I sometimes need to have documents notarized while travelling abroad. How can I find a notary in a foreign country? The U.S. embassies and consulates will notarize things for me, but this is inconvenient and expensive.

Specifically, I'm looking for this kind of service in the south of France / northern Italy.


In my specific case, I need a simple signature verification on a one-page U.S. form. In the U.S., I could walk into any Kinko's and get it done in 5 minutes for $10.

  • Changing question title to make this less 'broad'. Commented Sep 29, 2011 at 10:06
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    American embassies and consulates can notarize documents so that they can be used in the USA. A foreign notary may not be sufficient in some cases.
    – user27478
    Commented Sep 29, 2011 at 12:22
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    Note that a US public notary is not at all the same thing as a French notaire. What specific service do you need? It's would be pretty weird to need to visit a notaire while traveling, so I don't think that's what you're after. Commented Sep 29, 2011 at 20:41
  • What @Gilles said, but if instead you do need a notaio (in the case of Italy) then forget it to be less inconvenient and especially less expensive than whatever service your embassy can offer, unless those services cost hundreds of Euros. Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 5:25

3 Answers 3


I had a signature certified today (June 2017) by a notary in Montpellier and it was really simple and easy.

I called the notary nearest me and asked if they would certify a signature ("certifier une signature"). They said no problem, that I could stop by anytime. I showed up, signed the document in front of him, and showed my passport as ID. He certified my signature with an official stamp.

The whole thing took 90 seconds and he didn't even charge me.

The document was in English (no French translation), but the notary didn't mind because, as he said, he was only certifying the signature, not the contents of the document.

Thought I would share this here as my experience was so different from everything I had read online about France: going to city hall, needing an official translation, paying $50 at the US embassy, etc.

It was just as straightforward as having something notarized in Canada.

Unrelated: I've also had a document notarized in Indonesia (long story) and it was equally easy.


There is a list of Italian lawyers and notaries published by the Canadians. Maybe this might help you:



While most advice on the internet is that only the US Consulates can notarize, I took #missvea's advice and asked a "notaire" to "certify" my signature. The stamps & process are nearly identical to the notary process in the US. Honestly, it looks just like a US notarization. And there is law (Hague Convention?) that states that the US must recognize notarizations from almost all countries, with the exception of a short list. In fact, I spoke to someone at the US Consulate in Marseilles who told me that they often use local "notaires" as well as the local city hall to notarize documents themselves for the US. So I am left feeling like there is a problem with the semantics and that one can, in fact, get a US document notarized in France by a "notaire". Just ask for a signature certification. (Even though a "notaire", as many will point out, is not the same as a US "notary".) Also, I was told that the US Passport office would accept this, although, in the end, due to a FedEx snafu, it's not what I ended up using. (The passport office actually accepted an emailed copy of a notarization from the consulate. But that's part of the longer story of our minor child's emergency passport ordeal.)

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