Notarial Services

Limited notary services are available by appointment only at the U.S. Embassy in Manila and the U.S. Consular Agency in Cebu.  Appointments will remain limited as we continue to maintain social distancing among customers and staff during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

If you need a document notarized urgently, including the “Affidavit of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage,” you may want to consider one of the options listed below, as we expect appointment availability to remain limited.

Remote Online Notarization (United States):  This method of notarization currently is permitted in some form in 28 of the 50 states.  The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac have issued guidance to lenders and other firms to consider accepting Remote Online Notarizations during the COVID-19 crisis. Some states currently notarize documents electronically such as Virginia, Florida, and Texas.  Refer to your specific State Notary Handbook for more information. State Department Forms such as DS-3053 (Statement of Consent for the Issuance of a Passport to a Child under the Age of 16) which have been notarized electronically is acceptable provided the notarization was completed in accordance with the policies of the state that commissioned the notary public.

Remote Online Notarization (Philippines):  The Philippine Supreme Court also is allowing the notarization of documents via videoconference in cases where the notary public holds office in an area under community quarantine.  Please visit the Philippine Supreme Court website or contact the Integrated Bar of the Philippines for more information and for a list of local lawyers who are providing this service.

Apostille:   An apostille is a certificate that authenticates the origin of a public document.  Philippine authentications are accepted and recognized for use in the United States in compliance with the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents (Hague Apostille Convention).  Documents that carry a Hague apostille* are entitled to recognition in any other convention country without further authentication.  The United States and the Philippines are both parties to this convention.  U.S. federal courts and state authorities should accept documents with the Hague apostille.  For private transactions, please confirm with the other party first to make sure they will accept foreign authentications.

*An apostille is a certificate that authenticates the origin of a public document.

Philippine public documents, such as National Bureau of Investigation clearances, birth certificates, and marriage certificates, among others, can be used abroad once authenticated with an apostille from the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

Notarization under the Philippine system is a three-step process:

Step 1:  Sign the document in front of a notary public.

Step 2:  Obtain a Certificate of Authority for a Notarial Act (CANA) signed by an Executive Judge/Vice-Executive Judge/or any other office authorized as signatories for notary services; this designation is issued by the Regional Trial Court.  Contact the Office of the Court Administrator to determine who may sign a CANA in your region.

Step 3:  Next, visit the Philippine DFA website and follow the instructions to have a Hague apostille affixed to your document.

Keep in mind that if your document is written in a language other than English, you may need to have it translated by a certified/sworn translator.

Notarization at the U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consular Agency:  Before booking an appointment, please consult the information below about the types of notary services U.S. embassies typically can provide.  To make an appointment at the U.S. Embassy in Manila, please click here.  To schedule an appointment with the U.S. Consular Agency in Cebu, please send an e-mail to ACSInfoCebu@state.gov.  Write “Notarial Service” in the subject line of your email.

U.S. law precludes the provision of notarial services in certain cases:

We cannot authenticate nor certify public documents issued in the United States such as birth, residency, marriage, divorce, and death certificates, commercial records, driver’s license, and other credentials.  The U.S. Embassy/Consular Agency has no record of the official seals and signatures of these offices, and therefore, cannot attest whether the documents are authentic.  Such documents must be authenticated in the United States for use overseas.  For additional details, please consult the Office of Authentication.

We cannot issue a “Certificate of Legal Capacity to Marry.”  U.S. consular officers are not able to certify that a private U.S. citizen is free to marry.  See Notarial Acts We Can Provide below under “affidavit” for more information.

We cannot authenticate Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) documents.  Such documents require an apostille from the Philippine DFA.

We cannot authenticate U.S.-issued credentials, diplomas, transcripts or degrees.  Contact the U.S. educational institution which issued the document for assistance.  For further information see Authentication of American Academic Credentials for Use Abroad.

We cannot authenticate U.S. apostilles.  Information on apostilles can be found on the Philippine DFA’s website.

Signature or Medallion Guarantees:  A Medallion Signature Guarantee is not a notarial service, but rather a special procedure related to securities which can only be performed by an authorized representative of a financial institution participating in a medallion program approved by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

We cannot authenticate U.S. passport pages containing visa stamps.  Consular staff have no way of certifying the authenticity of entry and exit stamps in a passport.  However, we may accept an affidavit in which the bearer swears/affirms the veracity of the passport page contents.  If submitting a U.S. passport in conjunction with an application for Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA), please present the original passport during your interview.  Please refer to “Affidavit” below for more information.

We will refuse to notarize documents when (1) the host country does not authorize the performance of the service, (2) the document will be used in transactions that may be prohibited by U.S. law, or (3) the officer believes that the document will be used for a purpose that is unlawful, improper, or inimical to the best interests of the United States.

U.S. consular officers may provide specific notarial services authorized by relevant U.S. laws and Department of State policies for all U.S. citizens and to any person regardless of nationality.  Most documents being notarized are typically required for use within the jurisdiction of the United States.

Acknowledgment:  To “acknowledge” is to admit, affirm, or declare; to recognize one’s acts, assuming obligation or incurring responsibility.  For example, if you sign a deed before a notarizing officer, you acknowledge your signature.  We can notarize only the signatures of those who are present to sign in front of the notarizing officer.  If you are signing on behalf of a corporation or organization, you are required to provide proof that you are authorized to sign on behalf of the corporation or organization.

Affidavit:  A written or printed declaration or statement of facts, made voluntarily, and confirmed by the oath or affirmation of the person making it, taken before an officer having authority to administer such an oath.  The Embassy/Consular Agency assumes no responsibility for the veracity of the representations that appear in the affidavit.

If you wish to complete an affidavit that you are free to marry, you must first consult the local civil registry in the area where you intend to marry regarding the information that must be included in your affidavit.  An “Affidavit in Lieu of a Certificate of Legal Capacity to Marry” generally must contain a sworn statement in which the U.S. citizen attests they are free to marry as well as information regarding any prior marriage(s), and a copy of the evidence of U.S. citizenship presented to the notarizing agent.  Click here for a sample blank affidavit.  We cannot provide this form to you or print a copy for you at the Embassy/Consular Agency; you must have all the documents required for your notary service with you at the time of your appointment.

See Getting Married in the Philippines for more information.  To obtain a copy of a U.S. divorce decree, consult U.S. Vital Records.

Power of Attorney:  A power of attorney allows you to designate someone to take legal actions on your behalf, such as authorizing someone to buy or sell property in the United States under your name while you are in the Philippines.  We cannot advise you on the specific language or content of a power of attorney, so you may wish to consult your lawyer or other appropriate advisor before making an appointment.

Notarization of Department of State forms:

DS-3053 form (Statement of Consent for Issuance of a Passport to a Child under the Age of 16):  This form is required when a parent will not be present during the submission of a passport application of a minor under 16 years old.  This may also be used to authorize someone else to apply on behalf of the parent(s).  Please bring a valid photo I.D. such as a passport (along with a photocopy) when having this form notarized.  If both parents will be present during the passport appointment, there is no need for this form.  Please refer to our Renewal of Passport webpage for more information.

DS-2029 form (Application of Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States of America) and / or DS-5507 form (Affidavit of Physical Presence or Residence, Parentage and Support):  These forms are required when a U.S. citizen parent will not be present during the submission of an application for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) on behalf of a child born in the .  Please bring a valid photo I.D. such as a passport (along with a photocopy) when having this form notarized.  If the U.S. citizen parent will be present during the CRBA appointment there is no need to have this form notarized.