QUESTION: Dear Legal Wiz,
I sent a notarised power of attorney (POA) document to Jamaica, and my friend says it was rejected because I did’nt send a notarial certificate. I went to the bank and the notary public says her certificate is held at the corporate office, and there is no way she can send it to Jamaica. She recommended using her number to verify if she was still a valid notary. I called my friend and she says the Registration office is insisting on the notary certificate. I am clueless, and I really can’t find any other notary in my area. How can you assist?
RESPONSE: Dear Vincent Choo,
Its a requirement for most if not all entities now to submit a ‘notarial certificate’ along with the notarised document to be relied on.
In your case, your friend went to register a power of attorney (POA) document, and it was rejected by the Registrar General Department. You will need to therefore request / obtain a copy of the notarial certificate/ notary certificate/ certificate of notarial authority which speaks to the standing of the notary public who signed the document in question, at the time of his/her signing.
The notarial certificate must not be confused with the notary public’s certificate which is really his/her commission certificate which speaks to the appointment of the notary public question.
The certificate of notarial authority which is similar to the apostille certificate is commonly called notarial certificate or notary certificate. It is relied upon to verify that the notary public in good standing at the time of the notarial act performed, and such acts include as in your case the witnessing of a signature. This simply means that the certificate of notarial authority verifies that at the that at the time the notary public witnessed your signature (s)he was a duly commissioned notary public in that state.
To obtain this certificate proving notarial authority of the notary public, the government body which varies from state to state authorising the specific notary is usually contacted by the client. Notary public sometimes assist by applying on the client’sbehalf or giving instructions on how to do so.
Depending on the state, the government authority that commissioned the notary public can be either the Secretary of State, Governor, Lt. Governor, individual County Probate Judge, Clerk of Superior Court, Superior Court Assistant Judge, Attorney General, or the Department of Licensing. In the District of Columbia, it’s the Mayor.
In some states the document which was signed needs to be tendered to that body as a part of the process.
Here are the basic steps:
1 Contact may be made in person or by phone to the commissioning authority. The relevant office is the governmental official with authority over notaries public, and who grants certificates to and oversee the performance of the individuals to serve as notaries public.
2 A letter outlining the particular request for the certificate of notarial authority before submission by mail or in person must include :
– reason why the certificate of authority or Apostille is needed
– The original document bearing the notary’s completed notarial certificate (The signature and seal of the notary needs to be checked by the authority)
– The location where the document is needed (This will determine if an Apostille or certificate of notarial authority needs to be issued).
– A postage-paid, return envelope with either the address of the document custodian, or the address of the document’s final destination, .
3 Fees are applicable and vary by state
4 The Commissioning authority, provided everything is in order, will issue the certificate which can be collected directly or mailed to either the applicant or the country directly.
It is important to note that some foreign countries may further require federal authentication from the Department of State’s Authentication Office in Washington, D.C. The document custodian will need to submit the original, notarized document with its state certificate of authority, a letter stating why federal authentication is needed, and where the document is headed. The fee per document is US$7 is payable by personal check or money order to U.S. Department of State. Persons who pay in person can only use Visa or Mastercard accepted from walk-ins only.
NOTE: To obtain a copy of the notary certification, one may simply visit the state’s Internet website for an immediate download. However certified copies, upon payment, will be be mailed to you from the secretary of state’s office or picked up in person.
For certified copies of the certificate, you will need to pay an additional fee. A certified copy is one that the secretary of state’s office verifies is true and correct and provides a stamp and statement on the document to that affect.