If you are in Costa Rica and need to have a document notarized for use outside of Costa Rica in your home country, how do you go about it?
For U.S. citizens that need to notarize documents for use in the United States, they have the option of using the U.S. Embassy notarization services.
The U.S. Embassy Consular Services provides the following notary services:
- Acknowledgment: To “acknowledge” is to admit, affirm, or declare; to recognize one’s acts, assuming obligation or incurring responsibility. For example, if you sign a deed before a consular officer, you acknowledge your signature.
- Affidavit: A written or printed declaration or statement of facts, made voluntarily and confirmed by the oath or affirmation of the person making it, taken before a consular officer having authority to administer such a pledge.
- Oath (or affirmation): Any form of attestation by which a person signifies that he or she is bound in conscience to perform an act faithfully and truthfully. Affirmation is a solemn and formal declaration that an affidavit is true, that the witness will tell the truth, etc.
- Power of Attorney: Allows you to designate someone to take legal actions on your behalf. A typical example of this is empowering someone else to buy or sell property in the United States in your name.
If you don’t want to use the Embassy notary services or are from a different country, what are your options?
In Costa Rica, a Notary Public is licensed by the National Notary Directorate of Costa Rica. In that capacity, the Costa Rican Notary Public can also authenticate signatures and carry out other acts authorized by local law.
If you use the service of a local Costa Rica Notary, they will generally adhere to their notary certification to the original document that you want to be certified or authenticated. For that document to be valid outside of Costa Rica, you will need to have the document Apostilled. Your country must be a signatory to the Apostille Treaty. If not, it requires a different authentication process, but it is still available for you.
If so, the Notary Public will send the document to the Ministry of Foreign Relations of Costa Rica to obtain the legal Apostille. Once that is completed, your document is ready for use. In case you need the certification and Apostille translated into English or any other language, the Notary Public can coordinate with an officially approved translator from the Ministry of Foreign Relations to process that translation for you.
In Costa Rica, not all Notary Publics will have the familiarity of dealing with the authentication of foreign documents, so be sure that the Notary that you hire has experience in processing documents and apostilles for use outside of Costa Rica.