Legal Work

Ten Things About Notarization in the Philippines

I am sure everyone has heard of the words “notarize”, “notary”, “notaryo”, “notary public”, “notaryo publiko” in your daily grind at work or even in your personal dealings at home. We often see giant placards announcing notarial services available in unexpected places everywhere.

But we all know that most, if not all, of these “so-called” notaries public that offer notarial services in the streets or in any shaded corner with just a carry-on table, chair and typewriter, are fake. Sad but true. That is why I decided to write about it. It is important for us to understand what notarization really means and why we need to notarize our documents in the first place.

Here are ten good-to-know information about notarization:

1. Who is a Notary Public?

Under the 2004 Rules of Notarial Practice (“Rules”), a notary public must be a lawyer. Meaning, one must have (1) passed the bar exams, (2) taken oath and (3) signed the roll of attorneys. One must also be lawyer in good standing and must not have been convicted in the first instance of any crime involving moral turpitude. Again, only lawyers can be notaries public in the Philippines.  This leads me to a question: Are those guys notarizing documents along Recto Ave., outside city halls, or under the MRT/LRT  lawyers? (Nah! I don’t think so.) More often than not, they are just agents or representatives of a lawyer. The lawyer allows these guys to use his name and notarial commission, as well as sign on his behalf. Risky. Very risky. But still happening!

What do you do? Well, at the very least, check this list first and see if the notary public is a lawyer in the Philippines. If the name is there, then you can proceed and deal with the notary public (or whoever represents him or pretends as him! haha).

2. How does one become a Notary Public?

Getting a notarial commission is not an easy task. You have to be qualified first and foremost (refer to # 1). Beware! The documentary requirements for the application are not just a few. You need a lot of certifications and clearances from different offices. Once completed, you need to file a Petition for a Notarial Commission with the Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court where you intend to render notarial services. After a summary hearing and if there is no opposition to the application, you will be issued a notarial commission valid for two (2) years, unless earlier revoked or in case you resign.

3. What are the purposes of notarization?

A notary public notarizes a document to prove that he has verified the personal appearance and the genuineness of the signatures of the signatories to the document. A notary public authenticates the document and verifies its due execution making the document admissible in evidence. Courts, administrative agencies and the public must be able to rely upon the acknowledgment executed by the notary public.

4. What are the powers of a Notary Public?

a) A notary public is authorized to perform these notarial acts:

i) acknowledgements;

ii) oaths and affirmations;

iii) signature witnessings;

iv) copy certifications; and

v) other acts authorized under the Rules.

b) A notary public is authorized to certify the affixing of a signature by a thumbmark or other mark on a document presented for notarization.

c) A notary public is authorized to sign on behalf of a person who is physically unable to sign or make a mark on a document.

5. What are the prohibited acts/disqualifications of a Notary Public?

a) A notary public cannot notarize outside his regular place of work or business (but there are exceptions to this rule). For example, if you are given a notarial commission for a certain jurisdiction as Quezon City, you cannot notarize in Muntinlupa City, subject to certain exceptions.

b) A notary public cannot notarize if the person involved as a signatory to the document is not present at the time of notarization and is not personally known to him or not identified through any competent evidence of identity (What is this? See # 6).

c) A notary public is disqualified to notarize if he is a party to the instrument that is to be notarized; if he will receive any commission, fee, advantage, right, cash, property or other consideration; or if he is a spouse, common-law partner, ancestor, descendant, or relative by affinity or consanguinity of the principal within the fourth civil degree.

6. What is a competent evidence of identity?

If the notary public does not know us personally, we need to present valid IDs as a requirement for notarization. However, not all IDs are acceptable under the Rules.

To be considered valid, it must be a competent evidence of identity. This means that the ID you present to the notary public must be one issued by any Philippine government agency with your photo and signature.

The following are examples:

  1. Passport

  2. Driver’s license

  3. PRC ID

  4. NBI clearance

  5. Police clearance

  6. Postal ID

  7. Voter’s ID

  8. GSIS e-card

  9. SSS ID

  10. Philhealth card

  11. Senior’s citizen card

  12. Alien certificate of registration card

  13. If there is no valid ID available, the oath or affirmation of a third person who is personally known to the notary public and who personally knows the person; OR the oath or affirmation of two witnesses who each personally knows the person and shows to the notary public their IDs.

Here you will see the complete list of acceptable IDs under the Rules.

7. Is the presentation of cedula (community tax certificate) instead of the listed IDs above still accepted?

No, cedula is not one of the IDs enumerated by the Rules as competent evidence of identity. If you present your cedula, the notary public can ask for another valid ID from you.

8. Can secretaries/agents/representatives sign in behalf of the Notary Public?

No, they cannot since these persons are not notaries public. They can be held liable for “Usurpation of Authority” or “Estafa”, among others. Remember! Notarial acts can only be done by a notary public and these acts are not transferrable. So for those doing it without authority, watch out, watch out!!!

9. What contracts/documents need to be notarized?

In any contract, for as long as the elements of (1) consent, (2) subject and (3) cause are present, they are valid whatever form they are in.

But when the law requires that a contract be in a certain form for it to be valid, that requirement is absolute. Article 1358 of the Civil Code enumerates the following contracts that have to be set down in a public instrument (meaning, they must be notarized!):

a) Acts and contracts that create, transmit, modify or extinguish real rights over immovable property; sales of real property or interest therein;

Examples: Deed of Sale of Real Property/Motor Vehicle, Real Estate Mortgage, Chattel Mortgage

 b) the cession, repudiation or renunciation of hereditary rights or those of conjugal partnership of gains;

Examples: Waiver of Rights, Donation, Deed of Assignment

c) the power to administer property or any other power which has for its object an act that would prejudice a third person.

Example: Special Power of Attorney

10. What is the effect of a faulty / defective notarization?

The document can be nullified and in turn, it will have no force and effect. It can also be very costly since you would need to hire a lawyer to defend you in case the situation turns against you.

So… those are the ten important things you have to know about notarization. Hope this information helps you in any way possible.

If you have any questions, you may comment below or send me an email at Until next time!

This is Attorney Mommy, at your service!


Hello! I am Camille, a.k.a Attorney Mommy. I am a happy wife, a proud mom, and a full time attorney. I feel blessed that I am able to take care of my family while I practice my profession. I see to it that I enjoy and have fun in whatever I do. This blog keeps me sane, alive and excited for greater things ahead. Thank you for taking the time to read my posts!

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  1. Putting this here so that you’ll know that you should continue writing stuff like this.

    Thank you. :*

    1. Attorney Mommy says:

      Will do. Appreciate your comment. Thank you! 🙂

  2. Do you know what is a common fee to have a document notarized in the Philippines? We’re looking to have a Memorandum of Agreement notarized for a real estate transaction, but the Atty is asking for 1% of the sale. That seems very expensive just to notarize a document when it only costs $5 here in the US.

    1. Dear Ted,

      For real property transactions, notarization of documents is usually based on a certain percentage of the purchase price of the property. It all depends on the notary public. Some charge 1%; others 0.5%; some even 2%. Most of the time, the rate is based on the assessment of the notary public on how big or complicated the transaction is since the notary public would have to attest as to the authenticity of the transaction and he signs and seals the deal. If you feel that the rate given to you by one notary public is too high, try and look for another one who may be able to give you a lower rate. Beware of fake notaries public everywhere. Good luck!

      Attorney Mommy

      1. Hello Attorney Mommy,

        With regards to this issue, is it possible for an atty to ask for 75% of the purchase price of the property for the deed of sale to be notarized?

        1. i mean 7.5% of the purchase price

        2. Dear Cross,

          The notarial fee really differs from one notary public to another. If you feel that the rate given to you is unreasonably high, you can always try and look for another one who can give you a much lower rate.

          Attorney Mommy

  3. is there an office or department than can we check if the notarized document is valid or authentic? Where do notary public forward their notarial registry?

    1. Hello, Ion! You can check first if the notary public is in fact a lawyer at the list of lawyers at the Supreme Court of the Philippines website or you can check this link If that has been confirmed, you can proceed and request from the notary public himself to view his notarial register and verify if indeed the document you wanted to check is indeed registered therein. This, however, may come with a fee, depends on the notary public. Another option is to go directly to the Office of the Clerk of Court that issued the notarial commission of the Notary Public. There you may request for a copy of the notarial register of the Notary Public. That is, if the Notary Public is compliant and has submitted his notarial registry report to the court. Goodluck!

      Attorney Mommy

  4. I found your site from Google as well as I have to say it was
    an excellent locate. Many thanks!

    1. Thank you very much for your comment. Appreciate it! Keep on checking my website for more of my posts and updates soon.

  5. Haidie Ramos-Umangay says:

    Hello, if the notarized document has only one witness signature (no full name-just plain signature) is that valid?


    1. Hi Haidie,

      It depends. What kind of document are you referring to?

  6. Haidie Ramos-Umangay says:

    Hi Atty Mommy,

    Is there any different between PTR# and Roll#? My father-in-law has a deed of sale, the lawyer that notarized it includes the PTR# instead. I could see on the site that you posted here that he is a legit notary public. The said lawyer already died but the deed of sale wasn’t register in RD. Thanks!

    1. Hello Haidie,

      PTR stands for Professional Tax Receipt, which is a requirement for all professionals who earn income from the practice of their professions. Roll of Attorneys Number, on the other hand, is the official number of a lawyer in the Supreme Court Roll of Attorneys. The roll number for each lawyer is different.

      You may still register the property for as long as you have the complete requirements and you pay the necessary fees for registration. Good luck!

      Attorney Mommy

  7. I like the valuable info you provide in your articles. I will bookmark your blog and check again here frequently.
    I am quite sure I will learn a lot of new stuff right here!

    Best of luck for the next!

  8. Hello, can a non notarized contract of lease still a legal document? We’re having a problem in collecting unpaid rent and utilities from a former bad tenant. Please advise.

    1. Dear Leo,

      A contract of lease which is signed but not notarized, does not necessarily mean that it is not a valid document. You can still present this in court subject to presentation of other supporting documents as may be required by the judge/court.

      Attorney Mommy

  9. hello

    im renting a gesthouse in cebu island… wher can i chek if the owner are real owners of guest hose or doas lawyer ?

    1. Dear Igor,

      For this, you can ask for documents proving ownership of the property or if you are transacting with an agent or representative of the owner, at least get a proper authorization from the real owners.

      Attorney Mommy

  10. TravelsomeChic says:

    Hello Atty!

    Can I have my documents notarized by someone else? My docs are training certificates and cert of employment. Is there like an SPA needed to have it done? I’m not in the Philippines right now but I need to have my documents notarized. I have the orginal docs with me and I’m sending these to my mom in PH. Thank you for your help!

    1. Hello there,

      Do you need these documents certified as true copies? You can validly do this by sending the original copies and ask someone to bring both the original and photocopies of the documents to a notary public to be certified as true copies.

      Attorney Mommy

      1. We’re looking to have a Deed of sale notarized for a land property that I bought. I have signed the deed of sale here in abroad and send it back through email in Philippines to my partner. Will notary public accept it to be notarized?

        1. Dear Jackie,

          Based on the limited information you have provided, I would assume that you are outside the Philippines now and you bought a property located in the Philippines? I am afraid that the notary public will not accept the email copy of the Deed of Sale which you signed. The purpose of notarization is to ascertain the identity of the persons who sign a document (Deed of Sale) that is presented to be notarized, that it was executed freely and voluntarily, in the presence of the notary public himself. I don’t know if you will find a notary public who will allow that kind of arrangement.

          Attorney Mommy

  11. Documents not being notarized considered to be invalid?

    1. Dear Jay,

      Not all documents need not be notarized to be valid. There are documents, however, that need to be notarized to be valid.

      Attorney Mommy

  12. Elena Pascual says:

    Hi Atty Mommy,
    Got few questions:
    1. An extra judicial settlement was notarized & signed by a dully Notary Public back in 2000. Do we have to make a new doc again since the notary signature has expired?
    2. What if the last page (last page only) lacks a signature of one of heirs, does it makes the document invalid?
    3. In the above info, CTC is not a valid identification. In the document that we have, i noticed that CTC was used as identification. Does it make our document invalid even if it is duly signed by a notary?

    1. Dear Elena,
      1. For as long as the stipulations/provisions contained in the document are still the same up to this day (meaning what you have agreed upon back in 2000 have not changed at all), the notarized document is still valid despite the expiration of the notarial commission of the Notary Public.
      2. What is the last page you are referring to? Is it the signing page of all the heirs or the acknowledgment page for the notary public? My answer is IT DEPENDS.
      3. For as long as the notary public accepted the IDs you have presented to him and he acknowledged your presence and identity by means of those documents, and he notarizes the document, the document is deemed to have been duly executed by the parties.

      Attorney Mommy

  13. Juby Mendoza says:

    Hi Atty Mommy,
    Would like to know if Petition letter against one of our co worker/employee need to be notarized by an Atty? It is signed by 7 staff for a small business/shop only.

    1. Helly Juby,

      Can you elaborate on what kind of document you are referring to? Is the petition letter like a formal complaint by an employee against the other? What is the purpose of the letter? Please give more details so I can provide you proper legal advice.

      Attorney Mommy

  14. Tobero julian says:

    Simply put.
    Attorneys in the Philippines are money grubbing leeches taking advantage of people.
    The property transaction fees are insane.
    Nothing this woman says can justify her professions greed.

    1. Hello there! I am sorry that you feel that way about all lawyers/attorneys in the Philippines. We wish you well!

      Attorney Mommy

  15. Hi

    Hope you can help. If I am doing up a will. Does this need to be notarized in order for it to be valid? Thank you

    1. Dear Pat M,

      I will be writing all about wills very soon. Please stay tuned!

      Attorney Mommy

  16. Divine Concepcion says:

    Hi Atty,

    I have a question on the validity of the notarized deed of sale presented to us. Our lot is still under the title of my grandmother who passed away decades ago and my mom is the eldest among the 5 heirs. My mom passed away 3 years ago and the only thing that was processed was the extrajudicial partition but i dont see any signatures of all the heirs.
    it was just recently that a friend of my mom claimed that she purchased the portion of my mom’s lot. Upon presenting the deed of sale we questioned her about the signature shown for my mom as is was not the signature showing on the ID presented. So we meet woth the buyer and with one of the person who signed as a witness on the deed of sale and the wotness mentioned that she did not see if my mom signed the document before she was asked to sign it and that only the 3 of them are present and was not done in the notary office which the buyer also agreed for she claimed that it was just their mutual agreement. Hope to hear from you. Thank you.

    1. Dear Divine,

      Was the notarized deed of sale presented to the Register of Deeds by the buyer? You mentioned that the extrajudicial partition was not fully executed by the heirs? Was the portion of the property belonging to your mom properly identified in the deed of sale? Was there any other proof of purchase of the property other than the Deed of Sale? You need all these and other details to check the validity of the sale.

      Attorney Mommy

  17. Vernon Frazier says:

    How can you obtain a copy of a document that was notarized in the Philippines in 2015. I need it for a court case

    1. Dear Vernon,

      If you know the notary public who notarized the document for you, you can request from him/her a certified true copy of the document, for a fee. If not, you may request for a copy from the Office of the Clerk of Court with jurisdiction over the notary public. All notaries public must submit a copy of the agreements he notarized as stated in his monthly notarial report. Let us hope that the notary public who notarized your document has complied with this requirement. Otherwise, you may have difficulty securing a copy of the document.

      Attorney Mommy

  18. I couldn’t refrain from commenting. Perfectly written!

  19. Hello Atty. Mommy,

    I am currently applying for a government position. PDS (Personal Data Sheet) is one of the requirements, and since I am currently with no agency, I am assuming that I need to have it notarized.

    Do you have any idea po how much will it cost? Will I be charged per PDS document (since I am producing multiple copies for all the govt. job openings that I am applying to)? I just want to make sure that my budget will be sufficient for this.

    Thanks so much and God bless!

    1. Dear Tata Alex,

      I really cannot give you a fixed amount since all notaries public charge differently. I suggest that you inquire first from two or three notaries and from there you decide who among them has the most reasonable charge and go for it.

      Goodluck on your application!

      Attorney Mommy

      1. Thanks so much for the tip Atty. More power!

  20. Hi Attorney Mommy,

    The link for us to check if a notary public is a lawyer doesn’t seem to load the list anymore. Is there any updated link we can refer to? It’s my first time to have a document to be notarized, and I’m afraid to be scammed on this and I really find this blog helpful.

    1. Dear Tyra,

      Thank you for your message. I have updated the link to the lawyer list. Please check.

      Attorney Mommy

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