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What Is a Notary?

I recently applied for my working holiday visa in Australia for it to be approved hours later. My girlfriend who is a nurse, however, had a lot of work to do before she could have her application processed. Once she’d gathered all of her relevant identification documents and pages of work history at hospitals in London and Cambridge, she had to get the documents signed by a ‘notary’.

A notary is defined as a person authorised to perform certain legal formalities, especially to draw up or certify contracts, deeds, and other documents for use in other jurisdictions. We headed to local solicitors to see if they were a notary and they weren’t. It was a bit confusing and nobody we spoke to knew what one was but we eventually found a list online and there are only a small number of notaries in each town and city. Some lawyer firms have notaries and others do not, but they basically have to be accredited to sign and certify the documents.

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