Notary services in the USA: what issues at home immigrants can solve remotely - ForumDaily
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Notary services in the USA: what issues at home immigrants can solve remotely

Probably there is nothing more important than having the necessary documents always at hand. Especially when living in another country. But it is impossible to foresee all cases of life. So what to do if some document is still not available?

Photo: Shutterstock

Let's start with the main thing. If you do not have any document, it is not at all necessary to go to your home country for it. Comes to the rescue notary and a power of attorney.

Power of attorney

It is established by law that power of attorney a written authorization issued by one person to another for representation before third parties is recognized. Power of attorney for transactions requiring a notarial form; to submit applications for state registration of rights or transactions; as well as the disposal of the rights registered in state registers must be notarized. If the power of attorney is issued abroad (in the countries participating in the Hague Convention of 1961), it must contain, in addition to notarization, also an apostille.

The maximum term of a power of attorney is not limited by law. However, if the period of its validity is not specified in it, it remains in force for a year from the date of its execution. A power of attorney that does not indicate the date of its execution is void.

An important part of any power of attorney issued abroad is apostille... The apostille confirms the authenticity of the signature and seal on the document, without which a foreign power of attorney in most cases will not have legal force.

Many people from post-Soviet countries are suspicious of the apostille. I often hear the question: “Will they definitely accept your power of attorney? We did it before and didn’t accept it, because in Russia they don’t know what an apostille is. ” No, it’s not like that. Some documents are not accepted in Russia not because they do not know what an apostille is. Russia joined the Hague Convention back in 1992, that is, 30 years ago. The problem must be looked for in the documents themselves. And of course, don't rely on samples downloaded from the Internet or compiled by hobbyists.

ЗThe legality of Rosreestr's latest requests raises questions - recently they began to require that a power of attorney issued abroad be drawn up by a lawyer. From the point of view of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation, this requirement is unlawful. But from the point of view of common sense they can be understood. I can imagine how many amateur powers of attorney passed through their hands. Clients have repeatedly approached me with a request to make their power of attorney correct, because previously documents drawn up by amateurs in Russia had been rejected. But I repeat once again: they rejected it not because of the apostille, but because of incorrect wording and errors in the text of the document.

On the subject: Quarantine and documents: how to remotely solve bureaucratic issues in Russia and the USA

So, having issued a power of attorney to your representative, you can resolve many issues remotely. The list of these questions can be continued for a long time, it is easier to say what cannot be done by proxy:

  1. You cannot marry by proxy.
  2. By power of attorney, you cannot register at the place of residence or at the place of stay (that is, register).
  3. By power of attorney, you cannot deregister (sign out). The latter, however, can be done remotely, but by personal application, and not by power of attorney.

How quickly and smoothly your transaction will go, how quickly you will receive documents from the registry office and much more depends on how correctly your documents are drawn up.


I will separately dwell on documents of the registry office... What in ordinary life we ​​may not need for years, under conditions of immigration can become vital. For example, if you do not have at least one civil status certificate, be it a birth, marriage or divorce certificate, your chances of passing any interview at the Immigration Service will tend to zero. Therefore, you need to keep all documents ready or know how to get them quickly, that is, how to properly draw up powers and who to entrust the implementation of your order.

What documents are issued by the registry office

Birth certificate. The most important document in your life. Without it, you will not be able to start any immigration process. But what if your current surname is different from the one you were given at birth? It is common for girls to change their last name when getting married. And some of us get married throughout our lives. The change of surname in this case can be confirmed by:

  • Marriage certificate;
  • certificate that the marriage was registered and subsequently terminated;
  • divorce certificate, if the surname was changed upon divorce;
  • certificate of name change (if the name change was carried out separately from registration or divorce);
  • a court decision (if the name was changed by a court decision).

To obtain a birth certificate, you need to show the connection between your original last name and your current one.

A new birth certificate is needed not only if it is lost. It may be required in many other situations. For example, the Costa Rican immigration service requires a second “first fresh” birth certificate, that is, issued no later than 6 months before the date of application to them. It is unclear what can change in such a fundamental document as a birth certificate, but the fact remains that this is the case in Costa Rica.

Quite recently, a girl who is trying to reunite with her parents from Ukraine turned to me for a legal opinion. Despite the fact that this is a fairly standard procedure, the documents were prepared for her by an immigration lawyer with almost 40 years of experience in this field. But he overlooked something, thought it over, and things went wrong.

Our heroine, born back in 1971, is called Nadezhda. Nadezhda was careful about her documents and did not lose them. Therefore, she also had an original birth certificate, without the need to obtain a second one. But here’s the problem: in 2005, she entered the United States on a Ukrainian passport, in which her name was listed as Nadiya. It seems that everyone should understand that this is the Ukrainian version of the name Nadezhda, but in fact it is not clear to everyone. The US Immigration Service did not see any connection between these names. But the girl was given the opportunity to prove her relationship, that is, to prove that Nadezhda and Nadiya are the same name. She turned to me for an examination. But the issue could have been resolved more simply and much cheaper. To do this, it was necessary to obtain a second birth certificate, which in 2021 would be issued in Ukrainian, that is, the name on it would be indicated as Nadiya, and all these problems could be avoided.

On the subject: Why is a birth certificate a very important document, especially for immigrants

To immigrate to some other countries, for example, to Israel, it is very often necessary to present to the immigration service not only your birth certificate, but also the birth certificates of your parents and grandparents. Immigration to Israel, by the way, has now gained immense popularity (along with immigration to Costa Rica), and not only for citizens of the countries of the former USSR, but also for Americans.

An example of this is Nefesh-be-Nefesh. (Nefesh B'Nefesh, soul בנפש) is a non-profit organization that assists Jews in the United States, Canada and Great Britain immigrating to Israel. I help many people collect documents for travel to Israel, and these are birth certificates, marriage certificates, divorce certificates, certificates of no criminal record from the countries of the former USSR, as well as birth certificates of children born in America, American marriage certificates and American court decisions on divorce.

It is well known that in order to determine the right to immigrate to Israel, you need to confirm your Jewish roots. But during the Soviet period, many were forced to hide their origins. And now, in order to confirm it, you need to get from the archives the birth certificates of relatives who have long gone. To obtain such documents, two conditions must be met:

  • it is necessary to prove the relationship, that is, submit documents to the registry office confirming the relationship;
  • it is necessary to prove that the person died, that is, to submit a death certificate.

It goes without saying how important a birth certificate is, especially an American one, which gives its holder the right to receive an American passport. I have come across many situations where particularly cunning parents issued two birth certificates for their children - American and Russian. And a man lived in Russia, not suspecting that he was an American citizen.

Karina Duval, a lawyer licensed in the United States as a foreign consultant, with more than 20 years of experience. Photo courtesy of Karina Duval.

Marriage certificate. Quite common are appeals on the issue of recovering various evidence from the United States, as well as court decisions. Most often these are, of course, marriage certificates. Many people get married in America, especially in Nevada, where you can get married within one day, and then leave the States and ask the question: how to get a marriage certificate? It is good, if at all, because some people are in the false belief that if a marriage is concluded abroad and no one knows about it, then you are, in general, free. Such people enter into new marriages without dissolving the previous ones, while giving rise to a tangle of new problems.

But the majority understands that no matter how secret a marriage is, and wherever it is registered, it exists and generates standard legal consequences, in particular, the right to division of property in case of divorce and the right to inheritance at death. Therefore, the marriage certificate must be restored. And if the marriage exists formally, such a marriage must be dissolved. Contrary to common misconceptions, you can dissolve a foreign marriage “at home”, that is, in Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, etc. Legal Karina Duval's office has been specializing in international divorces for over 20 years.

Death certificates are also extremely important documents, and not only for inheritance. If a person died in America, this often causes insurmountable difficulties for relatives who remain in Russia (and other countries).

Are extremely important divorce documents... Especially when a person lives in Russia and the marriage is dissolved abroad. In my practice, once there was a case when the spouses lived in perfect harmony with a long and happy life. And only after the death of his wife, the husband found out that he was not her first and only spouse. Sorting through the papers of the deceased, he found an American marriage certificate. Years of litigation began to invalidate the marriage, which ended only after I found a divorce certificate in the American court archives.

I would also like to dwell on the problem deregistration... As mentioned above, deregistration by power of attorney is not allowed, but it is quite allowed by personal application. Such a statement must be drawn up in the prescribed form, notarized, with an apostille and a notarized translation into Russian. The validity of such a statement is limited and is only one month. The internal affairs bodies can remove a citizen from the registration register after a month, but there is no need to risk it.

Why is deregistration necessary and is it necessary? The answer to this question will be individual for everyone. Most often, this need is due to the sale of real estate.

In conclusion, I want to say about execution of a notarized translation... Documents must be translated and certified in the country in which you intend to use them. That is, if you have a Russian document that you intend to use in the United States, then file a translation in the United States. And vice versa, if you have an American document issued for action in Russia (certificate of being alive, power of attorney, certificate of registry office, court decision), then these documents need to be translated in Russia.

Your question Karine Duval

Material prepared in partnership with

Karina Duval - lawyer, notary, expert in international law

Russian registration: #78/857
NYS registration: 4775086
Notary public, registration: 02DU6376542

tel: + 7 (921) 946-0582 (in Russia) / + 1 (718) 704-8558 (in USA)
[email protected],

Read also on ForumDaily:

Lawyer opinion: why do immigrant children need citizenship of their parents ’native countries

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Immigration and divorce: stories of collapsed international marriages through the eyes of a lawyer

Quarantine and documents: how to remotely solve bureaucratic issues in Russia and the USA

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