Notary Publics are persons authorized under the law to carry out various functions, most commonly such as the administration of oaths and affirmations, and certification of copies of documents, especially where these documents are to be used outside of Singapore.
Notaries are authorised to certify that a document is valid and authentic. For example, you may need a Notary Public to certify that your academic transcript that you want to submit to an overseas university, or your birth certificate or marriage certificate is genuine. You may even need a Notary Public to certify your identity and issue a certificate of true likeness compared to your identity documents.
You may need the services of a Notary Public to confirm documents that give you the authority to do something, for example, a power of attorney authorising you to act on behalf of someone else in certain circumstances. This type of document must be signed in the presence of the Notary Public so that they can witness the signature and confirm or certify that it was properly executed (signed). The Notary Public will also confirm that the person signing the document understands the content and implications of signing the document.
You may have heard the term “attestation” when referring to notarial services? It simply means that a third party, the Notary Public, witnesses the parties to a transaction sign a document and sometimes verifies the content of the document. Attestation is often required when executing documents for property deals and high-value transactions, or contracts for business dealings overseas.
Documents needed for submission in Singapore only, generally don’t require notarial execution and the necessary certification can be done by a commissioner of oaths.
In this article, we will focus on notarial services for documents to be submitted overseas and explain the costs of such services.
Please note that all fees mentioned in this article are in Singapore Dollars.
Notary Public Fees in Singapore – Simplified Version
In Singapore, notarial services fees are prescribed by law and listed in the first schedule of the Notaries Public rules. Notaries Public are, however, permitted to charge additional, reasonable fees for related acts not prescribed in the rules. They may, for instance, charge for time needed to properly understand the documents to be notarised, or translation services, and travel time, etc.
Foreign government agencies usually require notarisation. Individuals or companies needing to submit documents to foreign government entities often have no choice but to engage the services of a Notary Public. Certain documents will only be accepted overseas if they have an official notarial seal.
Notarial certificate fees
Since 15 February 2017, notaries are required to issue a notarial certificate (see more below) for every document that they execute.
Once the document is executed, the Notary Public must issue the notarial certificate and secure it to the document with a ribbon and a seal issued by the Singapore Academy of Law. The certificate is a declaration by the Notary Public that the document was properly executed.
The fee for the notarial certificate is $75 for one person (as mentioned under compulsory fees), and $20 for each additional party to the same certificate. For example, if three parties had to sign the contract, the fee for the certificate will be $75 plus $40.
From 1 October 2019, all notarised documents must also be authenticated by the Singapore Academy of Law (SAL). Authentication costs $85.60. The Notary Public will collect this fee before issuing the notarial certificate.
The total of the compulsory fee is thus $160.0 ($75 + $85.60).
The balance of the fees depends on the nature of the required notarial services.
Notarial execution fees
Various services fall in the category of notarial “execution”; it includes witnessing, certifying true copies, verifying content or identity, and attesting. It sounds very complicated, but generally speaking, “execution” refers to the signing of documents in accordance with legal requirements. The law sometimes prescribes how many people must sign, or the presence of witnesses and so on. The Notary Public must ensure and witness that all the legal requirements are complied with.
Witnessing signatures and the execution of documents are some of the most common notarial services in Singapore.
The prescribed fee for notarial execution by one person to a document is $40; and
- $20 for a second party to the same document;
- $10 for each additional party to the document;
- If there are attachments to the document, the fee is an additional $10 per attachment or marked exhibit.
The above is in addition to the $160.60 compulsory fees.
Fees for documents to be executed by a company
Companies often require notarial services to conclude a business deal with an overseas company.
- Signing transfer documents and deeds to acquire or sell property abroad;
- Signing incorporation documents when buying a new company;
- Resolutions to authorise an individual to act on behalf of the company;
- Executing documents for overseas litigation involving a company or property that they own or manage.
Where a company needs notarial execution of a document, the fee is $150, which includes the certificate and exhibits.
Fees for certifying copies as true
Certifying copies as true is the most common notarial service. In many instances, you will be required to “prove” that copies of an original document are true copies. This is especially true when submitting documents overseas. Within Singapore, certification by a commissioner of oaths is generally sufficient.
When applying to study abroad, for example, the foreign academic institution will want confirmation that a copy of your current academic transcript is genuine. The same applies to copies of your birth certificate, marriage certificate or bank statements when applying for visas or passports, for example, or when you own property or a business overseas and you need to present copies of certain documents. You might want to sell your company incorporated overseas to someone living in another country, or you may want to buy a holiday home in Malaysia. In all these examples, the person in the other country will want to know that the relevant Singapore documentation is real, and any copies are true copies of the original.
A Notary Public is authorised to certify that a document is a true copy of an original document. This makes a “true copy” different from a mere photocopy. A true copy is authenticated by a Notary Public.
The Notary Public will inspect the original and the copies, and if satisfied, they will certify the copies as true copies with an official stamp. Some foreign entities require the Notary Public to affix a seal on the document.
You need to check the requirements of your foreign entity before arriving at the Notary Public.
The fees for examining and certifying true copies (where a seal is required) is $10 for the first page of the document; and
- $2 for each subsequent page;
- Where no seal is required, the fee is $5 for the first page and $1 for each subsequent page;
- $75 where a notarial certificate and seal is required;
- In some instances, an additional special notarial certificate may be required at an additional cost of $75.
Fees for statutory declarations
A statutory declaration is a statement to declare that something is true. Sometimes a person is required by law to make a statutory declaration where no other evidence is available about a fact or situation. It can be used in a personal or business context.
Often, it is used to simply declare personal facts, such as your marital status or nationality where you don’t have other proof available. Other examples include:
- Stating reasons why you want to change your name;
- Reporting the loss of your passport;
- Obtaining a subsidy for childcare fees when a separated parent has no financial support;
- Declaring the absence of debts for maintenance payments when planning to remarry.
In a business context, declarations are used to confirm the content of certain business documents, the status of board members, or the status of goods subject to import-export control, for example. Statutory declarations are required when filing trademarks or providing evidence of using a trademark in Singapore.
In recent times, business owners who have rented premises during the current Covid-19 pandemic may apply for rental relief under the Covid-19 rental relief framework if they meet the eligibility requirements. Such applicants will have to make a statutory declaration demonstrating that they meet the eligibility criteria for relief.
The fees for statutory declaration for one party is $40;
- $20 for a second party to the same declaration; and
- $10 for each additional party to the same declaration;
- $10 for each exhibit marked or attached to the declaration.
Examples of notarial fee calculation
Example 1: If you need copies of three pages of your academic transcript certified as true copies, the fee will be the following:
- $10 to certify page 1;
- $2 for page 2;
- $2 for page 3;
- $75 for the notarial certificate;
- $85.60 for authentication of the true copies by SAL.
Example 2: Witnessing the execution of a power of attorney:
- $40 for execution by one person;
- $75 for issuing a notarial certificate;
- $85.60 for SAL authentication.
Some countries require further legalisation before they will accept documents to be used for official purposes in that country. For example, documents used as evidence in foreign court procedures or immigration applications must be legalised. To legalise a document it must be notarised, authenticated by the SAL, then be authenticated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and then by the relevant embassy.
Besides the cost mentioned above for notarising and authentication by the SAL, there are additional costs for authentication by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ($10 per page) and administrative fees as determined by the relevant foreign mission. (The Malaysian High Commission fee, for example, is S$5 and US$50 at the US Embassy)
Many lawyers in Singapore offer both Notary Public and commissioner of oaths services. The services you’ll need will generally depend on whether your documents are to be submitted in Singapore or overseas. Following the correct procedure is critical, failure to do so may result in the rejection of your documents, causing delays in your transactions or applications.