What does it mean to have a document notarized in Nigeria?
A notarized document is one that has been verified by a notary public. A member of the notary public is an official who verifies the identities of participants signing a document, witnesses the signatures, and seals the document with a stamp. Primary, a notary is meant to ensure that all signatures on a document are legitimate. A notary also confirms the genuineness of a document.
How to Notarize Your Document in Nigeria
It is not out of place for foreign embassies and consulates to request that documents are to be authenticated/legalized before they are approved.
Documents that can be notarized
All legal documents can be notarized including documents issued by local government councils, State and Federal Government Ministries. These include marriage certificates, birth certificates, educational certificates, police character certificates, etc. All these are expected to pass through the authentication and legalization process via a notary public.
Requirements for documents to be used internationally:
- All documents must be notarized by a Notary public
- Authenticated at Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Legalized at the foreign country’s embassy
Who is a Notary
Notarization of a document in Nigeria can only be done by a Notary Public. A Notary Public is a public official, usually a lawyer, authorized to perform acts in legal affairs such as witnessing participants signing a document, verifying and authenticating such documents.
What does it mean not to have a document notarized?
In most parts of the world, a document may only be accepted internationally if it has been certified or authenticated by a Notary Public.
In order for a document to be recognized internationally, it must be notarized. This signifies that the signature(s) on the document is legitimate. Important agreements should also be notarized. This article provides you with information on how to get your documents notarized in Nigeria.
What you need in order to notarize a document
The procedure to notarize a document in Nigeria requires that a person seeking to notarize a document to submit the relevant document that requires notarization to a Notary Public.
- Official Identity verification: When you want to notarize a document, the notary public requires identification from those signing the document. He or she must also record details about the documents each individual provides as a means of identification.
- Willing signers: Part of the functions of a notary is to look out for the willingness of the participants in signing the document. That is, notaries are to look out for signs of coercion. This is to ensure that every individual signing the document(s) do this of their own free will and are not forced to do so.
- Capable of sound decisions: A notary is meant to ensure that individuals signing a document have a proper understanding of the implications of the conditions listed in the document. A notary should look out for the physical as well as the emotional state of the individual signing a document. If an individual is intoxicated, under medication, or unable to understand what’s going on for any reason, the notary should not notarize the document.
- A notary should refuse to certify a signature if there are any potential problems with the signer.
Requirements for Authorization of documents:
Original documents to be authenticated: When notarizing a document, the original documents are required
Identity verification: You are required to bring along means of identification so the notary can verify that you really are who you say you are. Official means of identification such as driver’s license, passport, or other government-issued ID are good enough, However, requirements for means of identification vary from state to state. If the notary is not sure that you are who you say you are, he or she can refuse to notarize your document.
Sign in the presence of the notary: When you want to have a document notarized, be sure to bring an unsigned document to the notary. Do not sign the document ahead of time. Often times, it is required that the notary watches you sign.
Bring along one photocopy of the complete documents to be authenticated. Photocopy must include the pages authenticated by relevant authorities and the page notarized by a Notary Public.
Cost of Notarizing a Document in Nigeria
Fees: The cost of notarization depends on where you go to get legal documents notarized. There is no fixed cost for notarizing a document in Nigeria. The cost depends on the Notary public officer and the number of documents to be notarized. If you need to notarize a document in Nigeria, visit a law firm to make inquiries and discuss the cost. It is reported that most notaries charge as little as N10,000 while some charge as high as N25, 000 or more for certain types of documents.
Who can act as a Notary Public in Nigeria
A practicing lawyer who has been appointed as a Notary Public by the Federal Government of Nigeria can act notarize a document in Nigeria.
Some would ask if it is extremely important you notarize a document in Nigeria. Below are the benefits of notarizing a document:
A notarized document verifies that signatures and copies of the document are true and genuine.
Notarization of documents helps to avoid frauds and forgery of legal documents
A notarized document is an evidence to the court of law that a document is legitimate and not fabricated.
Functions of a Notary
Preparing and authenticating legal documents
Witnessing and authenticating the signing of documents
Administering oaths and affirmation
Acknowledgment of deeds and contracts
Performing other legal duties in accordance with these roles
Although it is not compulsory for all documents to be notarized, in some cases, it is mandatory. When a person refuses to notarize a document when it is required, the genuineness of the person will be questioned. Such a document might also not be accepted for any official purpose or in the court of law if such is tendered as an exhibit. When a document is required to be used for any official purpose outside Nigeria, it must be authenticated by the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.