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30 November 2022

Notarisation and certification: what are the differences?

People often get the two confused, but knowing the difference is important. We will tell you what the differences are.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

certification vs notarisation by a notary solicitor

We are often asked what the difference is between certification and notarisation – and why a notary public’s services are more expensive than a solicitor. Here is everything you need to know about these two different services.

It is a common requirement of governments across the world to request that the documents you present to them have been officially checked or validated. There are, though, a number of ways in which a document can be affirmed.

Two of the most frequently used methods of document verification are certification and notarisation. Our clients often get confused between the two and are unsure about which method is best for them, so we have broken down certification vs notarisation for you here.

Generally though, if you want to use your document in the UK, it will require certification. If it is going to be used abroad, it will require notarisation.


In order for a document to be certified, it must be seen by a solicitor. Once the solicitor has seen the document, they will be able to provide you with a stamped copy of the document, which is known as a certified copy. This copy is issued with a written statement that confirms the document has been seen.

Importantly in these cases, a solicitor is unable to verify the information contained within the document. A certification is simply an official declaration that the solicitor has seen the original document.

Certified copies are useful if you want to have your document legalised whilst keeping your original clean. They are also generally quicker than obtaining a notarised copy.


Unlike a certification, the notarisation of a document can only be done by a registered Notary Public. A Notary Public personally verifies the information contained within the document and declares the authenticity of its contents.

This process is generally longer and more costly than obtaining a certified copy from a solicitor.

Your identity must be verified with your photographic ID and proof of address. The document must be stamped by the notary public to affirm its validity. Verifying your ID is, in this case, a legal requirement.

Which should you choose between certification and notarisation?

It is always best to check your specific requirements before opting to go with either a certification or notarisation.

Certified copies are usually accepted for use in the United Kingdom. Therefore, depending on your requirements, a solicitor may be sufficient.

However, you will need a notary public if your document is destined for use abroad. Some countries may also require an apostille in addition to the notarisation of your document.

Notarisation is generally the most widely accepted form of document verification and is recognised across the globe. If you are unsure about which type is best suited for your needs, we can talk you through the steps in a free consultation.

Our services

As a registered Notary Public, we are capable of both notarisation and certification; we can help you figure out which option best suits you.

Once your documents have been notarised, they may need to be given an apostille or go through embassy legalisation if you plan on using them abroad.

Our Notary Public of England and Wales, Nathan Woodcock, is highly experienced in assisting with your notary needs. He has helped thousands of clients, and he can help you too.

Contact us if you need any notary assistance at 0800 049 2471 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

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