Notorize and/or Legalize Documents in Hong Kong

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Getting Your Documents Notarized, Apostilled and Legalized in Hong Kong

There may come a time when you need documents legally authenticated for your business. Often times, we see a number of corporate documents that call for some type of authentication in order to be filed in legal proceedings, business agreements or contracts.
A process is in place for each type of authenticating in Hong Kong; notarized, apostilled or legalized. This is especially helpful in situations such as opening a bank account in Hong Kong or foreign country, opening a WOFE (Wholly Owned Foreign Enterprise) in China, or when you’re entering into business contracts with an international company. Our team is experienced in any one of these processes and we are here to support you and your business no matter what the circumstances call for.
If you are unsure of how these document authentications differ, we have defined them below. This will give you a better understanding of how these verification processes work in Hong Kong and how they are used around the world.

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Notarization

A notary is a certified professional who is trained to verify the authenticity of documents, contracts, business proceedings, transactions or the like. This process will usually require proof of identity from the individual named in the documents. Having your documents notarized will allow the non-witnessing party to know the document(s) are legally binding. A notary public can perform the following services:

Issue a notarial/notarized certificate - proof of its authenticity with multiple copies.

Make a certified copy of an original document - this includes stamps of origin or embossing.

Witness the signing of a document - to ensure the integrity of the document is accurate.

In most cases, a Hong Kong Notary Public will be sufficient in verifying or certifying your documents, however, there will be exceptions depending on your specific requirements from the other party. For example, when setting up a WOFE (A Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprise) a Chinese Notary will typically be required.

Apostille

An apostille certification differs from a notary authentication by the document’s jurisdiction. An apostilled document is used specifically to verify papers of record so they can be used in a foreign country. Typically, this kind of certification works in most cases from countries recognizing The Hague Convention.  If the country or entity does not, the documents may need to be legalized which we will discuss below. The High Court is responsible for apostilled documents in Hong Kong and not all documents are eligible for this classification or verification. An Apostilled document can be obtained by:

Public documents that illustrate the signature of an official party or representative.

Documents signed by a Notary Public or a Commissioner of Oaths within Hong Kong.

If you would like to view more specifics on documents that can be apostilled in Hong Kong, please visit the Hong Kong Judiciary site here.

Legalization
The legalization of a document may be required in a country that doesn’t recognize The Hague Convention. This can be a complicated process and in this situation, the document may even need to be notarized and/or apostilled before legalization is possible. Consulates and Embassies of the foreign country are the only places in which a document like this can be legalized.

Choosing What Authentication You Need
Your first step in choosing what kind of authenticating your document needs is by getting a clear requirement from the entity that will be accepting the document. After you receive that confirmation, you can come to us and we will walk you through whichever process is needed for your document.

Each one of these document verifications: notarization, apostille or legalization, undergo a very different process in order to become a legal certified document. Whether your documents need only one verification or all three, we are here to assist you in these processes to limit any confusion or mistakes. Please reach out to our team and allow us to answer any questions you might have so we can serve you and your business.

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