What is Notary And Apostille in Singapore

  • Post category:Singapore

Notary and apostille in Singapore involve two very different processes and characteristics. Many documents intended for business matters will require either a notary verification or apostilles, depending on the circumstance. 

Notarized documents are a process of verifying the content of the document; meanwhile, an apostille is a process that authenticates the signature and stamp of the authority who signed or issued the documents.

The notary process is usually quicker, provided you have the required documents and scheduled an appointment with the notary public. The apostille of documents involves the official governmental agency, such as the state of secretaries or relevant ministries and courts. In contrast, notarization of a document can be done by any business entity that provides the notarization services. 

Relin Consultants’ guide below will delve deeper into distinguishing the contrast between an apostille and a notary for individuals and business owners in the business world, wondering what exactly is the differences. 



Notarisation involves having the documents notarized by the notary public. The notarization process of documents refers to a process whereby the notary witnesses and verifies the identities of individuals who sign the document during the signing process. Generally, the individual must sign the documents in front of the notary public. 


An Apostille is defined as an authentication process done for the notarized documents. The documents that have been authenticated through apostille will be issued with a certificate to prove their legitimacy. Apostille documents will carry a certificate attached to the original notarized documents that confirm the legitimacy of the official’s signature on the documents. 

Notary And Apostille In-Singapore


Below we provide you with a table summarizing all the general differences between a notary and an apostille for easier reference.

Characteristic Notary Apostille
Definitions Verify a document using the notary public by witnessing the document’s signing process Authentication of documents by giving the authentication certificate to check the signature and stamp of the public authority who signed or issued the document, not the precise contents of the document.
Organizations/Agencies Involved A registered notary service provider such as banks, tax offices, legal offices, governmental postal services, and business entities offering notary service Relevant official governmental agencies or organizations depending on the country of application. I.e: State of Secretary or relevant ministries
Processing time Quick and can be done within a few minutes Can take up to 2 weeks or longer depending on the country
Processing Cost Depends on the selected notary public service Fixed at the rate set by the government of the country
Renewal No expiration date No expiration date but certain countries may issue a validity period for the apostilled documents


Now, you might be wondering about the functions of notary and apostille. Below, we have summarized the different functions of each of them.


  1. A registered notary public functions as the verifier for every piece of information in the documents. This way, a notary process can ensure that all information in the document is accurate and correct.
  2. Fraudulent identity can be avoided as the notary public will verify the identity of the individual who signs the document. 
  3. Notarized documents are usually used within the same country where the notary process has taken place. 


  1. Apostille’s main function is to authenticate the document that has been notarized.
  2. It can also help to identify and ensure the document is authentic and not a fake copy.
  3. An apostille proves the legitimacy of the documents by providing a certificate that can be used for authorization outside the owner’s jurisdiction or country. 


The methods to obtain a notary and an apostille are both different. A notary is a much more hands-on process that will only take a few minutes as long as you have done and fulfilled all the requirements. Below, we have summarised the steps to obtain notarized documents.  

  • Notary

Elect or choose the notary public

You can choose and determine which services are most applicable to your notarization process. Typically, a notary public will require you to set an appointment and necessary fees before the signing process. Thus, you must search, elect and pay the notary public a few days before the document’s signing process. You can refer to the following link for a list of notaries in Singapore. 

Sign the document in front of the notary public 

The elected notary public must act as a witness to the signing process. All the necessary individuals must sign the documents in front of the notary public.

During the signing process, the notary public will verify the identity of the individuals signing and the accuracy of the information stated in the documents. The elected notary public will then certify the signed documents by marking the documents with an official seal or stamp. 

  • Apostille

The method to obtain the apostille certification is different than a notary verification. The apostille will require you to deal with a governmental agency. The process to obtain apostille certification is quite straightforward as well. We have summarized the steps below. 

Submit the original document 

To obtain the apostille authentication certificate for your document, you must submit the document’s original copy that has been notarized for an apostille application. The submission should be made to the Singapore Academy of Law or any other relevant agency in your own country that manages such authentication of the documents. 

Clarify the need or purpose for an apostille 

An individual must clarify why you require an apostille for your document. The clarifications must include information such as the country of destination for the apostille documents. Obligatory fees such as the apostille authentication service fee must be paid upfront. 

The involved authority for the apostille of documents will decide and approve whether the document requires an authentication certificate. This is because the authentication certificate is only valid if the document’s destination country is listed in the 1961 Hague Convention Treaty. 


  • Notary 

A notary public can be elected from many choices that fit your situation. Mainly any banks, legal offices, governmental postal services, tax offices within your jurisdictions, or a specified business that offer notary service.

  • Apostille

Obtaining the apostille for documents required a much more formal and official governmental agency as it was an authentication process granted by your homeland government to the documents. The involved organization depends on which country you reside in. However, several examples are federal offices, the government state of the Secretary, or relevant ministries.

In Singapore, you can refer to the link for additional information.  


  • Notary

The appointment date with the elected notary public will vary depending on your chosen services. Setting an appointment is highly encouraged. The processing time for obtaining a notarized document is usually a few hours, up to one business day. If the verifying and witnessing process is complete in front of the notary public, notarized documents will be issued on the same day of the process. 

Cost: Depends on the selected notary public service provider and country of living. 

  • Apostille

Processing times and costs for apostille of documents will also differ depending on your country. On average, it takes up to 2 to 7 working days to obtain the apostilled documents in Singapore. In some countries, it can take up to two weeks to obtain apostilled documents.

Cost: Depends on the state’s regulation.


Both apostilled and notarized documents typically will not have any expiration date. However, the conditions might change depending on the relevant countries. 

In certain circumstances, the latest notarized and apostilled documents not issued more than 3 months before might be required depending on the usage purpose. 

It is also worth noting that, in most Asian countries, apostilled documents are generally valid for up to 3 months. Therefore, we suggest you plan to avoid multiple visits to the notary or authorities. 

If you have further queries on the notary and apostille, reach us at enquiry@relinconsultants.com.


In short, both notary and apostille have distinguishable differences. Notarization of documents has a much simpler procedure; meanwhile, the apostille of documents is much more complex due to its involvement with official governmental agencies. 

Notably, if you require notarized documents and the apostille of documents for business purposes, we advise you to always confirm the requirements for your documents, as certain requesting entities have different requirements. Both a notary and an apostille may be required for some documents, while just one may be required for others.


Can I get an online apostille and notary?

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, certain states have enabled remote online notarization and the apostille for the documents to suit the current situation. You may check with your chosen notary services provider to obtain information and guideline on how to execute an online notarization and the online apostille for the documents.