to the buyer in Turkey who must take them to the American Consulate or make arrangements to meet with an Apostille.  NOTE:  Ther servie that you want an Apostille to perform is to authenticate the person's signature.  They could authenticate the document instead if you are unclear, but your documents will be returned unsigned by the party whose signature you need!  Make sure you are clear about which service you need them to perform:  authenticate the signature

Seal of US Secretary of State     If the party decides to take the documents to the American Consulate be advised that in most countries the person must make an appointment and even then, wait in line upon arrival.  The appointments can be difficult to come by depending on the country...they must be required anywhere from a few days to a few months in advance.  Also note, if the documents require witnesses, the signing party must bring their own witnesses with them to the appointment.

     On one transaction I needed a seller in Spain to sign a deed and a couple of other documents to complete the transaction.  The American Consulat was too far for him to travel so he made an appointment with an Apostille.  In Spain, the fee for the Apostille is a percentage of the sales price of the property!  This property was selling for over $300,000.  Thankfully, this seller had a friend who was an Apostille who wouldn't charge him the fee, but be aware this service can be very expensive!

     Last, but certainly not least, allow enough time for the documents to be returned to the US.  "Overnight" service does not mean overnight for International Shipments.  In my experience it requires 3 days over and 2 days back.  In our technological age, documents can be faxed or emailed and printed in the foreign country, then shipped back.  That cuts down the time frame significantly.  Remember to confirm that if the documents are faxed that the fax machine does not use thermal paper.  Thermal paper fades over time.  If the fax machine does use thermal paper, ask the receiving party to make a copy to serve as the original to be signed.  The copy will not fade. 

     Hopefully these tips will help you in a current or upcomming transaction and help it close smoothly!

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Rainmaker
1,002,956
Kathy Clulow
RE/MAX All-Stars Realty Inc. Brokerage - Uxbridge, ON
Trusted For Experience - Respected For Results

Laurie - excellent information to have at hand ..... you just never know when a buyer or seller for that matter will approach you from out of the country. Ive had out of province buyers buy a home here in Uxbridge with out leaving home to come and actually see it until the deal was accepted. and recently A Canadian family living overseas completed the entire transaction using the phone, fax and Internet to view the property, and complete all the paperwork to purchase the home. They moved back to Canada a few days before closing.

Sep 25, 2010 11:31 PM #1
Rainmaker
190,703
Lois Davies
Century 21 Birchwood Realty, Inc. - Cape Coral, FL
Cape Coral & SW Florida

This information is good to know,  I have a customr living in Germany who is thinking of selling his home here.  Thanks for sharing.

Sep 28, 2010 06:41 PM #2
Rainer
9,544
Laurie Planamento
Frontier Title Group, LLC - Plantation, FL
Your Florida Title Partner

Kathy, isn't it amazing how integrated technology has become in our real estate transactions?  There are so many facets and moving pieces to a closing, I'm happy if my blog gave you a little more information to tuck in your bonnet.  Best of luck. 

Oct 04, 2010 02:39 AM #3
Rainer
9,544
Laurie Planamento
Frontier Title Group, LLC - Plantation, FL
Your Florida Title Partner

Lois, happy to offer my experiences.  Hope they can be of help to you.  You might want to check on how your German seller holds title to the property here in the US.  If it is in their name or a foreign corporation name, advise them to speak to an accountant to apply for an exemption from the FIRPTA tax.  Have them start the process about 60 days or so before closing.  It will save them from having to file a tax return after closing for the 10% that the closing agent will withhold and send in to the IRS.  If they hold title to the property in the name of a US corporation or LLC they shouldn't have a problem. 

Oct 04, 2010 02:45 AM #4
Anonymous
Brentz Thompson

Laurie, I have a question about a power of attorney being executed here in the United States and being sent to a person in Canada.  I see Canada is not a signatory to the Hague treaty mentioned above.  Does this mean that a lawfully executed power of attorney from West Virginia (USA) would not be valid in Canada?

Jun 20, 2012 07:30 AM #5
Anonymous
Kevin Burke

Sorry to resurrect this post but for the benefit of those still looking for notarization of Florida documents outside the USA, further to FS 695.03 and Chapter 118 Florida Statutes there is also an option to use a Florida "civil law notary" appointed by the Florida Department of State present in such foreign country. I am a Florida civil law notary based in the UK and I routinely notarize documents for Florida. In fact, where lenders, closing agents, or other parties in other states are requiring documents to be notarized by someone present in the UK, such parties often accept my FCLN signature and stamp once I e-mail them with the relevant statutes and basis for such notarisation outside of Florida.

Aug 06, 2014 09:19 AM #6
Anonymous
adam

First, thank you for posting this. It really helps us. My question is... if for example, I'd like to have my sister becomes my Power of Attorney (to have authority over my property etc. in case anything happen to me) then she could sign a Power of Attorney document in front of a notary in an overseas country. Then I could simply asked her to mail the signed PoA to me, then I mailed it to the Apostille (which is managed by A&M Logos International, Inc). Then, they can verify the PoA document , so that it will be recognized here in the U.S.?

Thanks.

Nov 14, 2014 10:43 AM #7
Anonymous
Kevin Burke

I don't know why posters refer to sending something to an apostille or signing in the presence of an apostille.

The apostille is not a person and it is not something that the foreign notary or US notary provide themselves. If you have a document notarised in a foreign country, the notary signs, dates and stamps it similarly as to how it is done in the US (although sometimes we may put ribbons etc. on it to attach or bind together). If it is to be sent out of that country then either the client or the notary may send off the notarised document to the relevant authority for that nation or jurisdiction for an apostille. In Florida it is the Department of State/Florida Division of Corporations, in the UK it is the Foreign & Commonwealth. The apostille is a card, typically 4 x 4 inches, which usually simply confirms that the notary is in fact a notary of that jurisdiction or nation. Don't expect the notary at the notarisation to be able to produce an apostille as he or she doesn't sign or otherwise make them.

Dec 17, 2014 12:34 PM #8
Anonymous
Jose V Rodriguez

Hi Kevin Burke,

My wife is in Germany at the moment and she is purchasing a house in Florida. She is getting a mortgage. and is closing at the end of September 2015. It seems like getting it done at the embassy is going to cost a lot of money. Do you know of an alternative? She is 45 minutes north of Munich

Thank you

Jose

Sep 21, 2015 04:38 PM #9
Anonymous
Max

It would have been helpful to cite the link or legal authority that says documents notarized in Canada are valid in the U.S. without an apostille. A client of mine in Canada recently asked me if she could notarize some urgently needed forms that I sent her in her local jurisdiction of Toronto, Canada and I want to be sure to give her verifiable information in case anyone balks about it here in the U.S.

Sep 24, 2015 07:24 AM #10
Anonymous
Mark Blazek

Thats ridiculous. a notary is only common law. Im buying a house in USA but live in Korea, I gave my wife a power of attorney from Korea and the title company wants it dont t the embassy . THe Korean NOtary is better than the uSA notary because they are attorney notaries. The notary in USA is just some guy in an office that calls himself a notary , no training . n South Korea, a notary public is typically a legal professional. South Korea’s Laws state that before starting their notary practice, they pass the bar to become a lawyer. They also need to get all necessary licenses before they can provide professional notary services. They are very commonly used by companies for creating power of attorneys and for various important affidavits like signatures, names and other proof of identification documents.

It is impractical to go to the Embassy. The Embassy is two hours thirty minutes away and I need to make an appointment and miss work. The Notary I sent has the same jurisdictional power as the Embassy would and is authorized by an attorney at the Minister of Justice and is accepted as normal business worldwide because they are ascribed to the Hague convention. The attorney-notary is a common law public officer constituted by law and accepted internationally because of the Hague convention. As you can see on the last page, the attorney Chung Young is an attorney-notary that works out of the District Prosecutors’s Office approved by the Vice consul. This is a very large and busy office full of people from all parts of the world. Technically it is better than your normal Notary in the USA because they are an Attorney-Notary and have higher standards to become a notary such as being an attorney.
In addition ,it has an Apostille stamp for authentication, accepted by the 1961 Hague convention. Under the Hague Convention, the office and seal of a Notary is internationally recognized. For more information you can go to the Korea Justice department web page. As Fannie Mae is part of the USA Government , they are ascribed to the Hague convention as well and is internationally recognized. This is common law and a Notary falls under this jurisdiction. Doesn’t matter if it is done by the Embassy, it is still common law and Fannie Mae has no choice, they must accept it because a Notary Certificate is part of the documents that are accepted under the Hague convention. This is not rocket science and the Notary system used in Korea is on the same level as that of the USA ,this is common law and there should be no reason for me to travel to the Embassy.
I sent a hard paper cop


A qualified notary public in South Korea can help in many legal functions which needs notarization. These could include:

Signing for deeds, loan or mortgage documents
Private contracts between various parties
Make public authorization for transactions when requested by involved parties
Translate wills into legal documents
Create affidavits for interested parties
They are often called upon to administer oaths and these too could be accompanied by relevant affidavits. At times, a notary public in South Korea can get special training and licenses to even expand his or her services to immigration practice or vice versa. While most operate from their offices, there are new age notary organizations that also offer mobile and online services.

One of the most common functions of a notary public in South Korea is loan signing. In this case, they work with not just the lenders, brokers and borrowers but also with the title companies. They also help in loan modification cases. Other than these, they offer services like warranty deeds, compliance and correction agreements, affidavits for surveys, occupancies, ownerships, will and testament verification among many other functions.The notary official then signs and puts the seal mandated by the government on these papers.

A notary public in South Korea is governed by the Notarial Act as well as the Code of Ethical Conduct. They are required to be very cautious and focused at their work so as to avoid errors and negligence at any cost. They have to adhere to high standards of professional responsibility as well as confidentiality for all cases he or she handles. These are drilled into their consciousness during their training since the documents prepared by them forms the basis of legal truth and justice for parties involved.

What is the difference between a notarization and an apostille?
Requiring that a document be notarized (signed before a notary public who has been certified by the secretary of State's office) is often enough to prove a document's legitimacy for use in the US. It is impractical to go to the Embassy. The Embassy is two hours thirty minutes away and I need to make an appointment and miss work. The Notary I sent has the same jurisdictional power as the Embassy would and is authorized by an attorney at the Minister of Justice and is accepted as normal business worldwide because they are ascribed to the Hague convention. The attorney-notary is a common law public officer constituted by law and accepted internationally because of the Hague convention. As you can see on the last page, the attorney Chung Young is an attorney-notary that works out of the District Prosecutors’s Office approved by the Vice consul. This is a very large and busy office full of people from all parts of the world. Technically it is better than your normal Notary in the USA because they are an Attorney-Notary and have higher standards to become a notary such as being an attorney.
In addition ,it has an Apostille stamp for authentication, accepted by the 1961 Hague convention. Under the Hague Convention, the office and seal of a Notary is internationally recognized. For more information you can go to the Korea Justice department web page. As Fannie Mae is part of the USA Government , they are ascribed to the Hague convention as well and is internationally recognized. This is common law and a Notary falls under this jurisdiction. Doesn’t matter if it is done by the Embassy, it is still common law and Fannie Mae has no choice, they must accept it because a Notary Certificate is part of the documents that are accepted under the Hague convention. This is not rocket science and the Notary system used in Korea is on the same level as that of the USA ,this is common law and there should be no reason for me to travel to the Embassy.

Jun 14, 2016 10:47 AM #11
Anonymous
Mark Blazek

People make live so hard , its just a signature. common law,, nothing more ,,,

Jun 14, 2016 10:48 AM #12
Anonymous
Kevin Burke

Often the problem comes down to the American lender or title company lazily insisting that persons, whether American or otherwise, must travel to the US Embassy or consulate. Often there are no appointments with the US Embassy in London for months if any at all. If only US lenders, title companies or other requesting parties would simply review the statutes of their own state. As the US is a party to the relevant Hague Convention, and as most (but not all) US states provide for recognition of notarial acts abroad through implementation of uniform acts, it is often the case that the relevant state does recognise the notarisations of foreign notaries. Let those abroad see local foreign notaries should they wish and not force them to have to travel or fly hours away to a US embassy or consulate to face a fairly unpleasant experience akin to dealing with TSA officers for a prolonged period of time.

Jun 15, 2016 03:09 AM #13
Anonymous
Pamela schirmer

How much is the actual steel stamp from about year 1990

Jun 20, 2016 08:16 PM #14
Anonymous
Kevin Burke

I am sorry but the following quote from the article above is not correct.


"The only foreign notary accepted in the United States is from Canada. All others must be performed at the American Consulate in the foreign country or in the presence of an Apostille in which the signing party is physically located."



See the US Department of State’s list of state laws in relation to recognition of notarial services outside of the USA at:

https://fam.state.gov/fam/07fam/07fam0820.html.

Additionally, there are a number of U.S. Uniform Acts in relation to notarisations and the acceptance of notarisations from abroad. Many of the statutes referenced in the above link are further to the relevant state’s implementation or partial implementation of one or more of the Uniform Acts.

The 1942 Uniform Acknowledgment Act, adopted in 12 states, names the following persons as officials authorized to take acknowledgments qualified for acceptance in the adopting states:

.... An Ambassador, Minister, Charge'd' Affaires, Counselor to or Secretary of a Legation, Consul General, Consul, Vice-Consul, Commercial Attache or Consular Agent of the United States accredited to the country where the acknowledgment is made (2) a notary public of the country where the acknowledgment is made; (3) A Judge or Clerk of the court of record of the county where the acknowledgment is made."

The Uniform Recognition of Acknowledgments Act, approved 1982, and adopted in 15 states, provides that the following persons are officials authorized to take acknowledgments in foreign countries that qualify for acceptance in the adopting states:

.... a Notary Public of the country where the acknowledgment is made;

16 U.S. states have signed the Uniform Acknowledgments Act 1982, which has been updated in the Revised Uniform Law On Notarial Acts 2010 (RULONA), enacted by Indiana, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, (bill introduced in Georgia and Vermont in 2016). See Section 14 of RULONA which recognises notarisations abroad by foreign notaries.

http://www.uniformlaws.org/shared/docs/notarial_acts/rulona_final_10.pdf

There are further Uniform Acts, but these are the main ones. It is a constant battle trying to get US parties to permit those abroad to see a local notary in the country they are in, and not have to go to travel to a US embassy or consulate.

Regards,

Kevin Burke



Jun 21, 2016 02:32 AM #15
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Rainer
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Laurie Planamento

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