The signature certification is the formality at the end of which an authority certifies the identity of the signatory. A notary can certify that it has seen the signatory sign the document and that it has verified the latter’s identity. However, the certification cannot be used to validate the content of the document, under any circumstances.

In order to proceed with a certification, the signatory must come to the office after having made an appointment and bring the document which needs to be certified, accompanied by a valid identity document (a photocopy of an identity document is not enough).

Most often, one requires a signature certification with a notary due to an international context. According to the international agreements concluded between France and the country of destination of the document, beyond the certification of the signature by a notary, the document may be subject to the apostille (which needs to be obtained from the Court of Appeal of Paris) or legalization (to be obtained from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the embassy of the country which is concerned).

The apostille, in terms of signature certification, is the formality which consists of affixing a stamp called an apostille to the act. This formality certifies the origin of the signature affixed by the notary but does not confirm the content of the deed.

Legalization is the formality by which the veracity of a signature established by a competent authority is attested, the quality in which the signatory acted and, when applicable, the identity of the seal or stamp with which this act is taken on.

Etude 352 can, at the request of a client, call on its usual courier to go to the Paris Court of Appeal and obtain the apostille.

With regard to legalization, the document must necessarily be written in French or, failing that, accompanied by a translation into French carried out by a sworn translator with the Paris Court of Appeal. This being said, the firm’s courier may also travel, at the client’s request, to carry out the legalization formality.

The cost of a signature certification, with or without apostille/legalization, is indicated to the customer after sending the document which needs to be signed and the country that requires the signature certification.