Who Can Certify Documents for Banking? [Offshore Banking]

In this article, we’re sharing who can certify documents, including special attention to certifying documents for international bank account opening.

This is part of our free series on navigating the complexities of opening international and offshore accounts.

As such, the following article will be relevant whether you’re looking to certify documents in the United Kingdom, Australia, or anywhere in between.

That said, if you want the step-by-step directions to offshore bank account opening, you can access it now by clicking here.

Feel free to use the table of contents to jump ahead to the sections most relevant to you.

Table of Contents

  1. Who Can Certify Documents?
  2. Original Document vs Certified Document
  3. Certified Documents Needed to Open Bank Accounts
  4. Frequently Asked Questions
  5. Ready to Explore Your Options?

Who Can Certify Documents?

Who can certify documents will ultimately depend on the type of certification required and the country where the documents are being certified. For instance, in the United Kingdom, a wide range of professions can certify documents, from bank officials to doctors and dentists. That said, religious figures, post office employees, and even teachers can also certify documents.

However, if you are being asked to provide documents for a specific purpose (e.g. opening accounts with international financial institutions), it’s possible there are specific requirements your documents will need to meet. With this in mind, here are several common requirements you should confirm before obtaining your documents:

  • Are there specific requirements for who can certify the documents?
  • Should the document be certified within a specific time frame?
  • Should the document be issued within a specific time frame?
  • Does the document need to be notarized by a public notary?
  • Does the document require an apostille?

Of course, even when you’re told that there are no specific requirements for getting documents certified, there are different understandings of what a “certified document” is in different jurisdictions.

So, in most cases, it is best to get a document certified by one of the most frequently accepted professions. Here is a look at some of the most common professions that are accepted for document certification internationally.

  • Lawyer
  • Chartered accountant
  • Notary public
  • Bank representative

Sticking with our example of the United Kingdom above, here is a list of less common professionals who can certify documents in the UK.

  • Religious minister
  • Dentist
  • Doctor
  • School teacher
  • University lecturer

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Original Document vs Certified Document

The main difference between an original document and a certified document is that a certified document is usually a copy of the original. In other words, a certified copy is usually a photocopy or scan of the original document, along with written confirmation from an accepted professional stating that the copy is an accurate representation of the original document.

Certified Documents Needed to Open Bank Accounts

Certified documents are often (but not always) needed to open bank accounts. Ultimately, which (if any) documents need to be certified will depend on the bank, the jurisdiction, and where your documents are from.

For example, if an individual is looking to open an account in their home country (or country of residence) they are often not required to provide certified documents. However, if foreign documents are being used to complete account opening, it’s possible that the bank will ask for them to be certified.

When this happens, the following documents typically need to be certified to open bank accounts:

Certified Personal Documents to Open Bank Accounts

  • Government-issued identification (e.g. passport and driver’s license)
  • Proof of residency (e.g. residency card)
  • Proof of address (e.g. utility bill or bank statement)

Certified Business Documents to Open Bank Accounts

  • Certificate of incorporation
  • Certificate of good standing
  • Proof of address (e.g. utility bill or bank statement)

Again, not all (or any) of these documents will be requested. So, before getting documents certified, it’s important to communicate with the bank directly and confirm which documents they will need.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are three of the most common questions that we receive from people looking into who can certify documents. If you have further questions you would like answered, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us directly.

Who Can Legally Certify Documents in the UK?

In the UK, the professionals who can legally certify documents include professionals like chartered accountants, solicitors, notary publics, doctors, dentists, bank and building society representatives, and more. However, if you require certified documents for use outside of the UK, it’s possible that the requesting party may have their own requirements. So, it’s important to confirm who can certify documents for you with the requesting party before obtaining your documents.

Can the UK Post Office Certify Documents?

Yes, the UK post office can certify documents for individuals. However, depending on the specific documents you want to certify, there may be restrictions. In most cases, people use the post office to certify their UK passport, driver’s license, utility bill, and bank statement.

How Much Does a Solicitor Charge to Certify a Document?

The price that a solicitor charges to certify a document ultimately depends on the solicitor and their relationship with the client. In many cases, the solicitor may not charge anything while in other cases, they may charge a nominal fee. In the UK, this may be between GBP 35 to 75, depending on the document being certified. And, in other places, like the US you may be charged USD 25 to 50.

Ready to Explore Your Options?

If you would like assistance navigating your banking options at home or abroad, we can help.

You can access GlobalBanks IQ, our international banking intelligence platform, in just a few clicks. Unlock our bank database, individual bank profiles, account opening strategies and reports, banker scripts, and more.

But, if you want a 100% personalized account opening service that taps into our team’s expertise and provides direct banker introductions, you can get started with GlobalBanks Insider.

Of course, if you have any questions, please contact us directly.

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GlobalBanks Team
GlobalBanks Team

The GlobalBanks editorial team comprises a group of subject-matter experts from across the banking world, including former bankers, analysts, investors, and entrepreneurs. All have in-depth knowledge and experience in various aspects of international banking. In particular, they have expertise in banking for foreigners, non-residents, and both foreign and offshore companies.

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