Notaries In The Philippines

Notaries In The Philippines

Table Of Contents:

At Some Point You May Need A Notary

If you decide to live in the Philippines or just visit for an extended period of time, then you may find sometime that you require the services of a notary.

During our time living in the Philippines we have used notarial services for many purposes. The US Postal Service accepted our Delivery of Mail Through Agent form 1583 that was notarized by our Filipino attorney. We also had some real estate documents from the US that needed to be notarized and the US real estate agent also accepted the documents that had been notarized by that same attorney. 

We have had dozens of documents notarized in the course of buying land here in the Philippines and we never had any problems with our attorney. By developing a relationship with an attorney over time you may be given discounts on the notarial fee and they may even do some documents for free.

In The Philippines A Notary Must Be An Attorney

Be advised that, according to the Philippines 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice Rule III Section 1 Paragraph 4, a notary public:
must be a member of the Philippine Bar in good standing with clearances from the Office of the Bar Confidant of the Supreme Court and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.
The best way that I have found to verify that a person is "a member of the Philippine Bar in good standing" is this website: Philippines Supreme Court Law List 

You can even type in the name of the municipality where you are and that database will give you a list of all of the attorneys in that place.

It is best to find a lawyer you can trust through a referral from a trusted friend or family member if possible. Make sure that the attorney you pick is listed in the Supreme Court database above.

I need to emphasize "go to their office" because you may be approached by people outside of various government offices that will offer their notarial services. I would not trust my documents with these individuals. To be safe always go to a fixed location law office.

I have used the same attorney for many years and that is the kind of relationship that I encourage everyone to cultivate if possible. The notarial fees for most documents we have done has been 200-300PHP. A Deed of Sale on real property may run 2000PHP or more (generally 1% of market value of land or sales price of vehicle etc...). If you Google the fees it will be confusing because the answers vary. Our attorney has done a few documents for free.

Alternatives For Notarial Services

If you have a document that requires a US notary to notarize it, then you can make an appointment to have the notarization done at the US embassy in Manila.

Alternately, US Embassy personnel perform outreach services in various cities across the Philippines. You can receive email notification regarding upcoming US Embassy outreaches by signing up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. The US Embassy charges $50 for each document notarized. The website states that it can be USD or PHP or credit card. If you go to an outreach you will need to read the outreach flyer very carefully to determine if you must bring a specific currency. Make sure that you have the exact amount for payment and I doubt they can take credit cards when doing an outreach.

If you are near Cebu you can contact the US Consular Office there to confirm whether that office can perform notarial services.

Another option is to have your documents notarized online. Yes, if you have never heard of the concept it's actually valid. You can search for an online notary and pick the one you trust and that works for you.

The best option, IMHO, is to go with a Filipino notary if it will work for whatever document you are creating. They are ubiquitous, charge reasonable fees and I have never had any problems with numerous documents. It is up to you and the specific circumstance and document. As always, discretion is advised.

Public Attorney's Office (PAO)

We received a comment/question from a reader regarding using the PAO for notary services. I decided to look into the topic a bit and found the following information on the PAO website. Download the PAO Guidelines For Service.


PAO Services For Foreigners

The Manila Times details PAO services specific to foreigners:
Aside from the free court representation, which the PAO continuously renders to qualified foreign nationals, the latter may also benefit from the PAO’s non-judicial services and other legal services without cost. Pursuant to the memorandum of agreement (MoA) of the Public Attorney’s Office and the Bureau of Immigration signed on Feb. 4, 2009, the public attorneys may render legal assistance and legal advice to foreign nationals, including free notarization of their immigration documents and such other legal services assigned by the immigration commissioner.

These services were directly available from the public attorneys formerly assigned at the Bureau of Immigration to attend to the combined clientele of these two offices from 2009 to 2013. In particular, under the February MoA, the public attorneys formerly assigned at the Bureau of Immigration, rendered legal assistance and legal advice to the clients therein, both Filipinos and foreign nationals, in the processing of different visa applications.

They likewise provided them with free notarization of their immigration documents, which, during the above-mentioned public attorneys’ detail, had greatly eliminated the “fly-by-night” notaries who charged exorbitant amounts for such service. The foreign nationals trusted the free notarization service of the PAO, because their respective documents were done in their presence and within the vicinity of the bureau.
We did benefit from the free notary service at the Intramuros office of the Bureau of Immigration, but as the article states, PAO attorneys are no longer collocated with the BI.


Anonymous said...

So a notary has to be an attorney?

Philippine Destiny said...


Philippine Destiny said...

Spam comments, phishing attempt comments and other comments containing suspect links will never be published.

Unknown said...

Does PAO also doing a notarization of real estate property deed of sale?

Unknown said...

Hi. I have to notarize my US Divorce papers. Where can I do it?