A notary is a person who is authorized by a specific state or country to certify that a document is authentic. You might be asked to have your documents notarized before presenting them to certain government offices or even places of employment. Documents that commonly need notarization include powers of attorney (yipoi koach) and translations of foreign birth certificates and marriage licenses.
The government regulates notarization fees. These prices are subject to change yearly.
In Israel, only some senior lawyers are certified as notaries. Make sure to use an Israeli notary if you need to present your document in Israel!
To certify a standard statement or document, the notary issues a typed certificate in Hebrew (and other languages, if needed) and fastens it to the document with a ribbon and seal.
If you need a notarized translation of a foreign document (usually required for languages other than English), you will need to use a lawyer who is proficient in both Hebrew and the foreign language. The lawyer can either certify an existing translation or do the translation himself.
American notarization can be done at the American Embassy or Consulate with an appointment for a fee of $50. Some U.S. notaries may also be able to notarize documents while in Israel. For more information on the notarization services at the U.S. Consulate, visit their website.
Apostille & Ishur Nisuin
When applying for a visa, filing a marriage or at any other bureaucratic juncture with Misrad Hapnim (Ministry of Interior), you will be asked to present legal documents as proof of your personal status in Israel. Depending on the matter you are dealing with, these documents may include your birth certificate, marriage certificate, and others.
One who holds Israeli citizenship needs to present foreign documents along with an extra level of verification, called an apostille. This means that if an Israeli was born outside Israel, or got married outside Israel, his birth certificate or marriage certificate from abroad needs an apostille attached (see below) before the document will be accepted by the Israeli authorities. An Israeli citizen’s foreign marriage certificate must have this extra level of verification even when presented by a non-Israeli spouse.
For a marriage certificate, one may acquire an ishur nisuin from the Israeli Rabbinate in place of an apostille. Generally, it is less complicated – and often more timely – to apply for an apostille rather than for an ishur nisuin, unless one already has all the required documents and needs the certification immediately. See our guide to “Marriage License in Israel” for further information.
An apostille, French for “certification,” is a certificate that authenticates public documents so that they can be recognized in foreign countries. An apostille must be obtained from the state or country that issued the original document.
In the United States, every state has a slightly different procedure. An apostille can be easily obtained in person by walking into the relevant office in the document’s state of issuance. It may be applied for by mail. There are also express businesses that provide expedited service for a fee. For a New York State apostille application form, visit www.dos.ny.gov.
Certain embassies in Israel, such as the Swiss embassy, require that Israeli documents be presented with an (Israeli) apostille stamp, as well. An apostille on an Israeli document can be obtained at Misrad Hachutz. An appointment is required and can be made via myvisit.com.
Come with the original document. The fee is approximately 35 NIS per document. This fee can be paid on the spot, online or at any post office (even in advance of your visit).
Misrad Hachutz (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Sderot Yitzchak Rabin 9, Kiryat Hale’um, Jerusalem
Hours for verification of documents:
Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday 8:30 am-12:30 pm; Sunday also 2:00 pm-4:00 pm (closed erev chag and chol hamoed Pesach)
Phone: 02-530-3358, 02-530-3301 – operates Monday through Thursday, 2:00 pm-4:00 pm
Criminal Background Check
You may need an Israeli criminal background check (rishum al meida plili) for an endeavor in Misrad Hapnim, a foreign embassy, or even a potential workplace. To obtain a criminal background check from the Israel Police, call the police department at 110 for information on the location nearest you. If you possess a teudat zehut, this can be ordered online. Processing time is about one month.
In central Jerusalem, you can obtain a criminal background check in Binyan Klal, Yaffo 97, from 8:00 am-3:30 pm. The office can be reached at 02-538-1216.