A document that is notarized is a one that has been verified by the notary public. When you have the intent to notarize your document in Nigeria, you have to get a member of the notary public involved. He or she, would be responsible for keeping a record of the identities of the participants signing the document. He goes further to witness signatures and seals the document with a stamp. They go as far as ensuring that the document is genuine and authentic. Without further ado, let’s look at how to notarize a document in Nigeria.
Why You Should Notarize Documents
Foreign bodies, embassies and consulates always demand that documents should be notarized before they are approved. Notarizing your document is a way of authenticating or legalizing a document so that it can be used for appropriate bureaucratic indulgences.
Kinds of Documents To Notarize
All legally bound documents can be notarized. We talking of documents issued by federal and state ministries, local government councils, etc. Some of this documents can range from birth certificates, educational certificates to police character certificates, marriage certificates, etc. These documents, require legalization and authorization by the notary public.
Getting your documents of choice notarized or authorized can be time-consuming and stressful. In the subsequent paragraphs, I would be explaining the main processes involved and the important thing to note before you proceed with document authentication/notarization. It would be noteworthy to say that authorization of documents in Nigeria takes place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Abuja.
How To Notarize A Document In Nigeria
Below are steps in notarizing or authorizing a document in Nigeria today:
- This first step involves taking the document to be notarized to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abuja. At the Legal Services Division (LSD) of the Ministry, you will fill authentication forms given to you accurately.
- Get the appropriate price tag of the documents you want to authenticate. They are usually priced per page, afterwards head to a bank to generate a REMITA payment to the appropriate government-owned account.
- When you are done with the payments, return back to the ministry and give them the proof of payment, then you obtain the acknowledgement receipt given to you by the ministry.
- The last step is for you to check back for the authenticated document.
While we can’t give quality guarantee that the document authentication would be finished at the supposed date, it is important to exercise patience and who knows, endure some repeated visits to the legal services division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Also, take note that the time frame for the authentication of your submitted documents depends on the document type. Some documents require for certain, follow up actions, while others don’t.
Cost Of Notarizing A Document In Nigeria
There is no stipulated or fixed amount of money to pay to notarize a document in Nigeria. Most times, Notary Public officers charge from N15,000 and above depending on the number of documents to be notarized plus other factors can play a major role in how much fee one can be charged. Note that authentication must be done at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abuja
Now, let us delve into a review of Notarization procedures for commonly handled documents by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Commonly Handled Documents By The Ministry Of Foreign Affairs Abuja
Birth Certificate or Attestation of Birth
Kindly note that if you were born outside Nigeria, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs cannot authenticate your birth certificate. For those born in Nigeria, your certificate would be authenticated when it is ratified by the NPC (National Population Council). It can also be authenticated if you go to the court and swear an affidavit or attest to the document.
As for birth certificates issued outside the country, especially for individuals born abroad, Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs can’t authenticate it.
Marriage Certificate, Divorce Certificate, and Single Status Affidavit
Authentication of your Marriage certificate depends on whether the marriage was duly contracted, and that the certificate was issued by a court or registry.
Divorce certificate authentication, on the other hand, can turn out be a very rigorous process at times. It can also be time-consuming at times. The ministry would also try to ensure that the certificate is authentic and that the divorce proceedings were contracted by a competent registry or court.
After the Ministry affirms that you deposed a legal affidavit that affirms your claim of singlehood, they would authenticate your Single Status
Police Character Certificate
In other countries abroad, the Police Character Certificate is also known as “Certificate of Good Standing”. This is a certificate that you are free from any form of criminal records. Its also affirms that you are not dealing with any recent criminal investigation in Nigeria. This document makes you appear clean in issues relating to crime in Nigeria.
The Police Character Certificate is a two-page document. It consists of the main certificate itself, and the second page that carries your fingerprints in front with a photograph at the back.
Nigerian International Passport Data Page
Once the Ministry confirms that your passport number rhymes with an authentic Nigerian passport, they would authenticate, or in other words, notarize your Nigerian International Passport Data Page. This would be done in line with the embassies requirements.
Authentication of Credentials and Academic Documents (Degree Certificate, Transcripts, WAEC, NECO, Etc.)
You must, first of all, certify your academic documents at the Ministry of education before going to the ministry of Foreign affairs for authentication.
The main job of the ministry of education in this scenario is to determine the credibility of the issued document. These documents might be your Degree certificate, WAEC, NECO, first school leaving certificate and so on and so forth.
The procedure for authentication follows a page by page basis. They are also priced in that manner.
Adding to some of the common documents mentioned above, there are countless other documents that need to be notarized. All this depend on what you want to use it for in your destination country or even at home here in Nigeria. Some of these additional documents that may require authentication include the following:
- Certificate of Incorporation
- notarized contracts
- Letters of Authorization
- Sponsorship Letters
- Bank Statements
- Declaration of Assets and Income