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Can an American notary currently in Israel sign documents for use in the United States?

Can an American notary currently in Israel sign documents for use in the United States?

Generally speaking, the short answer to this question is no, since it is commonly accepted that a notary may only legally provide service where he is licensed, within any international jurisdiction. This article will highlight a few other reasons explaining why a notary public licensed from the United States who is working abroad, specifically in Israel, cannot authorize a document to be used in the United States.

Is the signer’s presence mandatory?

Firstly, at most embassies and consulates, the personal appearance of the client requesting the notarial service is mandatory. The identity of the person requesting the service must be established for multiple reasons. First of all, it is a requirement to confirm that this person is on board with the nature and consequences of the document. Secondly, the client’s consent must be established and proven. Lastly, the signer must be present in order to confirm the validity of their signature and confirm their identity. Due to this obligation, an American notary who is abroad in Israel might find it difficult to prove the identity of a client who is located back in the United States. According to the National Notary Association of America, it would be illegal for a U.S licensed notary to sign a document in another country if the signer cannot appear in person. Therefore, if the client cannot present themselves at the U.S embassy in Israel to have their document(s) signed by the American notary it is very unlikely that this transaction will take place.

What is an apostille and can it be issued in this situation?

An apostille seal is a process of authentication of public documents, and is intended to certify the legitimacy of a foreign notarization, making it legally acceptable in most countries around the world. Public documents are issued by state authorities and may include marriage certificates from the Ministry of Interior, for instance. Only the signatory countries that are part of the Hague Convention, including Israel, the United States, and European countries are eligible. For instance, an Israeli notary can notarize documents according to Israeli law before sending it for verification to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the Magistrate Court to acquire an appropriate apostille seal for it to be accepted abroad. However, in our specific situation, where the notary is considered to be American and he is signing a document issued by the U.S as opposed to the State of Israel, he may not legally provide the service since the apostille procedure described above is not properly followed.


What are the possible solutions for this type of issue?

The U.S. State Department suggests two possible options for a client looking to notarize a document in Israel for foreign use; either the document is to be brought to the U.S Embassy or Consul located within Israel, or it can obtain notarization by a local notary. The American Services Unit provides help for those seeking to execute documents, with the presence of a United States consular officer. Both U.S. citizens as well as non-U.S citizens are equally eligible for this type of service, for a fee of 50 USD per signature or seal.

Due to the recent lifting of Covid-19 travel restrictions, many consulates worldwide are experiencing an unprecedented high demand for international travel services. This has caused many technical issues, including delays in visa processing, an extremely concentrated amount of daily application slots, consequent software failure, among other complications. Thus, seeing as it might be difficult to obtain or maintain an appointment at the embassy consulate, one might prefer meeting with a nearby American notary.


To summarize, it is discouraged to attempt having an American notary authorize documents from Israel for use within the United States. Rather, it is preferable to try waiting on an appointment with the Embassy or consulate, book a visit to a nearby notary, or follow the apostille stamp procedure, which may be performed in Israel or another signatory country belonging to the Hague Convention.