There may be a time where you’ll need to find a notary public but you’re traveling abroad for vacation. Or maybe you’re a U.S. Citizen living in a foreign country as an ex-pat.
We have a few tips to keep in mind when you’ll need to find a notary public, even if you’re not on American soil.
Historically, American citizens abroad were required to find their local U.S. Embassy or Consulate in order to notarize a US-based form or document, since most establishments cannot legally notarize foreign documents. There, notarizing officers on duty at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate would handle your document.
In today’s digital age, that all changed. In 2011, the Commonwealth of Virginia became the first state to allow certified Virginia notaries to serve customers online, including those customers who are located overseas. An approved Virginia Electronic Notary can perform notarial acts online using audio/ video conferencing technology (similar to Facetime) to notarize your documents. These online notarizations are acceptable due to the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
To avoid having to find or drive to an embassy (or if one is simply not available near you), you now can connect with a live notary online using Notarize. All you need is an internet connection.
[bctt tweet="To avoid having to find or drive to an embassy, you can now connect with an online notary via video." username="@notarize"]
You can go to a notary at any U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By getting a notarization at an embassy or consulate, you’re required to make a personal appearance, meaning the person requesting the notarization must appear in-person. This isn’t always the most convenient route as some embassies have long wait times and making it to the embassy in-person isn’t always an easy task.
However, you can opt to go online in order to get your notarization. With services like Notarize, you can log on anytime to get your documents notarized online, quickly and securely, in under 10 minutes flat.
Here’s how Notarize works: You meet with an approved, electronic notary via video and audio (think: a more secure, proprietary FaceTime session) to verify your identity and notarize your document. Best of all, every notarized document is tamper-sealed with a digital audit trail, an added level of security that doesn’t transcend into the paper world.
After your document is notarized, some countries require that you get an authentication certification called an apostille. Countries that follow the Hague Apostille Convention use apostilles in order to verify authenticity of a notarized document. This ensures the document will be accepted for use in another country.
Globetrotters: now you’re fully equipped to find a notary public wherever you’re located in the world. And don’t forget our rule of thumb: be sure to check with the recipient to ensure your electronically notarized document is acceptable for its intended use.
What was your experience finding a notary public abroad? Share your experience by sending us a tweet @notarize.