Travel Related Notarizations

by Renee Radia / Jun 01, 2011 / 0 comments

Travel Related Notarizations
By Jeremy Belmont

Jeremy Belmont runs a notary blog and a notary directory called




People travel throughout the world, mostly without incident. However, the paperwork requirements can vary from country to country, and the rules keep changing too.  In many cases, you might need a document notarized to submit to an office in a foreign country.  Sometimes, it’s not so easy to know where to get the document notarized, what document, or how.  These questions are really not so hard if you ask the right person.

In what country do I get my document notarized?
If an office in a foreign country is requiring some paperwork to be notarized, you might not know what to get notarized, or where.  People ask me this type of question frequently, and my answer is the most professional in the book: Ask the individual who you are submitting the document to exactly how they want it notarized, and in what country or state.  Sometimes, they don't care where it's notarized, and other times they might be very picky.  You always have to ask, otherwise, you might have to do the whole procedure all over again.

What if I'm traveling and need to send a notarized document back to the USA?
Once again, ask the person who you are submitting the document to how they want it notarized and what they will accept.  Government agencies can be very picky, and big businesses might be picky too.  Legally, a notarization is just as good one place as the next, but it’s up to the document custodian or whoever is responsible for the documentation to decide.  You might need to wait until you come back to America to have the document notarized within the United States if that is what the person you are submitting it to wants.  On the other hand, if they will accept a document notarized in Indonesia while you are touring volcanoes, then you are in luck.  Just ask!

How do I get a document notarized in a foreign country?
It’s not that different than getting a document notarized in the United States. However, the office of Notary Public in America is a very modest position, while in other countries, the office is almost as high as an attorney.  Availability of notaries overseas might be harder to find, and the fees might be higher there than in America, where you pay 25 cents to $10 per notarized signature depending on the state.

Personal appearance
Generally speaking, the document signer has to appear before the notary in all cases to have his signature notarized or oath taken.  You can not be notarized in America without being in front of a notary in America.  Military base notarizations are the exception, and if you are not in the military, they might not be allowed to serve you.

Permission for minors to travel with an accompanying adult
I am not sure of what the current status of the law is, but in 2004 if a minor went traveling outside of the United States with someone other than their parent, they needed a notarized document to take to the airport to get on the plane.  I got calls at midnight to help desperate unprepared travelers on their trips to Mexico.  It was common for kids to travel with an uncle, aunt, grandfather, or close family friend.  I had a form that I created myself and took to the print shop to make a pad out of.  This form had the name of the child, parents, the adults who were traveling with the child, where they were going, when they were departing, when they were coming back, and room for signatures and thumbprints for all parties.  The form was so thorough, that everybody felt very confident and happy that they chose me to be their notary instead of some unprepared notary who didn't know what to do.  There is so much critical information necessary for this type of document, that a pre-canned form is ideal. That way you will not forget any of the essential components of the letter.  I used not only an inked notary seal, but an embosser that left a raised notary seal which is very impressive to many.  The guards at the airport and in Mexico were very happy with my comprehensive paperwork and nobody had any trouble.  If you hire a notary for this type of form, make sure you hire someone who knows this type of document well, and won't leave anything out.  Better yet, have your attorney draft a quick note if you can afford one!

Many people need an Apostille or Authentication when having a notarized document sent overseas. This documentation proves that the notary is legitimate and is done by each state's secretary of state or county clerk's office.  You should ask if you need an Apostille or Authentication if sending a notarized document overseas.  Remember -- just ask whomever you are submitting the documentation to exactly how they want it and get an answer in writing preferably!