Authenticating Your Educational Certificates – “Help please I am overseas!” Louise Morley Assists.

Authenticating Your Educational Certificates – “Help please I am overseas!” Louise Morley Assists.

Many clients email me from overseas requesting assistance in verifying, notarising and legalising copies of their English Educational Certificates i.e Degrees, Transcripts as genuine.

The main concern is that they are not in England and need to deal with this remotely – i.e by email.

This need not be not a problem – we can usually do this for you.

Upon hearing from you, we will contact the educational institution which has issued your certificate(s) – Degrees, Diplomas, Exam results etc, to confirm authenticity.

Each University and school will have a standard procedure which needs to be followed and they usually charge a small fee of around £10.

If you are already overseas then this is not an issue – we can deal with this remotely i.e by email.

The norm is that the University will require that the student sign a consent authorising them to release the verification details to us.

We will prepare any necessary consents and email them directly to you for signing and dating and scanning and emailing directly back to me if this is allowed, otherwise you may need to post the “wet signed” consent back to us.

Upon which country you require to use your notarised certificates depends the process which next must be followed – different countries have different requirements and it is our job to keep up to speed with the latest guidance for notarisation and legalisation – if you are unsure as to the requirements for notarisation and legalisation then why not ask the experts! (And that would be us by the way!)

An example of a country that does continuously change the process necessary to obtain their certification stamps would be The People’s Republic of China “PRC”.

Their strict guidelines must be adhered to. Not just one Authorisation needs to be provided but two! – Also if there is any discrepancy with your name listed on the certificate and the name listed in your passport [often we find that your University will have omitted your middle name from your Degree Certificate. Why do they do that?] then again the PRC will reject. They will require an Affidavit is prepared and sworn before a Notary confirming that the name discrepancy is an error and the certificate is yours.

Another example UAE – UAE will not have any bundling of documents whatsoever – so if you have a degree and a related transcript then you may think they both could be attached together to make one document thereby saving on legalisation fees as the UAE charge £37.50 for a private document and a whopping £500 for a commercial document – but no, the UAE will not accept any bundling – all documents must be separate. And separate fees must be paid.

All I am trying to say is don’t be worried. If you are overseas or of course, if you are in England, and you need your certificate(s) verifying, notarising and legalising for use abroad – then why not let me worry about the requirements and instruct me to proceed on your behalf?

As always, Please do contact me or Chris whenever you need Notarial certification or Legalisation for any of your Documents– at http://www.atkinsonnotary.com – or phone me on 0113 816 0116 (internationally 0044 113 8160116)

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Power of Attorney and other Deeds for use in Foreign Countries

Power of Attorney and other Deeds for use in Foreign Countries

Probably the work we are asked to assist with more than anything else is the witnessing of the execution of Deeds of Power of Attorney.

It’s not surprising really. We are in Leeds, our clients are local, and they want to complete transactions abroad.

Realistically, unless you can afford the time and money which you would have to invest in going to the foreign country, and staying there until all of the necessary paperwork has been prepared and completed, you will have to appoint someone else to do the paperwork for you.

Usually, that will be a lawyer qualified and working in the foreign Country concerned.

Otherwise, it may be a friend of yours there , a relative, or a business partner .

Either way, you will have to execute a paper authorising that person to act on your behalf. “Execute” means in this context, sign it in the presence of a Notary Public .

Typical problems we come across on a regular basis include:-

The foreign party give a vague instruction to our client along the lines of “just sign a letter of authority”. Yeah, right.

If you go down this road, expect them to respond in due course along “Your letter of Authority is nearly right. But we can’t use it because ……..”

Really the best advice I can give is that if you are told from abroad to “just sign a short letter of authority” then you should say – Please draft the wording you need me to sign.

That way, your Turkish, Afghan, whatever agent must produce the form of authority which they require. And if they later say – “oh it’s not quite right” for any reason at all, then you are perfectly justified in saying – “Well, we signed the form you sent us, so if it’s not right, ok, but you will have to pay the wasted fees”.

There are many many rules and wrinkles which we in AtkinsonNotary are well aware of.

For Example, for Spain, sign each page. For Florida and California and India and Zimbabwe and South Africa, you need two witnesses as well as the Notary.

In Italy and South Africa, if you do not use black ink, your document will be rejected however correct it may otherwise be. Conversely, in Florida, you should use blue ink. Yes, I know.

And once the paperwork is correctly executed in England there is the question of legalisation.

For most countries of the world, a Foreign and Commonwealth Apostille is necessary. We can get this.

For many countries, the Apostille is not enough. For example, UAE will also require a consular stamp and currently a fee of £500.00 if there is a commercial aspect to the case.

There is increasingly a tendency for the Consular offices of different Countries to apply their own somewhat random rules.

China will need a certified copy of the passports of the signatories. And of the passport of a Company Director if any Company is the subject of the notarisations. It has recently decided to request two additional separate application forms to accompany each stamp application.

Bolivia needs every non-Spanish language document to be accompanied with a translation into Spanish, and the Consulate will charge for each. It is cheaper therefore to ensure that each Bolivian paper is written in two columns, one column being the Spanish text.

The Dominican Republic needs a Spanish translation or else the Consulate will prepare a translation and charge you for it.

Angola needs all of the above and will still reject the document if the translated languages are sewn into the document in the wrong order, – The Portuguese text must always appear first.

So there you are. It’s easy if you know what to do. [And we do] And it’s impenetrably difficult if you don’t.

What can I say? Come to AtkinsonNotary and we will sort your documents. First time, no hassle. Honestly, you will thank us for it. See the testimonials on the AtkinsonNotary website, and our Google reviews. Every one 5 star. [Tempting fate? I hope not].

Well if we don’t blow our own trumpet, who will?

So the song this week – In a Foreign Land.

As always, Please do contact me or Louise whenever you need Notarial certification or Legalisation for your Documents– at http://www.atkinsonnotary.com – or phone me on 0113 816 0116 (internationally 0044 113 8160116)

We Can Certify Company Papers.

We can certify your Company Papers.

As a Notary in England assisting Companies with interests abroad, I have a fund of cases which highlight the problems which can arise in certifications for use in foreign Countries.

L. P. Hartley said – “the past is a different country, they do things differently there”

Well AtkinsonNotary can certainly tell you, that a foreign Country is a foreign country, and Eee by gum they do things differently there.

Perhaps the biggest disconnection between the UK Company Culture and that of other countries, might be between us and former Eastern Bloc countries, in respect of the matter of Companies House recorded information.

In former Soviet Russia and its satellites, the State required to know and authorise everything. So, the State would be in a position at any time to say who were the authorised Directors of a Company.

And to say, whether the Company has a licence here and an accreditation there.

To Say, whether the Company has a recorded criminal conviction.

To say, whether or not the Company has paid all tax due and to issue a certificate that it has. 

To say, whether a company is insolvent.

The idea that this is possible remains the mind-set in these countries.

Contrast and compare. Some of the above can be easily ascertained from Companies House in England. But, much of it cannot.

For example the suggestion that the English tax office will issue a certificate that ABC Limited has paid all taxes due from it up to date – is a non-runner. Quite the opposite in fact, the HMRC reserve the right to investigate a Companies Tax affairs retrospectively after many years.

And yet, if you are putting in a tender for work in Poland, you will be asked to provide such unobtainable certification.

A second example. In many foreign States, application is made to the State for the right to become a Director. The State approved you, and you are appointed. So, the State will always know the names of the Directors of a Company.

In England, the Company decides who it will appoint as Director. And once it has done so, those persons are Directors. And then Companies House should be told. But if the Company Secretary takes ages to tell Companies House then it won’t know. But the Directors are still the Directors.

The situation therefore is that Companies House here in England is not the source of authority, but in effect is merely an office which records what it has been told. Re-active, not proactive.

Recently, Companies House has decided to discontinue revealing the information it has as to the holders of a Company’s shares. This is a problem when the bureaucrats of, say, Azerbaijan are demanding certification of the identities of the company’s shareholders and the number and value of shares held. Sometimes the only information available is to be found from Company returns which may be over a year old.

This is the kind of anomaly which can be warranted and explained and “made all right” by a thorough Notarial Certification. We are here to help.

At AtkinsonNotary we are subscribers to Companies House Direct which is a paid-for service, rather than the free Companies House website. The latter whilst increasingly reliable has in my experience occasionally revealed gaps in Company narrative. The paid service also enable instant ordering of certificates from Companies House when available.

In respect of Companies House certificates, I would seek to suggest to Company secretaries that when these are required to be obtained and Notarised, it will save you time and money if you ask me to Contact Companies House to obtain them direct.

It will save time because I can order them within minutes of your contact and receive them the following day.

It will save money because, having ordered the Certificate and received it direct from Companies House, there is no need for me to contact Companies House to ensure that the certificate received is genuine, as I would otherwise be required to do. [Not that I don’t trust you, mind!]

For wrestling with foreign Company requirements, and for documents for use around the world do contact me or Louise here at AtkinsonNotary E7 Joseph’s Well Leeds LS3 1AB, phone 0113 8160116 and email notary@atkinsonnotary.com or via the website http://www.atkinsonnotary.com

Holidays Abroad with your own Children. What Else Can Possibly Go Wrong?

Holidays Abroad with your own Children. What Else Can Possibly Go Wrong?

I have blogged before and no doubt will do again, to remind readers that if they travel as a single adult with a child, the border guards and airlines will investigate.

Child Kidnap is a real thing:  single adults with children stick out like sore thumbs as far as border guards are concerned and I have explained what you need to do to ensure that the journey can go ahead.

Any child kidnapper with brains therefore will travel with an adult accomplice. The border guards have brains too and understand this. So, any adults travelling with children whom they claim to be their own, will be required to prove it.

As I have blogged before, this means that you need to carry the children’s birth certificates so that you can prove the relationship.

It is better if you get the certificate/s notarised, but you may be ok if you don’t.

But what’s this? – link here – a family mother father and two kids, spend over £8000.00 for the proverbial “holiday of a lifetime” and remember to take the birth certificates. And they still can’t get in.

Yes, I know.

Because, what they took with them were genuine “Certificates of Birth”. Silly misguided folk that they were they thought that an English Certificate of Birth is a Birth Certificate. Rookie error or what.

No sir, a Certificate of Birth is not what the border guards want.

The South African website does make that clear. Or tries to: – it says in every case that the Birth Certificate must be the UBC – Unabridged Birth Certificate.

Because it is the the UBC which shows the information the borders agencies are looking for – Who are the parents?

Here is a Certificate of Birth © General Records Office  – Link Here –

No use at airports because the parents are not named. It is merely what it says it is, a Certificate of Birth of a child. Unfortunate really, that we use the label Birth Certificate for the document that is actually required.

Here is an image, of the correct form. https://goo.gl/Xb53Am  © General Records Office

It is properly called “A CERTIFIED COPY OF AN ENTRY PURSUANT TO THE BIRTHS AND DEATHS REGISTRATION ACT 1953. Well it’s a snappy title, I can’t think why no one calls them that.

My point is this – if a holiday costs £8000.00, why not get in touch with me for a hundred or so, to make sure you don’t waste the whole lot? I have a track record – I have prepared holiday packages of documentation regularly over the past several years – not one of my client has been denied their travel.

This client response is genuine:-

“Hello there, Last year at this time you did us a Consent of Travel document so that we could take our grandchildren on holiday. We will be taking them again this year and so will need the same sort of document again. Incidentally the Cruise line said that yours was the best documentation they had ever had and it made their job so much easier

“Janet Richardson.”

So there we are, pay £8000.00 for the safari, a few pounds for me, and the kids will get to see the elephants.

A song, – link here – and our usual reminder:-

For documents for use around the world do contact me or Louise here at AtkinsonNotary E7 Joseph’s Well Leeds LS3 1AB, phone 0113 8160116 and email notary@atkinsonnotary.com or via the website http://www.atkinsonnotary.com

 

More News – Travelling With Children.

Once more, travelling abroad with children.

Still more misunderstandings and mess-ups when children are travelling abroad.

Imagine that somehow, your young daughter has been taken abroad without your knowledge or agreement. Perhaps a relative you have fallen out with, is taking her to the Country where your divorced husband, her father, lives.

How grateful would you be, if an airport border guard or an airline employee decided that the absence of second adult, and/or the fact that the accompanying adult’s surname was different from the child’s, justified a detention whilst investigations were made?

Your child is returned to you and the kidnapper taken to court.

And the alternative in these cases can be a lifetime of torment for you. Look on the internet for examples – link here at random – to say nothing of the horror for the child, torn from her mother and taken to live in a foreign country with a father perhaps not seen for years.

They may not speak the new language, they will miss you, home, school and friends. Maybe this will continue for years, whilst you devote all of your time and money to fighting in a foreign Court system for the return of the children to you.

This will be your only priority. Work commitments and the opportunities for promotions and career development will become irrelevant to you. The lives of you and your child – changed for ever.

But yes, it is an airport problem and a hassle for the majority of us who are not in fact kidnapping babies but just trying to get on the plane.

Do we just accept it as one more inconvenience, and always remember to travel with our own and our children’s birth certificates, our marriage certificates if we are married, our divorce certificates and copy court orders if there are any, whenever we go abroad with the kids?

For the time being, yes exactly that – take all that paperwork is the only answer.

Just more stuff to do, just like all the rest of the border guard vigilance that inconveniences us all at airports, you know, having to take off our shoes, get searched, delayed, maybe taken at random to one side to be screened for traces of explosives on our hands and clothes. What a chore. Still, it’s a degree of magnitude preferable, to an explosion followed by death, yes?

It happened to an MP recently, Tulip Siddiq, who is suggesting that changes to passports are needed. – Link Here –

It used to be, years ago, that a parent’s British passport would be endorsed with the child’s details. That was fine, but hardly convenient if the children were travelling with Dad, whilst Mum was travelling elsewhere and the child was endorsed on Mother’s passport.

But what is wrong with Ms Siddiq’s idea that if children are to be given their own passports, then the children’s passports should show the names of the parents, or guardians? Seems workable?

In the meantime, what should be your reaction when you are delayed at the airport border check, whilst an official questions you as to the fact that you appear to be a lone adult, travelling with a child whose surname is different from your own? And maybe missing your connecting flight?

Well if the idea of giving a case of champagne is going a bit far, perhaps lifelong gratitude would not be misplaced?

A song –here-

And as ever, for documents for use around the world do contact me or Louise here at AtkinsonNotary E7 Joseph’s Well Leeds LS3 1AB, phone 0113 8160116 and email notary@atkinsonnotary.com or via the website http://www.atkinsonnotary.com

VAT. Don’t Go, It’s Interesting.

VAT. No, Don’t Stop Reading. It’s Interesting! Sort of.

The thing about VAT, as far as I can see, is that only those few people who say they understand it are really confused.

The rest of us are bang on. We don’t understand it, and there it is.

When we are buying stuff for ourselves, it’s not really a problem. We are charged a sum usually inclusive of VAT and we pay it and that’s that.

It’s harder when we buy for our business. Sometimes the Vat we pay can be reclaimed. We by and large leave that to accountants, because one thing that is easy to understand is that it’s complicated.

The hardest part comes when we are a VAT registered business and involved in sales – particularly sales of services.

Take at random, a Solicitor selling Conveyancing expertise. Vat Registered, so you probably issue an agreed quotation which includes the VAT upon it.

If the price of the house your client has bought is £1,000,000.00 they pay a hefty stamp duty land tax, but no VAT on that million. Unless, say, the house is sold on the basis of a planning user restricting occupation in winter, as on some holiday park sites.

Then VAT will be charged.

Ooops no, as you will all remember, that changed in 2015, when the relevant Tax tribunal decided that VAT would still be payable if the planning authority said the restriction was because the building was a holiday home, but the building would be exempt from VAT if the restriction was imposed for no stated reason at all.

Also some commercial buildings are bought and sold where the option to treat the building as VAT exempt has not been taken up. In that case, full Stamp Duty Land Tax is chargeable on top of the building price and by gosh, VAT is then chargeable upon that total. Yes sir, tax is charged on the tax.

So that’s clear then

For more information on the above, read it again. I’ve got nothing.

So what’s new for the solicitor this week in the wacky world of VAT?

One question which Solicitors thought had been resolved years ago, relates to the money they have to pay out to do the job. Obviously they have to pay for premises, computers, office cleaners etc, those are general overheads.

But also in order to do the job right, they have to pay out money specifically, in relation to the particular job for the particular client.

For example, the cost of the stamps on the letters they write in relation to that job. [Remember letters? In the post?] Also, fees they pay to the Land registry.

Now in those cases, if a pound is paid for a stamp, then the solicitors account should be charging the client a pound for the stamp, yes? Not a pound plus VAT equals One pound twenty pence? That seems straight forward and the same goes for Land Registry Fees.

One other thing the Solicitor must do is purchase a “Local Search”. These are not cheap. They are directed to Local Councils, to find out whether the house has the necessary permissions even to exist, Water search to see where the drains and pipes are and who is responsible if they go wrong, searches for listed buildings, National parks, forthcoming road schemes and lots more. Often the Solicitors will make an environmental search, to tell you how near you are to the local atomic waste silos. Or landfill sites anyway.

And it is settled, as the Law Society has confirmed to Solicitors, that the cost of obtaining the search can be passed on to the client and no VAT need be charged. Because the client could have purchased the searches themselves and brought them in to the Solicitor. So, the rationale is that the Solicitor is adding value to the transaction, by studying and interpreting the search result once they are on the desk, not by buying them for the client.

Well, that’s wrong. It used to be right but this week, it’s wrong. As I said, searches are not cheap and a firm of lawyers Brabners over three years has spent and charged clients roughly £340,000.00 to purchase searches.

Between them those client have paid to Brabners £340,000.00 to reimburse them. Brabners have not made a penny by buying the searches and the taxman has received nothing, and that is all correct, as the Law Society and every other solicitor supposed.

Until this Tribunal decision, that is. –Link Here – . Seems Brabners should have charged 20% on top of the price of each search and handed it over to the HMRC. £68,000.00. Bad news for Brabners.

But presumably, the HMR&C now will be looking at every firm of Solicitors in due course. How many of them will have charged VAT on the cost of the searches they have bought, what with the Law Society having told them that would be wrong?

So if you are not a solicitor, nor running a service business registered for VAT, I hope you have passed a pleasant few moments reading this and are glad you don’t have to cope with this sort of stuff on a daily basis or at all.

But if things are otherwise, then things are different. The Solicitors’ profession and the Law Society and their Accountants are all watching this case with interest – appeals will follow.

All a bit different these days, from Bob Dylan’s imagined world:-

© “My daddy he made whiskey, my granddaddy he did too
We ain’t paid no whiskey tax since 1792”

Here’s the song, Joan Baez in 1965 – Link Here –

And as ever, for documents for use around the world do contact me or Louise here at AtkinsonNotary E7 Joseph’s Well Leeds LS3 1AB, phone 0113 8160116 and email notary@atkinsonnotary.com or via the website http://www.atkinsonnotary.com

 

Urban Myth? Or Exploding Houses? Or Worse? The Internet Of Things. Scary Stuff.

Urban Myth? Or Exploding Houses? Or Worse? The Internet Of Things. Scary Stuff.

Does it appear to you that every new day seems to provide news of scary problems with technology?

So far as I can tell [from anecdotal evidence admittedly] the chief reason in England for the slow take-up of “smart” gadgets and particularly smart energy meters – see DT Link here –  is because folk believe rightly or perhaps rightly, that there will be no advantage for them over the traditional meter which needs to be read. Or worse, that the new kit will make mistakes.

When the new gadget is just a box linked to a telephone, who knows what information it is sending or with what accuracy?

But perhaps a better reason for a slow take-up, might be the warnings to be found everywhere you google it, that the things are easy pickings for hackers.

Exploding house anyone? –Link Here-  and – Link here –

Who is building these things anyway?

Do you suspect that the best hardware and software engineers perhaps prefer a career with Apple or Microsoft or Google, rather than British Gas?   Don’t sue me, it’s a joke.

But anyway, here’s a link to a lad of 13 who has hacked Microsoft and Google. –Link Here –  So if those two companies employ the finest minds in the World, and can get hacked, why would you fill your house with electronics that are less safe than unsafe computers? And if a 13 year old can hack in, imagine what a four year old can do.

Anyway, never mind that, this is an advisory [advisory? Is that a noun these days?] published by US certificators accredited by Homeland Security – Link Here – .

Yes, the plot of Homeland, Series One where the President’s heart pacemaker was stopped by his assassin using a mobile phone, seems to be a thing.

Happy Hallowe’en.

And as you know, our message to you is, for documents for use around the world do contact me or Louise Morley here at AtkinsonNotary E7 Joseph’s Well Leeds LS3 1AB, phone 0113 8160116 and email notary@atkinsonnotary.com or via the website http://www.atkinsonnotary.com