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Can A Document Signed Overseas Be Notarized?

NNA Hotline Tip logo

If documents generated in New Jersey are emailed to a co-worker in Germany for signature, can the New Jersey Notary then notarize those documents? D.H., New Jersey

To notarize a document, the signer must appear physically before the Notary. If you are in New Jersey and your co-worker is in Germany, it would not be legal for you to notarize the signature.

One option is for the co-worker to travel to an American Consulate in Germany to get the document notarized. If that is not possible, a local Notary in Germany could notarize the document. 

Hotline answers are based on the laws in the state where the question originated and may not reflect the laws of other states. If in doubt, always refer to your own state statutes. – The Editors

Confronted with a tricky notarization? Unsure how to proceed? NNA members have unlimited access to our expertly trained NNA Hotline counselors to help you with all of your notarial questions. Call 1-888-876-0827, Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST; Saturday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST.

37 Comments

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sandjef_03@att.net

28 Sep 2015

Hello: I notarized a document for a signer from Belize. The signer now lives in United States but had to send some documents back to Belize. She advised she had to take the document to the US Consulate to record and forward. At the very bottom of the document it stated Notary, a signature line and small space for the seal. I advised I would have to attach the Acknowledgement for the State of California with the new code. I attached the Acknowledgement and completed it. On the document, I indicated the new acknowledgement is attached, and stated the code. The client advised me that the U.S. Consulate would not accept an attachment. If I had knowledge of this could I have printed out the new acknowledgement on the back of the document. (This is my after thought)? The signer stated she was going to send the document to Belize to see if they would accept the document. If this does not work how can I assist her if at all? I await your response. Thank you. Sandra

National Notary Association

29 Sep 2015

Hello. It is the signer's responsibility to contact the consulates involved and ask for instructions--you should not attempt to advise the signer what notarization is needed or how the document should be prepared, as this may be considered the unauthorized practice of law.

olivia

05 Oct 2015

My father retired in Mexico. I have documents for him to sign and he is not close to a consulate nor could he really travel. If he signs the documents in from of a notary from Mexico, are the documents be valid in the US?

National Notary Association

05 Oct 2015

Hello Olivia. That depends on the preferences of the receiving agency. You should contact the agency that will be receiving the documents and ask them if a notarization by a Notary in Mexico is acceptable to them.

Carmen Urias

28 Oct 2015

I'm just curious about how a notary would be commissioned at a U.S. Consulate Office. Do they use their commission from whichever state and county they're from? If so, would all the rules that apply in the commissioning state still apply? I'm commissioned in California (Orange County) and, again, am just curious.

National Notary Association

28 Oct 2015

Hello. No, consular officer are commissioned and regulated under different rules than state-commissioned Notaries. For more information, please see this page: http://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal-considerations/judicial/authentication-of-documents/notarial-and-authentication-services-consular-officers.html

Susanne David-Mondani

28 Oct 2015

I received a document from Germany ,where I grew up and was born from a bank in regards to an uncle dying & i was left some money . I send my brother a notarized POA, but they also send me bankpapers they want notarized , can my daughter notarize thoses????She is a Notary, so am I but I can't of course even though she can't read it ,since it is in German????

National Notary Association

29 Oct 2015

Hello Susanne. The rules for notarizing for a close relative vary depending on state. To help us answer your question, can you please tell us what state you and your daughter are commissioned in?

Bobby

29 Oct 2015

In the state of Michigan can a notary public act as a closing agent at a real estate closing

National Notary Association

04 Nov 2015

Hello. The Michigan Secretary of State's office posted the following statement on their website: (http://www.michigan.gov/sos/0,4670,7-127-1638_8736-85788--,00.html) "Notary signing agents are employed by private companies, and are not certified or qualified by the State of Michigan beyond the normal notary application process. A notary signing agent has no special powers, and must adhere to Michigan notary law in all transactions. It is illegal for a notary or a notary signing agent to give legal advice, explain legal documents or aid customer(s) in completing legal or immigration forms. Otherwise, unauthorized practice of law charges may result."

Maria

30 Oct 2015

Since the person needs to be present in order to Notarize a document, I just have a question out of curiosity. If the person appears via Skype where you can see that person and their ID, is that considered a valid appearance in person?

National Notary Association

30 Oct 2015

Hello. No. Only two states (Virginia and Montana) allow signers to appear remotely using video technology under certain circumstances. In all other states, the signer must physically appear in person before the Notary.

Stacy Wagner

17 Feb 2017

A similar question. If a person is in Iraq how do they get something notarized. The person is in the middle of desert and I don't think a Consulate is close. Suggestions please?

Richard C. Baca

24 Jun 2017

The sellers of a house in California reside in Mexico. Will a Mexican Notario Publico's seal be considered valid certification of their signatures?

National Notary Associaton

29 Jun 2017

Hello. You would have to contact the agency the signatures are being submitted to to find out if they will accept this option.

Michaela

20 Aug 2017

I own a property together with my mother. The property and I are in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. My mother is in Hamburg, Germany. She's supposed to sign a warranty deed and have it notarized to transfer the property to me , so I can refinance. I just found out that there's no longer an American Consulate in Hamburg. My mother is 86 and wouldn't be able to travel to Berlin to go to the consulate there. Is there some way to notarize paperwork in hamburg, Germany, so that it's accepted as a notarization in the U.S. ?

National Notary Association

22 Aug 2017

Hello. You may wish to contact the agency that will receive the documents and ask if they will accept a notarization by a German Notary. If so, your mother could contact a local Notary and ask them to perform the notarization.

HUMPHREY PACHECKER

19 Oct 2017

Hi NNA, this is a two sides question. If a retain a Florida Notary Certified Signing Agent to certified a signature of the property owner who is in Venezuela, this Signing Agent will fly to Venezuela, but the property is in Florida and the owner agrees to sign the document, it’s valid this notarization? The other question is similar but inverted, that is the property and the owner/seller is in Venezuela and the buyer is in Florida, the buyer would like to fly with the Signing Agent to Venezuela to notarized the owner signature, both cases have a document Quit Claim Deed, it’s valid this? Thank you, HHP

National Notary Association

19 Oct 2017

Hello. Neither of these options are permitted for Florida Notaries. A Florida Notary cannot notarize documents in another country, only within the state of Florida.

Ingrid Thiermann

28 Nov 2017

Can a German Public Notary affix a Hague Apostille Certificate on an US document to be signed by a German citizen?

National Notary Association

28 Nov 2017

Hello. We apologize, but because a Notary in Germany has different duties and follows different laws than a Notary in the United States, we do not have the answer to that question. You may wish to contact a German embassy or consulate to ask if they can answer any questions about authentication procedures for a German notarization on a document sent between the United States and Germany.

Rachel

31 Jan 2018

Hello, if the person signing the document is based in UK, and the original signed document is mailed to the company’s US office in California. How can California notary notarize that document?

National Notary Association

01 Feb 2018

Hello. As stated in the Hotline Tip, the signer must appear physically before the Notary. If the Notary and the document are in California and the signer is in the UK, it would not be legal to notarize the signature. One possible option would be for the signer in the UK to visit a US consulate or embassy to request a consular officer to notarize the document.

CY

20 Mar 2018

My wife and I are signing divorce documents in Germany but file in OH state. Can we just notarize (maybe plus apostille) the documents by a German notary or I have to go to US consulate? Thanks.

National Notary Association

20 Mar 2018

Hello. We're sorry, but any legal questions about German divorce procedures would need to be answered by an attorney familiar with the appropriate divorce laws.

Sonia

30 May 2018

own a property together with my wife. The property and I are in Orlando, Florida USA. My wife move to Brazil. She's supposed to sign a quit claim deed and have it notarized to transfer the property to me, because we are getting divorce and she does not want anything to do with the property. I just found out that there's no longer an American Consulate where she lives.. My wife is to far away to the closer Consulate in Brazil which is 9 hours in car and wouldn't be able to travel to go to the consulate there. Is there some way to notarize paperwork in Brazil, so that it's accepted as a notarization in the U.S.

National Notary Association

31 May 2018

Hello. You would need to speak with a qualified attorney to ask what would be an acceptable alternative to having a consular officer notarize your documents.

Shar-Anm Callahan

13 Nov 2018

We are preparing documents to establish a probate proceeding for a Florida resident. The proposed personal representative and the beneficiaries named in the decedent's will all reside in Germany, and there will be documents that each of them must sign before a notary. I am not sure whether the U.S. Embassy will be easily accessible to them. Will a German notary suffice?

National Notary Association

14 Nov 2018

Hello. We're sorry, but that is a question that would need to be answered by the agency you are submitting the documents to.

Janet reinhardt

28 Jan 2019

How can a person living in England who has been mentioned in a will by a deceased New Yorker have their signature notarized besides going to the US consolet.

National Notary Association

28 Jan 2019

ased on what you’ve described, we think it would be best if you contacted our Hotline team by phone and provided them with a more detailed description of the situation. The NNA Hotline: 1-888-876-0827 Mon – Fri: 5:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (PT) Saturday: 5:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (PT) If you’re not an NNA Member or Hotline Subscriber, they will provide you with a one-time courtesy call.

Jose

07 Mar 2019

I'm buying a house in Mexico. Does a notarized contract in the United states valid in Mexico?

National Notary Association

11 Mar 2019

Hello. We're sorry, but that is a legal question that would need to be answered by a qualified attorney.

Barbara Staudt

21 May 2019

Say a person lives in England but started a Legal Case in the State of New Jersey before having to back to England due to his visa being up. His attorney needs him to sign a settlement document and have it notarized. If a Notary in the State of New Jersey watches the person sign the document via skype or other social media - would it be OK for the Notary here to notarize a New Jersey State document.

National Notary Association

28 May 2019

Hello. No, notarization via Skype is not permitted in New Jersey.

Regina Portela

03 Oct 2019

Does Venezuela have notaries or attorneys that can act in the capacity of an official notary public. I have a client in Venezuela and the Consultae office for US is closed. Can her attorney notarize a Deed for a US property

National Notary Association

04 Oct 2019

Hello. We're sorry, but we don't have information available for Venezuela. Your client would have to contact a local attorney to ask if they can perform the service she requires.

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