Guidance

Notarial and documentary services guide for Vietnam

Documents, certificates, letters and notes available at the British Embassy Hanoi and the British Consulate General Ho Chi Minh City.

Overview

The British Embassy Hanoi and the British Consulate-General Ho Chi Minh City can provide a limited range of notarial and documentary services for British nationals in Vietnam.

Where local notaries or lawyers can provide services the British Embassy in Hanoi and Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City will not provide them. In many cases local notaries or lawyers in Hanoi and in Ho Chi Minh City can provide services more cheaply, quickly and conveniently. You must make an appointment for each service that requires your personal attendance. If you are unable to attend your appointment, kindly get in touch with us to make an alternative arrangement.

Please make sure you have selected the correct service and that the document will be accepted by the relevant authority. This could be the local town hall, registry office, tax authorities, immigration office or another authority either in Vietnam or in the UK. We will not provide a refund of consular fees if certificates or notarial services are not accepted by the requesting authority.

Legalisation – Change to our services from 13 November 2017

Please note: The Vietnamese authorities require that UK public documents are legalised before they can be used for official purposes in Vietnam. From 13 November 2017, documents originating from the UK to be used for official purposes in Vietnam will need to go through the legalisation process in the UK. Once these documents have been legalised by the UK Legalisation Office, they must be legalised by the Vietnamese Embassy in London before they can be used in Vietnam. In particular this change will affect educational and other documents required for work permit applications. Examples of such documents include degree certificates, professional qualifications, job references and police checks. Please note that some documents may need to be certified by a solicitor or notary public in the UK before they can be submitted to the UK Legalisation Office.

For information on how to get your document legalised for use in Vietnam please see Legalisation of signatures and official stamps (PDF, 47.3KB, 1 page) . There is no requirement for the British Embassy Hanoi or the Consulate-General Ho Chi Minh City to stamp these documents once they have been legalised by the Vietnamese Embassy in London.

You can either get your documents legalised yourself or alternatively employ a commercial company to do this on your behalf.

Services we provide in Vietnam

Consular staff in Vietnam can:

  • administer an oath, affirmation or affidavit

  • witness a signature

  • make a certified copy of a British passport

  • unite documents

  • prepare a document in English or Vietnamese

  • mark an exhibit

  • issue ‘no objection’ letters for adoption

  • convert a civil partnership to marriage

For documents relating to marriage/civil partnership, please see getting married abroad.

What to bring to your appointment

See the individual services below for details of supporting documents to bring. Make sure you have acceptable proof of address and identity, and payment for any fees. See the full list of consular fees.

Payment

We accept payment by Visa, MasterCard, or cash in the local currency (Vietnamese Dong) on the day of the appointment.

Proof of address and identity

For all appointments for notarial services you will need to bring acceptable proof of your identity and address.

We accept passports or national identity cards as proof of identity.

We can accept documents including lease contracts, police registration certificates, household books, utility bills, driving licences and residence cards as proof of your address.

Administer an oath, affirmation or affidavit

This service is for people who need to swear an oath, make an affirmation or make an affidavit in front of a Consular Officer.

You may need to make an affirmation or affidavit of marital status in order to get married in Vietnam. See getting married abroad to find out what you need to do.

The Embassy/Consulate-General will not draft documents for you.

What you will need to bring with you:

  • the oath, affirmation or affidavit that you will swear or affirm

  • proof of identity/address – see what we will accept as proof

  • supporting documents to prove the content of the affirmation or affidavit you are swearing

  • the correct fee – see the list of fees.

We can only administer an affirmation/ affidavit to confirm your marital status if you are single, divorced or widowed.

If you are divorced or widowed, you must present your divorce decree absolute or your late spouse’s death certificate. The local marriage registration in Vietnam may require the copy your divorce decree absolute or your late spouse’s death certificate to be legalised in the UK. Further information on the current legalisation process (effective since 13 November 2017) can be found here.

We cannot administer an affirmation if you are already married. Please be aware that under the perjury act (1911): it is a criminal offense to knowingly make a false declaration. Offenders face the possibility of a fine and/or jail sentence.

The British Embassy/Consulate-General accepts no responsibility for the contents of oaths, affirmations or declaration.

The following disclaimer will be added to your affidavit/affirmation/declaration:

The service provided by the British Embassy/British Consulate General on this document should not be taken as to certifying that this document is binding in law (whether under UK law or otherwise). Individuals are advised to seek independent legal advice as to the validity of this document under the relevant law.

Please do not sign the document beforehand as you will be requested to sign in front of a Consular Officer.

Please use the following templates for your affidavit/affirmation/declaration. You may wish to have the document drawn up or checked by a legal professional.

Book an appointment to administer an affidavit, affirmation or declaration in Hanoi.

Book an appointment to administer an affidavit, affirmation or declaration in Ho Chi Minh City.

Witness a signature

This service is for customers who need to sign a document and have their signature witnessed by a consular officer. The document must be prepared before your appointment as we will not draft documents for you. We do not handle powers of attorney, wills or probate, or witness deed polls, nor will we witness a signature on an educational certificate/degree.

Please do not sign the document before your appointment.

One fee will be charged for each signature required to be witnessed by our Consular Officer.

What you will need to bring with you:

Book an appointment to witness a signature in Hanoi.

Book an appointment to witness a signature in Ho Chi Minh City.

Make a certified copy of a British passport

This service is for customers who need certified photocopies of British passports.

British passports are the only documents the Embassy/Consulate-General can certify. We are unable to certify UK birth, death, and marriage documents due to copyright reasons. You will need to have these documents legalised by the Legalisation Office in the UK first, then by the Vietnamese Embassy in London, before they can be used in Vietnam.

The fee is determined by the number of pages requiring certification. If you need a certified copy of the whole passport, you may wish to consider using the service offered by the local notaries or lawyers.

What you will need to bring with you:

Certified copies of a minor child’s passport

If you require a certified copy of your minor child’s passport you must provide written authority from both parents together with your original passports. Your minor child does not have to be present provided both parents are present and provide evidence you are related as claimed. Where only one parent can be present, you must provide a letter of authorisation from the absent parent plus their original passport.

Book an appointment to make a certified copy of a British passport in Hanoi.

Book an appointment to make a certified copy of a British passport in Ho Chi Minh City.

Unite documents

This service joins documents together using ribbon and a seal and is usually only needed for legal reasons.

What you will need to bring with you:

Book an appointment to unite documents in Hanoi.

Book an appointment to unite documents in Ho Chi Minh City.

Prepare a document in English or the local language

In a limited number of cases consular staff can write a statement of fact (‘preparing a certificate’) to help British nationals with various local authorities. The wording must be cleared with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, which means these documents will take longer to prepare.

We can only provide this service if we have proof that the wording/content you require is correct and unambiguous. This service is provided at the discretion of Consular staff and we can refuse to provide it. Please contact the Embassy/Consulate-General before making an appointment.

We can prepare these documents in English or in the local language.

What you will need to bring with you:

Book an appointment to prepare a document in English in Hanoi.

Book an appointment to prepare a document in Vietnamese in Hanoi.

Book an appointment to prepare a document in English in Ho Chi Minh City.

Book an appointment to prepare a document in Vietnamese in Ho Chi Minh City.

Mark an exhibit

This service applies to documents which are linked to an oath/affidavit/affirmation/declaration and have been initialled by the customer and need to be initialled by a Consular Officer.

What you will need to bring with you:

Book an appointment to mark an exhibit in Hanoi.

Book an appointment to make an exhibit in Ho Chi Minh City.

Issue ‘no objection’ letters for adoption

We can issue a letter of no objection for a British national who is not habitually resident in the UK and who is seeking to adopt a child through the Vietnamese procedure. We produce A Guidance on Adoption in Vietnam that you may find useful.

To obtain the ‘no objection’ letter, you must first obtain independent legal advice to prove that you are not resident in the British Island. You must then swear a statement witnessed by a lawyer that states:

I confirm that I have received independent legal advice and with reference to all circumstances of my particular case and in light of existing UK law, I can confirm that I am not habitually resident in the British Isles.

What you will need to bring with you:

Book an appointment for a letter in Hanoi.

Book an appointment for a letter in Ho Chi Minh City.

Convert a civil partnership to marriage

This service is for couples who wish to convert an existing civil partnership into marriage. For information on getting married or entering into a civil partnership, see getting married abroad.

You do not need to have formed your civil partnership in Vietnam, but you must have been living here for 28 clear days (the date of arrival does not count).

We can convert civil partnerships formed between a British national and a national of any country except Vietnam.

What you will need to bring with you:

  • your passport

  • your partner’s passport

  • your original civil partnership certificate

  • proof that you have been resident in Vietnam for at least 28 days

  • the correct fee – see the list of fees.

Book an appointment to convert a civil partnership to marriage at British Embassy in Hanoi.

Please note that our Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City do not provide this service.

Download information notes

We have produced the following information note (also known as a standard letter) that you can download free of charge to present to local authorities:

Information Note: Recognition or validity of marriage (PDF, 277KB, 1 page)

Services provided elsewhere

Legalisation of signatures and official stamps on UK documents

Legalisation is the official confirmation that a signature, seal or stamp on an official public document is genuine. UK public documents can be legalised by the UK government in the UK. More information on how to get your UK document legalised for use in Vietnam can be found on Legalisation of signatures and official stamps (PDF, 47.3KB, 1 page) . You can either do this yourself or alternatively employ a commercial provider to do it on your behalf.

There is no requirement for the British Embassy/Consulate-General in Vietnam to stamp these documents once they have been legalised in the UK.

Life certificates

We no longer provide life certificates for British nationals claiming a British pension abroad. Please refer to the list of people working in a recognised profession who can do this for you.

Data protection

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office holds and uses data for purposes notified to the Information Commissioner under the Data Protection Act 1998. Such personal data may be disclosed to other UK government departments and public authorities.

Disclaimer

This information is provided as a general guide and is based upon information provided to the Embassy/ Consulate-General by the relevant authorities and may be subject to change at any time with little or no notice. Accordingly the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the British Embassy/Consulate-General will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information. For all notarial and legalisation services it is the responsibility of the customer to ascertain the precise requirements of the person requesting the notarial or legalisation service and to satisfy themselves that the service provided by the Embassy/Consulate-General will be accepted.

Published 16 April 2013
Last updated 7 March 2018 + show all updates
  1. Update under "Administer an oath, affirmation or affidavit"
  2. Please be informed about important changes to our notarial and documentary services in Vietnam (effective from 13 November 2017).
  3. The Consular in Hanoi asks for changes to update consular services
  4. Update attachments
  5. First published.