Did you know that we can notarise your documents for the USA? Louise explains

Did you know that we can notarise your documents for the USA? Louise explains

We do get asked on occasions whether we can notarise and deal with documents for the US – the simple answer is YES we can.*

There are many parts of the US which do not seem to know this. The landmass of the USA is of course huge and many citizens do not travel outside it. Accordingly many law firms and real estate agents have little if any experience of dealing with documents to be signed outside of the USA.

That is why we often see instances where the US advisor has told English residents that they can only execute Deeds if they travel back to the States or otherwise attend the US Embassy in London. Which they possibly think is no difficult thing, since they have seen the world atlas and know that England is very small; presumably all of us can just walk round to the London Embassy in half an hour or so!

This is partly true – yes you can attend the US embassy in London if you wish but of course London is not a two-minute drive away from us up here in the North and anyway you would need to arrange an appointment with the Embassy and arrange travel to get to London.

It can be a long wait to obtain an appointment; the US embassy has more pressing matters to deal for example dealing with US citizens who are currently in the UK who have lost their passports, or had an accident or got in trouble with the police etc..– they really don’t want to have to give time to see people who require to sign documents for a house sale or purchase, or transfer of ownership of a car or dealing with bank closure forms etc.. – this is not urgent business as far as they are concerned.

So you will find that your US Consular appointment may be issued for weeks or even longer hence, whilst your realtor in Florida or wherever has sent the papers at the last minute and wants them back this week!. Also the typical package of papers for sales in Florida particularly may need five or six notarial certifications. For each one, the US Consulate will charge $50.00. (And please note that AtkinsonNotary will charge based upon time taken and not charge for each document separately)

What our clients do not get told is that they have another option – yes either attend the US Embassy if you can obtain an appointment in good time and are able to travel to get to the Embassy OR, you can deal with the necessary documents before an English Notary Public. This is usually much more convenient, easy to arrange and you do not have to travel to London because the good news is we are here in Leeds and are able to assist (there are around 750 Notaries in England – but however please note that not all Notaries in England carry insurance to deal with documents for the US – but WE DO.)

And note that the USA Embassy itself recommends you do this, see this link and scroll to “Notarization Through The British System”

The USA as a Federation, and the United Kingdom, have both signed up to the Hague Convention which means that documents to the States to be signed in England can be executed before an English Notary Public (as long as that Notary carries the necessary insurance to deal with documentation for the US) and once notarised should then be sent to the British Foreign Office to obtain an “Apostille” stamp.

I have written on previous occasions about what an “Apostille” is (see link here for one of them, or go to our blog website and find the others by entering “Apostille” into the search field) but in short it is a stamp issued by the British to confirm that the document has been dealt with correctly by a fully qualified Notary and that his/her signature, stamp and seal are genuine. So that therefore what he/she says can be relied upon in the foreign jurisdiction – basically it is an insurance policy so the US can safely rely upon the document and if by any means a criminal should successfully obtain an Apostille onto a forged document then then any losses incurred in relation to relying on the document will be a burden upon the British State (i.e. of course, the Tax payer!)

Having said that there are many States in the US that do not actually request that an Apostille be obtained, they are quite content with the document(s) just being notarised.

To end – If you have documents which you require notarising and maybe Apostilling for use in USA then we can help, YOU DO NOT NEED TO GO THE USA EMBASSY IN LONDON IF YOU DON’T WANT TO. (And I suspect that the Embassy would be pleased if you didn’t!)

Song here, for Fall fans only perhaps *Leave the Capital*

Please do get in touch with us if you would like any further guidance in relation to documents for use in the USA. or for use around the world .


Contact me Louise Morley, or Chris Atkinson, at AtkinsonNotary Limited, E7 Joseph’s Well Leeds LS3 1AB, phone 0113 8160116 and email notary@atkinsonnotary.com or via the website http://www.atkinsonnotary.com

*the less simple answer, is that actually there are a very few US documents which cannot be notarised by an English notary and will need the Embassy. In the main, these relate to US TAX filings.