Singapore Legalisation of corporate documents
Why you may need for legalisation
With most of the corporate registration system in Singapore moving on electronic platform, the corporate registration documents you receive are pdf files from the government. This itself is not a problem in Singapore and in many countries for simple transaction however at times legalised copies of this may be required.
For example if your new Singapore company is opening a branch office in Thailand then Thai authorities may need legalised documents of your Singapore company incorporation. In addition there might be requirement to have power of attorney, affidavits to be legalised for use in foreign country.
Legalisation simply means authentication of a document by a notary (or in case of government documents like Company registration documents authentication by respective authorities), and then further authentication by the embassy or consulate, located in the country of the notary public, of the country in which the document is to be used. Therefore, a document executed in Singapore for use in Germany would be legalised by the German Embassy in Singapore and a document executed in Germany for use in Singapore would be legalised by the Singapore Embassy in Germany.
The process of legalisation can be a cause of delay in international litigation and other transactions. As a result, there is an international treaty called the Hague Convention. Under the treaty, public documents (which include notarial acts) that have been executed in the territory of a contracting state and which have to be produced in another contracting state do not need to be legalised. Instead, a simple certificate or 'apostille' in a prescribed form issued by the competent authority of the state from which the document originates will suffice. The United Kingdom and many other countries are parties to the treaty but Singapore is currently not a party. As a result documents in Singapore need to go through complex legalisation process compared to apostille process.
Steps in legalisation of corporate documents in Singapore
|Step - 1||Certified copies of documents required needs to be ordered from respective government agencies. This process usually takes longest time.|
|Step - 2||Document are signed in front of a notary and a notary certificate is obtained. In case of documents issued by government authorities (like ACRA bizfile) a certified copy is obtained from relevant authorities and then notarised|
|Step - 3||Documents authenticated in step 1 are then attested either by Singapore Academy of Law or by Singapore ministry of foreign affairs (or in some cases by both)|
|Step - 4||Documents authenticated in step 2 are then attested by relevant Embassy in Singapore.|
Cost and timeline
Since each authority charges its fees and also may have specific requirements to obtain additional copies of documents, the cost of whole legalisation process is usually high. Typically a set of corporate documents will cost 600 SGD to 2000 SGD for legalisation.
Timeline for completing this process will be approx. 2-3 weeks. If any personal signatures of directors are to be legalised then they will need to be in Singapore for signing in-front of a notary.