Start / Services / Notary Public

Notary Public

The notary public working in a local register office handles the notarisation of, amongst other things, signatures, copies of certificates and the authentication of curriculum vitae. In addition, he or she handles, amongst other things, protests of bills of exchange, the opening and closing of safe-deposit boxes as well as the monitoring of lotteries.

Duties of notary public

Notarisation of authenticity of a signature

In the notarisation of the authenticity of a signature, the signature in question must be witnessed by a notary public. You must have proper identification with you. In addition, an invitation extended to a citizen of a country of which an officially notarised invitation to Finland is required in order to travel here also must be signed in the presence of a notary public.

A notary public does not serve as a witness in signing a will or a continuing power of attorney

Statements by witnesses concerning wills, continuing powers of attorney, and living wills include a declaration according to which the signer has stated to his or her full understanding and own free will that the content of the document is in accordance with the signer's desire. A notary public who meets the person in question for the first time on the occasion of the signing of the document is not capable at that event of attesting to the signer's intent. For this reason, a notary public shall not sign any certificates to this effect.

Notarisation of the authenticity of copies

A notary public working in a local register office notarises the authenticity of copies of original documents. A document is original if it has the handwritten signature of the representative of the issuing authority and/or an ink stamp. Other possible indicators of originality include, for example, an embossed stamp of the body issuing the document, a hologram or a unique watermark.

Photocopied, printed or otherwise replicable markings are not original, and, therefore, they are not valid.

If the original document is laminated, the local register office may still issue a copy the authenticity of which has been notarised by a notary public, if the indicators of originality can be verified.

If the document is missing an indicator of originality, contact the authority that issued the document and have them complement your existing document, or request a new document containing the markings that prove its originality.

Here are some of the most common practical examples:

-        If you have a signed and stamped diploma with loose pages that do not bear a signature or stamp, ask the educational institution to mark each page with the institution’s ink stamp.

-        If you have some other document with several pages, the pages must be fastened together so that they cannot be separated. If the pages of the document are loose or they could be taken apart, that is if they are only stapled together, for example, then each page must have a marking to indicate its originality.

If your document containing several pages does not meet these requirements, the notary public may advice you to acquire the above-mentioned markings on the pages, if necessary.

You can take the original document to the local register office personally, use a courier service, or send it by post. A personal visit to the office is, therefore, not obligatory.

If you wish, you can check the possibility of making a reservation for services. The use of the reservation system varies by office. For example, the service points of Helsinki and Espoo are not available by reservation; instead, customers are served in the order of arrival. Please note also that the smaller local register office units may not always have a notary public present. Furthermore, in some smaller service points it may be mandatory to make a reservation.

The local register office takes a copy of the original document, after which the notary public notarises the authenticity of the copy. If the document is larger than A3 paper size, the customer must bring their own copy.

If the sheet of paper has markings on both sides, the local register office will charge the customer for both pages. 

With regard to translations, it is advisable to note that in most cases the recipients of the translation require the translator to attach the original document, or a copy of the original document, to the translation. The local register office does not perform such annexations.

Other tasks

  • To purvey protestations to draft bills and cheque laws ipso jure.
  • To take on and record the explanations of juridical and financial relations and to provide third parties with copies of the minutes, unless the general regulations regarding the publication of documents dictate otherwise. 
  • To certify that an official or individual has the right to carry out a given official act, that someone is in a given official position, or that someone has a given official competence or is legally competent to represent someone else.
  • To act as a witness present at the opening or closing of a depository.
  • To oversee lotteries.