What is the difference between notarised and certified?
These two terms are likely to cause confusion, especially people who are unfamiliar with the process of legalisation.
Terms like ‘attestation’ and ‘legalisation’ are often used interchangeably.
But can you also use ‘notarised’ and ‘certified’ interchangeably?
No. these two require a clear distinction as using them interchangeably could easily lead to documents being rejected by authorities in the destination country.
What does a certified copy mean?
A certified copy means that the document being certified is a true copy of the original, and the person attesting it has indeed seen the original copy.
Only a registered solicitor is allowed to certify original documents.
When they attach the certification to the photocopy, it means that they saw the original and that the signed copy is a true representation of the original.
Please note that this does not verify the details in the document but is instead a declaration by the solicitor that they have seen the original document.
The solicitor adds their stamp, signature, and date. The idea of getting a certified copy works well for individuals who would wish to only use the copy of an original, rather than carrying the original document around with them.
The FCDO and embassies usually accept certified copies of education documents.
However, the Chinese embassy does not accept more than one-page documents until it has been bound by a notary, as described below.
What is a notarised copy?
A notarised copy is more detailed than a certified copy of the original.
First of all, the notarised copy can only be produced by a notary public after verifying the information contained within the document.
They then include a notarial cover sheet that details their findings and states the authenticity of the contents in the document.
This option is more detailed and secure. The process is often needed in cases where the legitimacy of the contents in a document is of high priority.
Generally, notarisation takes longer compared to the certification of the original. Therefore, it is also more expensive.
Countries such as the UAE no longer accept documents with notarial cover sheets as qualified documents for legalisation.
Additionally, China only accepts more than one-page documents that have been certified and bound using a ribbon by a notary public.
Which should you opt for?
When wondering which process to put your documents through, the best thing would be to check with whoever you are presenting the documents to.
Ensure that you are aware of their requirements before choosing one of the options. In most cases, for legalisation, you will require a certified copy.