Apostille vs. Notary – What is the Difference?

Apostille vs. Notary – What is the Difference?

When it comes to validating and authenticating legal documents, two common terms often come up:ApostilleandNotary. While these terms are frequently used interchangeably, they actually have distinct differences in their purpose and function. 

Understanding the dissimilarities between an apostille and a notary is crucial for anyone navigating the complex world of legal documentation. In this blog, we will explore the disparities between these two processes, providing clarity on when each is required and how they differ in certifying the legitimacy of important paperwork.

What is Apostille?

An Apostille is an official certificate issued by the government to authenticate the validity of a document for use in foreign countries. It serves as proof that a document, such as a birth certificate, marriage license, or diploma, is genuine and has been duly legalized by the issuing authority. In the Philippines, apostille certification is governed by the Apostille Convention, an international treaty signed by over 120 countries to simplify the process of document verification and ensure their acceptance in foreign nations. This mechanism replaces the traditional method of consular legalization and streamlines the authentication process by providing a standardized certificate valid across all member states.

What is the Purpose of Apostille? 

The purpose of an apostille is to simplify and expedite the process of verifying documents for cross-border recognition. Before its introduction, individuals or businesses had to undergo complicated procedures involving consular or embassy legalization to certify their documents’ authenticity. This often resulted in time-consuming delays and additional costs.

With an apostille attached to their documents, individuals or organizations can have their legal papers recognized instantly in any country that is part of the Apostille Convention.

What is Notary?

A notary is a public officer authorized to perform various legal acts, particularly those related to the authentication and certification of documents. In the Philippines, notaries are appointed by the government after passing rigorous examinations conducted by the Supreme Court. They are granted official powers that include administering oaths, taking affidavits or depositions, acknowledging documents as genuine acts or deeds, and providing certifications for true copies of original records. By affixing their official seal on these documents, notaries authenticate them as valid evidence in court proceedings or transactions with government agencies.

What is the Purpose of the Notary? 

The primary purpose of a notary is to ensure the validity and reliability of important papers, such as contracts, deeds, affidavits, and other legal instruments. Notaries play a crucial role in upholding the rule of law by acting as impartial witnesses and preventing fraud or forgery.

Key Differences Between Apostille and Notary

Firstly, a Notary is an individual appointed by the state government who verifies signatures on legal documents. Their role is to ensure that all parties signing a document are doing so willingly and with full understanding of its contents. Notaries also check the identification of signers and may administer oaths or affirmations if required. Notarization of private documents also converts it into a public document,making that document admissible in evidence without further proof of its authenticity (G.R. No. 225696 – ATTY. BERNARDO T. CONSTANTINO, PETITIONER, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, RESPONDENT).

On the other hand, an Apostille is a certification attached to documents intended for use in another country that has signed the Hague Convention treaty. It verifies the authenticity of the document’s origin and ensures it will be recognized as valid in countries recognizing this international agreement.

Generally for private documents becoming a public document thru notarization, and thereafter such document shall be used abroad, the document would have to be both 1. notarized and 2. Apostilled. For documents that are already issued by the government such as PSA, NBI certificates, if these will be used abroad, these documents will only need to be apostilled and notarization is no longer needed as these documents are already public documents.

Choosing the right authentication method for your important documents can be a daunting task. With various options available, it is crucial to understand the differences between two commonly used methods: notary and apostille. 

When deciding between these authentication methods, it is essential to consider your specific needs and circumstances.


Need further information and assistance in Apostille? Talk to our team at FILEDOCSPHIL. Call us today at (+632) 8478 5826 or send an email to info@filedocsphil.com for more information. 

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