Daily, individuals encounter circumstances that require legally confirming words spoken words or documented words. It could be for legal proceedings, educational or financial purposes, or sending documents to foreign countries. Therefore, knowing the appropriate way to confirm your words legally is germane. It includes getting a notarized statement, a statement sworn under oath, document authentication, and legalization.
Read through to know how.
- Notarized Statement
Notarizing your documents is one of the ways to confirm your words to anyone legally. It involves getting your document to a notary public (a licensed public official commissioned by the state government to witness the signing and authenticate signatures) who verifies your identity by asking you to show a means of identification, such as your driver’s license. Then permits you to sign your document and attaches his signature and seal to authenticate your signature.
Do not attempt to sign the document before seeing the notary public. Common places where you can notarize your documents include banks, the United States Postal Services, credit unions, and the court. Notary services might be free at designated places such as the bank, but they might require a fee at other places.
Without giving a proper definition of affidavit, it might be hard to understand its purpose.
An affidavit is a legal document. It’s a sworn statement done voluntarily by an individual without coercion, put in writing, and used usually during legal proceedings. The oath is taken in the presence of an officer backed by law to administer an oath. When an individual uses an affidavit, it means the individual is attesting that all the words within a particular document are correct. Therefore, judges or entities that need to use the information within the document can believe such document.
A person who takes the oath to create an affidavit is called an affiant. When making an affidavit, the affiant must have a sound mind, and there is no age limit. The affiant must have a sound mind as any form of falsehood in any information provided might result in losing a lawsuit or facing perjury charges.
The purpose of an affidavit is to formally legitimize your words. These documents are vital during, but not limited to, dispute settlement, when a witness to a case is unavoidably absent to make a testimony, and during visa immigration process.
It is important to note that if the sworn statement is not witnessed and signed, it remains a sworn declaration, not an affidavit. A sworn declaration, according to Wikipedia, is a statement that recites facts pertinent to legal proceedings but is not witnessed and signed by a licensed official. Instead, the person making this declaration appends their signature on a separate endorsement paragraph at the end of the document and states that he is making the declaration under penalty of perjury.
An affidavit is a notarized statement or a notarized affidavit when presented to the notary public and the notary signs and affixes a seal to the document. A notarized statement could be any document you want to ensure the claim is legally confirmed. Thus, once you present it to the notary public and the notary process is carried out, it becomes a notary statement, and you can submit it to anyone, whether a law enforcement agency or private entity. However, an Affidavit is a sworn statement that a person generates to protect or verify an action or an individual, especially for a legal proceeding.
All words backed up legally, coupled with the parties involved, are bound to obey the rule of law, check out this Legal Guide.
- Document Authentication and Legalization
There are instances when you need to authenticate your documents by verifying, certifying, or attaching a state seal. Also, the receiving party might need proof of authenticity for the signature of the licensed public official who certified or issued the document. Documents authentication and legalization are usually required when an individual is traveling or sending documents to a foreign country.
Before this time, the process of authentication and legalization was cumbersome. However, on the 5th of October 1961, the Apostille convention replaced the traditional authentication and legalization process. Thus, Apostille makes authentication and legalization simplified. Also, an Apostille certificate nullifies the need for consular legalization in some countries, and it is widely accepted in over 100 countries (members of the Hague convention) globally.
The legalizing process of a document originating from the U.S to a non-member of the Hague Convention is long and depend on whether you are legalizing public or private statements.
To authenticate or legalize a public document, follow the following steps;
- Check if you are sending the document to a member of the Hague Apostille Convention. If yes, obtain certified copies, with apostille affixed from the Secretary of State or a similar registered issuing entity. But, if it is not a member of the Hague Apostille Convention, go through the remaining steps.
- Legalize your document by obtaining certified copies with authentication affixed from the Secretary of State or a similar registered entity. Depending on the consular policy, you can legalize your document at the D.C Embassy (by authenticating your document at the U.S State Department and legalizing it at the Embassy) or a local consulate. For Federal Agency documents, obtain a certified document from the appropriate federal agency and legalize at the D.C Embassy if the receiving country is not a member of the Hague convention.
The process differs for a Private or non-public filed document such as a contract document.
The authentication and legalization process requires the following.
- Notarized the document
- If the receiving country is a member of the Hague Apostille Convention, let the Secretary of State or a Country Clerk perform notary authentication. Then the secretary of the State affixes Apostille. However, if it is a non-member of the Hague Apostille Convention, do the following.
- Do notary authentications by the Country Clerk, then let the secretary of State authenticate the country clerk.
- Legalize your document at the D.C embassy or a local consulate.
Confirm the words on your document legally through any of the above methods. It makes anyone trust your words or any detail found on your documents. Hence, your documents are accepted anywhere worldwide as valid statements.
Speaks from heart, always too passionate and driven by emotions. Spins the words with kindness & sharpness, intriguing your ever-inscrutable minds.