What is a Notary Public

What is a Notary Public?

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Most Hong Kong business owners would eventually find themselves in a situation where they need documents certified in the ordinary course of conducting business – in many circumstances these documents will also need to be notarised. In these situations, it’s commonly asked what the difference is between certification and notarisation and most importantly, what is a notary public?


Being aware of what notarisation is and what a notary public is can help business owners avoid any unexpected issues of non-compliance! In this article, we look to explore the topic of notary public and why they are important to Hong Kong businesses.


What You Will Learn:

1. What’s the difference between certification and notarisation?

2. What is a Notary Public?

3. What does a Notary Public do?

4. Why Do You Need to Notarize Documents?

5. How Can FastLane Help?

1. What’s the Difference Between Certification and Notarisation?

Both a Certified True Copy of a document and a Notarised Copy are indications that a document in question is genuine and legal. However, the primary difference between the two is that a Certified True Copy is only recognised inside the country that the documents have been certified in. In contrast, Notarised documents are recognised internationally.

2. What is a Notary Public?

A Notary Public is a legal profession in Hong Kong. A Hong Kong Notary Public will have been qualified by the Notaries Public Examination held by Hong Kong Society of Notaries in addition to their appointment to the Hong Kong High Court. Individuals who hold this role act to serve the public by preparing and providing authentication services for the execution of documents for use and acceptance overseas (except Mainland China).


In their role, the signature and official seal of a Notary Public will help authenticate any documents. As such, because this position obviously holds great influence, the signature and official seal of a Hong Kong Notary Public is widely recognised internationally.

3. What Does a Notary Public Do?

First and foremost, a Notary Public will help prepare, execute and verify documents for their use abroad. However, the breakdown of the services that a Hong Kong Notary Public can perform are as follows:

  • Help save documents which originate in Hong Kong for use in Mainland China
  • A Notary Public can also provide services related to notarisation and are commonly engaged to:
  1. Prepare a Power of Attorney for client’s use overseas
  2. Verify the copy of a document is a Certified True Copy
  3. Witness signatures made in person on documents
  4. Witness the Declaration as Commissioner for Oaths
  5. Verify the identity of individuals appearing before them during the notarisation process
  6. Authenticate documents for the use of:
  7. Purchase or sale of land or property overseas
  8. Authenticate personal documents for immigration, marriage, adoption or succession
  9. Authenticate commercial and business documents
  10. A secure record of transaction, document or event


4. Why Do You Need to Notarize Documents?

The purpose of notarizing documents is to deter fraud and ensure trust in the document itself as many documents will require notarisation to be legally accepted. In other words, failing to notarise a document may result in the document being deemed invalid and therefore, unable to be used – for business, such an instance may prove costly.

5. How Can FastLane Help?

Given the significance surrounding certified true copies and their use, failing to have documents that meet the required standard for business purposes can inhibit a businesses ability to operate and grow.


Because many Hong Kong business owners operate their companies from outside the city, it may not always be clear what is expected of them when handling their documents. As such, those who are unfamiliar with their local obligations are recommended to engage a professional service provider.


As the FastLane Group is licensed as a Trust Corporate Services Provider (TCSP License No. TC000758), we are qualified to assist and advise companies on how best to approach the topic of certified true copies and can refer you to our professional network of legal partners to assist in notarisation needs.


Whether you have enquiries about this process or are seeking assistance, please contact the FastLane Group for assistance!