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Notarisation, Apostille and Legalisation of Documents in Hong Kong – 3E Accounting Can Assist You

Notarisation, Apostille and Legalisation of Documents in Hong KongIn Hong Kong, the methods used to authenticate official and important documents are referred to as notarisation, apostille and legalisation. You will be required to authenticate your documents within a corporate setting, where agreements or corporate documents must be authenticated before they can be used outside the country of incorporation. Some examples of when you may be required to utilise either notarisation, apostille or legalisation documents in Hong Kong would be for the opening of a bank account overseas, the opening of a Wholly Owned Foreign Enterprise (WOFE) in China, or for entering into an agreement with a company that is incorporated and runs its operations overseas.


Understanding the Difference Between Notarisation, Apostille and Legalisation

The difference between notarising, apostille or legalisation of documents in Hong Kong is as follows:


  • Only a notary public will be either to notarise your documents. They will do this by either certifying that the document is a certified true copy, authenticating the signature, or certifying or witnessing an individual’s identity.
  • The notary public may issue a notarial certificate depending on what you require.
  • The notary public may make a certified copy of the original documents
  • The notary public may witness the signing of documents.
  • Notarisations are sufficiently fulfilled by the Hong Kong Notary Public in most cases. However, there are exceptions, such as the incorporation of a WOFE where the Chinese Notary will be required.


  • Specifically for authenticating public documents. The purpose of the authentication would be for the documents to be legally recognised and acceptable in a foreign country.
  • Usually sufficient if the document in question is going to be used in a country that is party to The Hague Convention. Alternatively, legalisation may be required if not.
  • Only issuable by the Hong Kong High Court.
  • Not all documents are eligible for the apostille method.
  • Apostilles can be obtain for public documents which bear the true signature of the officiating party, and documents signed by either a notary public or the Hong Kong Commissioner of Oaths.



  • Documents must either be notarised or apostilled before they can be legalised.
  • Generally, legalisation is only required if the document in question is intended for use, not in a country party to The Hague Convention.
  • Documents can only be legalised by an embassy or consulate of a foreign country.


Do I Need to Notarise, Apostille or Legalise?

Before deciding whether you need to notarise, apostille or legalise your documents in Hong Kong, you will need to confirm with the relevant authorities or entities with whom you will present the documents to. Identify the requirements needed, as the authority or entity in question might have their own specific requirements that need to be fulfilled.

For assistance in getting on notarising, apostille or legalising documents in Hong Kong, contact 3E Accounting.