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Consular Notarization/Legalization During Extended Travel or Social Mobility Restrictions
GUIDELINES ON E-NOTARIZATION OF PAPER DOCUMENTS
WHAT IS E-NOTARIZATION
E-Notarization is the notarization of paper documents or instruments with handwritten signatures or marks through the use of videoconferencing and audio-video capturing facilities.
E-Notarization is not applicable in the execution of notarial wills.
WHEN TO AVAIL OF E-NOTARIZATION OF PAPER DOCUMENTS
E-Notarization of paper documents may be availed only in cases where the Principal(s) is/are unable to appear in person at the Consulate for notarial services due to extended travel or social mobility restrictions such as in times of emergency, health crises and other prolonged incidents endangering public safety.
COVERAGE OF THE CONSULATE’S E-NOTARIZATION SERVICES
E-Notarization can only be performed by the Commissioned Personnel on acts done within the jurisdiction of the Consulate, i.e. British Columbia, Yukon and Northwest Territories. All principals and witnesses, if any, must all be located within the jurisdiction of the Consulate during the videoconference.
Requests for E-Notarization from residents outside of the Consulate’s jurisdiction will not be accepted.
GROUNDS FOR REFUSAL TO NOTARIZE
The Commissioned Personnel may refuse the performance of the notarial act when:
1- The principal/s or witness/es exhibit behaviour that engenders reasonable doubt as to their understanding of the instrument or document or otherwise indicates a defect in their consent thereto.
2- The principal/s or witness/es refuse to appear before the Commissioned Personnel through videoconference.
PROCESS FOR ACKNOWLEDGMENT, AFFIRMATION, OATH OR JURAT
1- The principal sends to the Consulate, by personal or private courier service, an envelope sealed with the initials of the principal. In case of courier service, the principal shall be required to furnish the Consulate with the relevant tracking number of the parcel.
The sealed envelope shall contain the following:
a) Request letter indicating the reason/s why the principal/s are unable to personally appear at the Consulate for consular notarization and providing the contact details of the principals, such as telephone number and email address.
b) Two (2) original document or instrument bearing the handwritten signature of the principal (one set shall be retained by the Consulate for records purposes).
c) Two (2) copies of two (2) competent evidence of identity.
d) If the document or instrument subject of the E-Notarization bears the signature of witness/es, include two (2) copies of two (2) competent evidence of identity of the witness/es.
e) If signing in a representative capacity, two (2) certified copies of the document granting the principal the authority to sign.
f) A CD or USB containing a short video clip showing the principal actually signing the document or instrument. Such video clip can also be sent to the following email address: email@example.com or other means of digital communication.
g) Payment of CAD$36.25 by money order or bank draft.
h) Self-addressed Expresspost envelope.
2- Upon receipt of the sealed envelope, the Commissioned Personell will schedule a videoconference with the principal, during which the Commissioned Personnel shall:
a) Require the principal to confirm his/her identity.
b) Require the principal to confirm his/her location to the satisfaction of the Commissioned Personnel. This can be done by GPS or by showing the Commissioned Personnel identifiable landmarks or buildings within the principal’s vicinity.
c) Open the sealed envelope in full view of the principal and require him/her to confirm that the instrument or document is the same document that was caused to be delivered to the Consulate.
d) Require the principal to affix his/her signature on a blank piece of paper within the full view of the Commissioned Personnel for comparison with the signature appearing on the instrument or document.
e) Require the principal to confirm that the signature at the end of the instrument or document belongs to him/her.
f) Review the video clip to verify the act of signing.
g) Require the principal to declare that he/she has executed the instrument or document voluntarily as his/her own freefact and deed, and if signing as a representative, that he/she is authorized to sign.
h) For instruments or documents for affirmation, oath or jurat, the principal will be required to avow to the whole truth of the contents of the instrument or document under penalty of law.
3- The Notarial Certificate must indicate that:
a) The notarial act was done through the use of videoconferencing facilities in accordance with the Rules on Remote Notarization of Paper Documents at Philippine Foreign Service Posts.
b) The Commissioned Personnel, principal/s, and witnesses, if any, were in a locality within the jurisdiction of the Consulate when the notarial act was done.
Witnesses to Documents
If there are witnesses to the instrument or document, the principal must also include in the sealed envelope two (2) copies of any competent evidence of identity of each witness and a video clip of the witnesses signing the instrument or document. The witnesses shall also be present during the videoconference conducted by the Commissioned Personnel. During the videoconference, Commissioned Personnel shall:
- Require the witnesses to confirm their respective identities.
- Require the witnesses to confirm their respective locations by GPS or by showing the Commissioned Personnel identifiable landmarks or buildings within their respective vicinities.
- Determine whether the parties are disinterested and unaffected parties by asking searching questions.
- Require each witness to confirm that his/her signatures appearing in the document belong to him or her and that it was voluntarily affixed.
- Require each witness to declare that he/she personally witnessed the principal signing or affixing his/her thumbmark or other mark on the document/instrument freely and voluntarily.
- Review the video clip to verify if the witnesses actually saw the principal signing or affixing his/her thumbmark or other mark on the instrument or document.
Thumbmark or Other Marks are Valid
The Rules provide that the principal may affix his or her thumbmark in lieu of a handwritten signature. Such mark must be affixed in the physical presence of two (2) unaffected and disinterested witnesses who shall sign their own names in addition to the principal’s mark.
The process for the sealed envelope and videoconference will be the same but instead of the Commissioned Personnel asking about the signature, the Commissioned Personnel will ask questions about affixing of the mark and make sure that it was done knowingly, freely and voluntarily.
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