Public notaries are able to provide a wide array of services to their clients, regardless if they are private individuals and corporations. Most often, the documents notaries authenticate or verify are used overseas, since there is a difference between the English legal system and foreign legal systems.
The notary will have to carefully check the identity of the person signing the documents, as well as their capacity and authority. At the same time, the public notary must ensure confidentiality and provide professional indemnity insurance cover. Furthermore, if you are unable to see the notary at their offices, you may request the mobile public notary services where the legal professional comes to your home or office.
If you want to obtain a visa or open a bank account abroad, you will need to have one or more of your identity documents notarised; these include passports, passports, driving licences, driving licences, bank statements, and utility bills.
To have a document notarised means that a public notary certifies that the copy is true to the original; this is also called a certified copy. The procedure is rather simple: you must bring your original document with you; the notary checks it and then produces a certified copy of the original.
Sometimes, you may need the notary to certify that the picture on your identity document is a true and accurate likeness of you; make sure to ask for this service specifically in case you need it. Also make sure to ask the requesting party how many copies of each document you need.
Be careful when you need to have your passport notarised whether this refers to just the ID page, to certain pages with visas or residence permits, or to the whole passport. If you fail to comply, the party requesting your notarised passport may well reject it.
As part of standard identification requirements, you may also have to show a proof of address when you have your passport notarised. If you need to obtain a notarised proof of address, in addition to a notarised identity document, make sure to bring with you a recent document, no older than three months. Utility bills and bank statements make good candidates for proof of address; a driving licence or a mobile phone statement may not be recent enough, so it is best to avoid them.
Finally, sometimes you may need to legalise your document in addition to having it notarised. If that is the case, the notary is able to send your notarised documents to the Foreign Office where they are to obtain the Hague Apostille. If further legalisation is needed, the notary can also send your papers to the Consulate of the receiving country in London.