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“Certification” (sometimes also referred to as public or official authentication) means either the certification of the authenticity of a signature or to make a certified copy of an original document.
In both cases, the notary’s occupation serves the purpose of legal certainty. In some cases, legislation requires a strict form in order to guarantee the authenticity of a document or the signature of parties. A certification is valid indefinitely, but does not approve the accuracy of the document or the content thereof.
Public certifications are issued by notaries or courts, with higher costs if requested at court.
For a signature to be authenticated, the signature must be personally rendered or acknowledged personally in front of the notary. In order to make a certified copy, only the original document must be presented, personal appearance is not necessary. For certifying a signature, it is required to bring the document on which the authenticity of the signature is to be confirmed and an official photo ID. This identity card must contain your first name, surname, date of birth, signature and a photograph, as well as, if any, your academic title. If the ID card does not include your academic degree, we also require a certificate proving it, for example a graduation or doctorate certificate. Signature certifications are most commonly required on purchase agreements, pledge certificates, powers of attorney or, more generally, on land register certificates or Companies’ Register documents.
To make a certified copy, only the original document is required.
Certified copies of passports, identity cards or other public documents such as certificates or the like are often required.
The duration of making a certification always depends on the individual case.
However, if you made an appointment via telephone or our online booking calendar, we can usually guarantee the finalisation of your document within 3 office hours (=hours during which our office is opened) against payment of a surcharge of EUR 50,-.
Due to recent events related to COVID-19, it is now possible to carry out authentications and certifications by purely electronic means, i.e. without the notary’s personal presence. However, the procedure differs considerably from the usual procedure and requires a certain lead time:
The notary creates a secure data room into which the documents to be signed and authenticated are uploaded. In order to gain access to this data room, the parties have to go through a video identification procedure (WebID) upon the notary’s invitation. The personal data required for this must be made available to the notary by filling out a personal data form.
Due to the great demand, applicants for the WebID procedure may have to wait up to 3 days until the identification is positively completed and access to the data room is activated. We will be happy to provide you with further information on the WebID procedure is needed, after you have been invited to the data room.
Only when all parties involved have access to the data room, the electronic signing and signature certification can be carried out in the course of a video conference with the notary. The parties will receive the invitation to the video conference from the notary in good time before the appointment.
The finished document is then a genuinely electronic document; there is no original in paper form.
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Certifications for foreign countries
With regards to certifications for foreign countries, it must be differentiated whether or not the country for which the document is required is a member country that signed the Hague Convention and whether or not there is a bilateral agreement with Austria. In that case please contact us, we will be pleased to advise you.
In case there is a bilateral agreement with the State concerned, no further authentication is required.
If the document is required for one of the 108 states that have signed the Hague Convention, an Apostille must be obtained.
For signature certifications or certified copies, which we have issued for you, you can obtain the Apostille from the Regional Court for Civil Law Matters (Jusitzpalast, Schmerlingplatz 10–11, 1010 Vienna). An Apostille is an authentication of notarised documents for international legal transactions. We will be happy to request and arrange this authentication for you as an additional service.
If neither the Hague Convention nor a bilateral convention is applicable, the authentication procedure for foreign countries is more complex:
For documents which we have drawn up for you, an intermediate certification must first be obtained from the Regional Court for Civil Matters. Subsequently, the Foreign Ministry must also provide the document with an intermediate certification.
Finally, the embassy of the country in which the document is to be used issues the final certification. As an additional service, if applicable, we also offer to arrange that for you.
Regarding the duration of these certification routes, it should be noted that the Regional Court for Civil Matters only certifies up to five documents per person on the same day.
In case the Apostille is required for a state which is not a party to the Hague Convention and in default of bilateral agreements, the duration of the authentication varies, as the individual embassies require different processing times.
In any case, we will be pleased to advise you and gladly provide further information on fees and charges.
The costs for signature certifications are subject to the following legal bases:
§ 25 NTG, TP 11 GGG, § 14 TP 13 GebG.
Here are some examples of the fees*:
* in €, excluding VAT and government fees;
According to §14 TP 13 Gebührengesetz (Law on Entitlement to Fees), in general, government fees in the amount of € 14.30 (for each authentication clause) – formerly revenue stamps – are to be paid to the state for signature certifications.
For a certified copy, we charge € 3.60 plus VAT per page, at a minimum of € 13,60 plus VAT per job.
Regarding fees for foreign certifications, we will be pleased to advise you individually, as there are clear differences between the individual states and embassies.
Which services does the notary provide for his fee?
- A thorough verification of identity
- Confirmation of the authenticity of the signature
- Confirmation that the contents of the documents are known to the signatory and that the signing occurs free of duress
- Entry in the authentication register
- inseparable connection by affixing the documents
- Issuing and archiving of a notation, in order to document that the notarial deeds have been executed and to ensure indefinite transparency
- Receipt and settlement of state fees with the tax office
- same-day processing
What do I need to bring for the authentication of signature?
Please take the document to be authenticated as well as an official photo identification with you. This identification must contain your first name, surname, date of birth, signature, a photo and the issuing authority, as well as, if any, your academic title. In case your academic title is not indicated in this identification, we additionally require a certification verifying your academic title.
Is the certification at the notary cheaper than at court?
Yes, in the following table you will find examples of the certification fees* with different bases of assessment:
Fees charged by the Notary:
Fees charged by the Court:
*in €, excluding VAT and government fees; legal basis:§ 25 NTG, TP 11 GGG, § 14 TP 13 GebG (Austrian Law on Entitlement to Fees)
What are government fees?
According to Section 14 TP 13 of the Austrian Law on Entitlement of Fees, for the authentication of signatures by notaries, provided that it is not required for the document to be presented only to a certain authority or a certain court, a fee of € 14.30 (formerly revenue stamps) is to be paid to the tax office for each certification clause.
20% VAT are to be added thereto.
How much time does it take to get an authentication? Is there a same-day processing?
That always depends on individual factors (time, workload, number of signatures). However, if you made an appointment via telephone or our online booking calendar, we can usually guarantee the finalisation of your document within 3 office hours (=hours during which our office is opened) against payment of a surcharge of EUR 50,-.
Do I personally have to be present or may I also ask a friend to deliver the document to be authenticated?
In order for the notary to authenticate your signature, it is required that you submit your signature in the notary’s presence. For getting a certified copy, your presence is not required (see below).
Is the notary also authorised to certify the authority of representation of a company’s corporate body?
Yes, following the inspection of the electronic Companies’ Register, the notary is authorised to certify the signing authority of a corporate body of an Austrian company.
Is it possible to have a certified copy of the original document made? How much do you charge for this service?
The notary is entitled to make a certified copy of original documents and thus confirm that it is a true and correct copy of the original. That might prove useful, if you do not want to hand over your original. The costs amount to € 3.60 per page. Personal presence is not required in order to get a certified copy, however the original document is required.
What is an Apostille?
An Apostille is an additional authentication of notarised documents for international legal relations, which confirms the notary’s competency as certifying officer. The Apostille is valid in the 108 countries who ratified the Convention de la Haye du 5 octobre 1961. If you intend to use a certificate for one of these 108 countries, the Apostille will suffice, but for all other countries, the process of authentication is a bit more complex (see below). If there are no bilateral agreements between the two states, no additional authentication is needed.
Where do I get an Apostille from?
For signature certifications or certified copies, which we have issued for you, you can obtain the Apostille from the Regional Court for Civil Law Matters (Justizpalast, Schmerlingplatz 10–11, 1010 Vienna). If requested, we can also assist with this process and would be glad to give you advise in that matter. Please note that this might result in additional costs.
How does an additional authentication without Apostille work?
For certified documents that we have drawn up for you, as a first step, an intermediate authentication must be obtained by the Regional Civil Court, unless the Hague Convention on Authentication is applicable or bilateral agreements have been concluded. Subsequently, the Foreign Ministry issues an intermediate authentication affixed to the document. Lastly, the embassy of the country in which the certificate is to be used issues the final additional authentication. Since the amount of the fees charged by embassies varies, it is recommended to inquire the costs for each case individually..
How much time does the procedure of obtaining authentication for foreign countries take?
1) At the Regional Civil Court, the Apostille can be obtained usually within 24 hours.
2) In cases in which the Hague Convention does not apply and in default of bilateral agreements, the duration always depends on the varying processing time of each embassy.
We will be pleased to give you further information on the relevant fees and charges.
Your question concerning certification was not answered? Do not hesitate to submit your individual request: