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Ever wondered what a Notary Public is?​

Who is a Notary Public?

A Notary Public is appointed by the Board of Commissioners for Oaths and Notaries Public (The Singapore Academy of Law delegated this power of appointment to them).

The guideline is for a Notary Public to have a minimum of 15 years in active legal practice and be no lesser than 40 years of age. Upon being certified as a Notary Public, the term lasts for a period of one (1) year and which is renewable yearly.

The Notary Public is an independent party that provides the service of certifying, witnessing, or authenticating documents.

What does the Notary Public do?

A Notary Public notarises documents for individuals or entities for overseas use. So, a Notary Public cannot perform these duties for documents to be used locally. For local documentation, usually a Commissioner for Oaths or an Advocate or Solicitor of Singapore would suffice.

What sort of documents does the Notary Public notarise?

Typically, a Notary Public notarises on the following documents to be used or produced overseas:

  1. Power of Attorney
  2. Affidavits
  3. Statutory declarations
  4. Documents that need to be witnessed
  5. Certifying true of copies made from originals seen
  6. Others

 Notary Public fees

The law prescribes fixed fees for notarial services in Singapore. These may be found in the First Schedule to the Notaries Public Rules.

Do I need to appear before a Notary Public?

You certainly need to appear before a Notary Public if the document needs to be signed by you in the presence of the Notary Public as a witness. In such a case, you would need to bring along your identification document and the name in the document that you are signing on must be the same as that in your identity document.

However, if it is to certify copies of documents, you would need to bring along the originals. For this, you need not attend. However, you would need to ensure that the originals are produced and shown to the Notary Public. The Notary Public will otherwise not be able to certify the document being a true copy of the original.

Locating a Notary Public

There is a quota for the appointment of Notary Public per law firm, depending on the size of the law firm. Having said that, a Notary Public could act on his/her own without the need to be part of a law firm.

The quota to have the number of Notary Public per law firm is as below. The larger the law firm, the more Notary Public are allowed. However, law firms may not opt for the maximum number of notaries as it may not be cost effective. It is also always best to locate a Notary Public most conveniently located to you and who is willing to waive any travel fee to the Singapore Academy of Law for compulsory authentication.

Size of firm

Number of Notary Public per firm

1 to 5 lawyers

1 notary

6 to 10 lawyers

1-2 notary (s)

11 to 50 lawyers

1-3 notary (s)

50 to 80 lawyers

1-4 notary (s)

81 to 100 lawyers

1-5 notary (s)

101 to 150 lawyers

1-6 notary (s)

151 to 200 lawyers

1-8 notary (s)

201 to 250 lawyers

1-10 notary (s)

Compulsory authentication by the Singapore Academy of Law

From 1 October 2019, all documents that require notarisation will have to be authenticated by the Singapore Academy of Law (SAL). The purpose of this procedure was to ‘strengthen document integrity and prevent cases of fraudulent notarial and authentication certificates’ (as quoted by SAL). From 1 October 2019, members of the public and recipients of notarised documents can log on to to verify the authenticity of notarial certificates.

This authentication service costs S$85.60 (incl. GST) per notarial certificate, a sum payable to SAL and these charges are separate from fees payable to the Notary Public for the notarisation of documents.