Glossary of terms used on this site

Notary and Document Legalisation  Glossary of terms and Phrases

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Term Definition

To admit the existence or truth of a statement and accept responsibility.


A formal declaration before an authorized official (a notary public) by a person signing an  instrument that such execution is his or her free act and deed. The term also refers to the  notary's certificate on the document indicating that it was so acknowledged


To discharge the duties of an office; to give (as in the giving of an oath).


A written statement of facts made voluntarily and confirmed by the oath or affirmation of the party making it before an officer authorized to administer oaths, i.e., a notary public.


To make a solemn, formal declaration under the penalty of perjury that certain statements are true. An affirmation is legally equivalent to an oath and may be substituted for an oath when a document requires an oath for its execution, i.e., an affidavit.


To declare positively or firmly; maintain to be true. An affirmation replaces "swearing before God".


To attach or impress the notary seal to a document.


A slip of paper, attached to the underlying public document, on which an Apostille is placed. An

allonge is used as an alternative to placing the Apostille directly on the underlying document (see Art. 4(1) of the Apostille Convention).


An Apostille Certificate is an official government Certificate issued in terms of the Hague Convention printed or stamped onto the reverse side of a single page document or attached to multiple paged documents with green notary ribbon making it become one inseparable document. It authenticates the seal and or signature of the public official or authority such as a notary or registrar issuing the document.

Apostille Convention

An international treaty developed and adopted by the Hague Conference. The full title of the Convention is the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents. The final text of the Convention was adopted by the Hague Conference at its Ninth Session on 26 October 1960 and was first signed on 5 October 1961 (hence the date in its full title).


The Hague Conference has adopted many other international treaties (known as the Hague Conventions).

Apostille Register

A register in which a Competent Authority records the particulars of each Apostille issued. The Apostille Convention requires each Competent Authority to maintain a register of Apostille's (Art. 7(1)).


The act of issuing an Apostille under the Apostille Convention. A document for which an Apostille has been issued under the Convention is referred to as having been “apostillised”. The issuance of an Apostille replaces the often cumbersome, time-consuming and costly process of legalisation.


To bear witness to or to certify




To prove or verify as genuine.

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