How do I get an international document notarized?
How do I get a foreign language document notarized?
This is a tricky point in Notary law. The answer is that it depends on what state you are living in. California requires the Notary to be able to communicate directly with the signer which means you need to know the same language well enough to communicate. However, California doesn’t require the Notary to understand the document. Other states might require the Notary to understand the entire document.
The Main Function is to Identify the Signer
The main function of a Notary Public is not to understand the document, but make sure the intended signer is mentioned in the document and is the person actually signing the document. The Notary uses identification documents to identify the signer. Normally a drivers license or passport is used to identify the signer.
Find Out Your State’s Rules
Most states allow notarizing foreign language documents if the Notary doesn’t know the particular foreign language. To find out your state’s rules for whether or not the Notary has to understand the document, you can visit your state’s notary division’s website. Many state notary websites omit critical information about many Notary procedures. So, if your state doesn’t specifically say that you can’t notarize a foreign language document, then it is up to your interpretation. However, the certificate for the notarization (which could be a loose form stapled to the document) must be in English and using wording identical or similar in content to your state’s official notary wording.
Direct Communication with the Signer
Some states allow the use of interpreters during a notarization for the Notary to communicate with the signer. It is not safe to do this as the interpreter could make a mistake or deliberately mislead the signer which could lead to trouble down the road. Even if your state doesn’t require direct communication with the signer, I recommended just to be on the safe side.
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Notarizing your foreign language document! (Ken’s guide)
10 tight points on loose certificates
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