Notary Public & China Appointed Attesting Officer

Hong Kong is an international city, providing a bridge between East and West, and its inhabitants and resident companies operate in many parts of the world. This gives rise to a great need for authentication of documents for use outside Hong Kong, including in the mainland of the PRC.

Our firm has 4 notaries public who deal with documents for international use outside of the PRC and 3 China Appointed Attesting Officers who deal with documents for use in the PRC. This means that we can usually provide these services on short notice, together with the provision of Apostilles and, if necessary, legalization at the various overseas Consulates present in Hong Kong.

Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”)

In general, if the documents are required to be used in Mainland China, they are likely required to be attested by a China Appointed Attesting Officer. If on the other hand, the documents are required to be used in places other than Mainland China, then they would be required to be notarized by a Notary Public.

It means when a Notary Public certifies the authenticity of certain documents or witnesses a person’s signature on a document, and then signs and affixes his seal on that document.

Power of Attorney; Company documents like Certificate of Incorporation, Business Registration Certificate, Annual Return, Articles of Association; Board Resolutions; Passport, Identity Card, and other identity documents; Birth Certificate and Marriage Certificate; Affidavit, Affirmation and Declaration etc.

An apostille is issued by the High Court of the Hong Kong SAR to verify the identity, signature and seal of a Notary Public. Some countries or places where the documents are to be used require the documents to be notarized by a Notary Public and then further authenticated by way of an Apostille. These countries or places are normally signatories to the Hague Apostille Convention.

For countries who are not signatories to the Hague Apostille Convention, they may require a document notarized by a Notary Public to be further legalized by the Embassy or Consulate of that country located in Hong Kong before the document may be used in that country. Legalization can be a complicated process. Sometimes pre-approval of the documents is necessary and sometimes translation of the documents to the official language of the country where the document is to be used is required.

You should enquire the user of the documents if a Notarial Certificate is required.

You should bring along the originals of the documents which are required to be notarized. When a Notary Public is required to witness your signature, you should bring along your original identity document with photo, for example passport or identity card. If you are signing on behalf of a company, then you should bring along authorization letter or board resolution etc as proof of your authority to sign on behalf of the company.

Notarization: Same day, with or without notarial certificate

Apostille: 2 to 3 business days

Legalization: 1 week or more, depending on the requirements of the Embassy/ Consulate

It is a process where a China Appointed Attesting Officer attests and certifies acts, matters and documents of legal significance occurring in or emanating from Hong Kong and such attested documents are for use in Mainland China. The attested documents must be sent to the “China Legal Services (H.K.) Limited” for “Sealing and Transfer Delivery” to ensure the attested documents are legally valid under the laws of PRC.

The Attesting Officer must ensure that the attested documents do not violate Hong Kong and PRC law. In addition, the Attesting Officer must personally verify the authenticity and legality of the relevant documents.

When a Hong Kong resident intends to inherit (or not to inherit) certain estate located in the Mainland PRC; When a Hong Kong resident intends to sell a property located in Mainland China; Power of Attorney.

When a Hong Kong company intends to establish a Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise (“WFOE”) in Mainland China; When there are changes in the major personnel of the WFOE; Power of Attorney.

Declaration; Certification and witnessing of execution of legal documents; Certification of original and duplicate documents; Certification of legal facts including company particulars and resolutions of directors and/or shareholders of companies ; Certification of family relationship etc.

For commercial matters, it would generally take at least 5 business days after receipt of all relevant documents; and for personal matters, it would generally take at least 3 business days after receipt of all relevant documents.


The FAQs in this website are provided for general information purposes. The answers do not take into account your particular circumstances and do not constitute advice from us. The answers should not be regarded as a substitute for professional legal advice. You should seek independent legal advice before taking action on any matters to which the answers may be relevant, or if you have any doubt about how the law applies to you.

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