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14 February 2023

A guide to international powers of attorney: how our notaries can assist you

Are you based in England or Wales, but need to deal with business matters abroad? Then you may need an international power of attorney. Read on to find out more, and find our link to download a template of the document.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

foreign powers of attorney

A power of attorney is a legal document you sign that authorises another person (or possibly multiple people) to act on your behalf. This is so they can manage your financial and/or business affairs. It might also be handed to a lawyer. The most prevalent reasons to appoint powers of attorney are for financial or medical reasons. 

It is normal practice to authorise special powers of attorney abroad by signing a power of attorney document. If the document is being signed for use abroad, it must be notarised by a Notary Public in order to be accepted. This is a service that we offer.

People who cannot sign essential documents in person, should delegate international powers of attorney to another individual. The authorised person is known as an attorney. This individual can only act on your behalf in accordance with the terms set out in the power of attorney.

When selling or buying property outside of the UK, people frequently award a power of attorney to someone in the nation where the property is. For example, someone buying or selling a property in Spain would likely appoint someone living in Spain as their attorney. This makes it easier to handle the selling or purchasing process. This is because they will not have to fly over to sign contracts or resolve issues.

How should international powers of attorney be formatted?

It is critical that the document is properly produced in accordance with your instructions and local legislation. To be effective, the power of attorney must be drafted in line with the local laws of the attorney’s nation.

For example, if you reside in the United Kingdom but own an apartment in China and want to nominate someone in that country to manage it, your international power of attorney paperwork must be structured to reflect Chinese laws rather than British laws.

Typically, power of attorney documents are drafted by attorneys in the nation where the document is to be utilised. Once completed, it is forwarded to be signed in front of a Notary Public.

How should a power of attorney be signed?

The manner in which the paper must be signed may differ from nation to nation. It may be necessary to sign it merely in front of a notary. It may also be necessary to have one or more witnesses present in addition to the notary. In certain nations, the power of attorney must be in a certain format.

Do powers of attorney need to be translated?

For some countries, like Romania, the power of attorney document has to be translated into the official language of that country. This is the only way for it to be valid. Then, it needs to be certified in the presence of a notary. 

Additionally, in Romania, Spain, and other countries, documents need to be translated by a certified Sworn Translator for them to be recognised


In some cases, an apostille from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) is necessary for the document to be recognised. 

Apostilles are accepted in 125 countries who are signatories of the Apostille Convention, also known as the Hague Convention. Some countries, such as the UAE, are not part of this treaty. They instead use the longer legalisation process. 

If you are unsure whether the country you want to use your power of attorney in requires an apostille, or requires legalisation, then we can help you. 

You can read more about apostilles on our useful guide to what apostilles are and how they are used.

How we can help you

Our experienced Notary Public, Nathan Woodcock, has years of experience in helping clients with their notarial needs. If you need an international power of attorney notarised, then he can help you.

You can arrange an appointment at one of our offices in Manchester, London, or Sheffield. Alternatively, you can use our convenient mobile notary service to book an appointment at a suitable time and place, including at your home, your office, or a café.

Also, we can help you with legalisation and getting an apostille for your document from the FCDO. We offer a standard apostille service that takes 20 to 25 days, and a fast-track apostille services which takes 5 to 7 days. 

Get in touch with us today if you need our notary’s expert assistance. 

Download FREE checklist here


If you have any questions about our notary, apostille or consular services,
contact Woodcock Notary Public today.

Call us on 0800 049 2471 (free to call) or email

If you have any questions about our notary, apostille or consular services, contact Woodcock Notary Public today.

Call us on 0800 049 2471 (free to call) or email