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Notary services

The consular office exercises – exclusively with regard to Italian citizens who are abroad on a permanent or temporary basis – certain notarial functions provided for by our legal system. Essentially, these are the reception of public documents (procurements, wills), well-known acts, authentications and subscriptions to private records.

However, there are some differences between the consular powers in the field of notaries and those conferred on notaries operating in Italy, substantially linked to the different position of the Head of the Consular Representation, an official of the State, and that of the notary, freelance.

In fact:

  • the notary may also be called upon to act as the client’s legal adviser; he may therefore assume information about a person’s solvency or act as a broker in a transaction, or advise the client about family or financial relationships. The Consular Authority cannot carry out similar activities. Its advice, if requested, must be limited to the legal field, with particular regard to the validity of the acts requested of it. Its assistance must be limited to the legality of the acts envisaged and not to their economic usefulness.
  • the notary may sometimes be the client’s agent with respect to the advertising and the execution of formalities relating to the acts received by him. No such activity may be carried out by the Head of the Consular Representation.
  • while the notary is entitled to a fee, all consular acts are subject only to the tax indicated in the Consular Tariff.

The Italian citizen abroad can, alternatively, formalize the act with a public notary officially accredited in the country of residence. Subsequently, if the country has adhered to the Hague Convention of 1961 for the abolition of legalization, it must ensure that the document is affixed «apostille» by the competent authority in the country of residence. If the country has not adhered to the above-mentioned Convention, it will have to legalize the signature of the notary by the Italian consular representation.