Information On Notarial Services
The American Citizen Services Unit of the Consular Section performs notarial services Sunday through Wednesday by appointment. Services include taking of oaths, acknowledgment of signatures on documents for use in the United States, certification of true copies for Social Security and Internal Revenue Services purposes, and authentication of Government of Egypt officials' signatures. Notarial services are performed for any person regardless of nationality if the document will be used in the United States.
In most cases the document will be ready the same day. Please be aware that the consular officer may refuse any notarial service when: (1) the host country does not authorize the performance of the service, (2) the document will be used in transactions that may be prohibited by U.S. law, (3) the officer believes that the document will be used for a purpose that is unlawful, improper, or inimical to the best interests of the United States, or (4) the officer does not understand the document, due to language or any other reason.
Consular officers are prohibited from giving legal advice or acting as witnesses. If you have any questions about the contents of the documents and the implications of your signing them, the American Citizens Unit can provide a list of Egyptian attorneys for you to consult, or you may wish to consult an attorney in the United States. A short list of Egyptian attorneys who are members of The American Bar Association is also available.
Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is an acknowledgment made by a grantor to a consular officer. The named individual appears before the consul and acknowledges that the signature on the document is his/her own signature.
A notarizing officer may not act as an attesting witness to the execution of an instrument in connection with any private party matter, such as powers of attorney, wills, or contracts. If a document needs witnessing, the person requesting the notarial service must provide the witness(es).
A written certificate attesting to the performance of a notarial act is attached to the notarized documents. Eyelet grommets are inserted in the upper left corner, perforating the document pages. This prevents anyone from separating the original document and the notarization. Should they be separated, the notarization will be invalid.
Translations (Foreign Language Documents)
A consular officer may provide notarial services to non-English speaking applicants. However, the officer must be able to understand the document in question. Translations of a foreign language text should be provided by the applicant. If the consul is not comfortable providing the service, s/he will decline and direct the person to a local notary or foreign consul who can communicate in the same language.
For the consular officer to notarize an affidavit of a translation, the translator must appear with photo identification.
Foreign Academic Credentials for Use in the United States:
(1) U.S. consular officers generally are prohibited from authenticating or providing certified true copies of foreign academic credentials, transcripts, or degrees for use in the United States.
(2) The U.S. Departments of State and Education determined in 1983 that there is no statutory requirement for U.S. consuls to authenticate translations of foreign academic credentials. The U.S. Department of Education and the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers agree that authentication in no way alleviates the problem of fraud as the information contained in the document is not confirmed, only the seal and signature are authenticated.
U.S. Credentials for Use Abroad: Some foreign countries continue to require authentication of academic credentials. See Authentication of American Academic Credentials for Use Abroad on the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet page for guidance about how to obtain such records.
Authenticating Documents Originating in the U.S.
United States originated documents and/or certificates, such as divorce, death and birth certificates are often required for use in Egypt. The Egyptian government offices require that the documents be authenticated as genuine. Here in Cairo, the U.S. Embassy authenticates the signature and official positions of Egyptian officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Egyptian documents.
Authentication is a certification of the genuineness of the signature and seal or the position of a foreign official who has previously executed, issued, or certified a document. This allows a document executed or issued in one jurisdiction to be recognized in another jurisdiction. U.S. embassies and consulates maintain exemplars of the seals and signatures of host government officials only.
The Egyptian consulates and embassy in the United States authenticate the signatures of officials, such as the US notary public and the Department of State’s great seal, on U.S. documents issued within their jurisdiction of work. Likewise, here in Egypt, the U.S. Embassy authenticates the signature and official positions of Egyptian officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Egyptian documents.
To authenticate U.S. originated documents/certificates for use in Egypt:
The document is submitted to an Egyptian Consulate or Embassy in the U.S. for authentication. These consulates or embassies are required to keep on file official signatures of individuals authorized to execute official documents in their consular districts in the United States. Upon returning the authenticated document to Egypt, it should be submitted to any of the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs authenticating offices, available all over Egypt.
The document is considered authenticated after the above is utilized.
A common misconception, even with local Egyptian officials here, is that the U. S. Embassy directly authenticates the seals and signatures of notary public or other officials in the United States. The U.S. Embassy can only certify the seals and signatures of the officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Egypt.
Click here for a list of Egyptian Consulates in the United States.
Questions concerning authentication procedures can be addressed by e-mailing the American Citizen Services section at ConsularCairoACS@state.gov.