What to do when you need a document notarized in Mexico.
At times the need arises where a signature is required to be notarized for use outside Mexico. All notaries are not equal and there are times where one notarization will work for one document but not another.
Some common documents that people need notarized are Powers of Attorney, Real Estate Deeds or Mortgages, requests for Birth / Marriage / Death Certificates, Permission for a parent to get a minor’s US Passport, banking / insurance / bonding documents, permission for a minor to travel without parents or application for duplicate or replacement vehicle title.
There are four types of notaries you will encounter in Mexico and their PROS and CONS:
1) The United States Consulate General or other Consulate / Embassy of other countries.
Consulate Notarization is widely accepted and is exempt from the requirement to Apostille the notarial seal and signature.
No problems with documents in English or Spanish, no need to translate documents into or from one language to the other.
For real estate documents recorded such as quitclaim deeds, warranty deeds, grant deeds, trust deeds and mortgages, many County Recorder offices and/or title companies will not accept any notarization unless done by the US Consulate. While a state Civil Code may allow for a Mexican/ Foreign notary with an apostille, using one may cause you to have to fight with title company or county recorder’s office.
Free notarization of DS-3053 Consent for Minor US Passport form
Some consider the US Consulate fee of $50.00US per signature expensive. For multiple signatures you may need more than 1 appointment.
Appointments may be too far off and you may need your document sooner.
Consulate / Embassy may be too far from your location.
2) Mexican Notary Publics
There are located all over in most cities.
Fees can be as little as $500.00 pesos to notarize a signature.
They are a specialized class of attorneys so may be able to explain to you legal terms and concepts where other notaries are prohibited from giving legal advice or lack the training to properly advise you.
May not Speak English and require any form and instructions to be translated by an official translator prior to notarizing which means extra costs and time.
For acceptance of their seal and signature the receiving agency may require an Apostille which is an additional certification, if this is needed then the notary must prepare additional documents at additional cost.
Some government offices will not respect the law (Hague Convention provisions codified into the State Civil code) and reject documents they sign and stamp.
3) United States or other Foreign Notaries operating outside their country and jurisdiction.
They may charge as little as 200 pesos to notarize a signature
They are technically operating illegally as they are outside their jurisdiction.
In theory an illegal notarization could be attacked in the future and nullified.
4) Internet Notaries
They are available pretty much 24/7
May not be accepted by all people.
Persons signing must have US Social Security number and only for documents to be presented in the United States.
As this is relatively new there is not much information about issues with apostilling documents done via internet notary
Try to print using a laser printer whenever possible to avoid color changes, streaking or a document that can be damaged by moisture.
Print duplex (double sided) where possible and if a contract, sign every page and date to avoid issues where it can be alleged that pages were changed and also for your protection.
Once multiple pages are stapled together do not unstaple as we have seen documents rejected as it is alleged that the removal of staples has altered the document or that someone could have inserted pages.
For deeds, contracts and other documents make sure the party who will receive the document has checked the format with the person or agency accepting it. For notary jurats and acknowledgments we recommend using the notarial form wording found in the state civil code where the document will be presented as certain states are strict on their specific verbiage being used instead of generic wording.