Notary Public


A lot of the documents need to be signed in front of a notary public in order to be legally enforceable. Sometime, even if the documents do not have such requirement, we will still recommend our client to sign important documents in front of a notary public, so the parties cannot dispute or deny the authenticity and validity of the signature. We have notary public services right in our office, so we can provide “one-stop” service for our clients. 

Three-Level Certification

What is Three-Level Certification?

Three-Level Certification, as its name implies, is the process of notarizing and certifying the same document by three different levels of notary public, courts and/or government agencies. It enables a document issued by a country to be recognized and legally effective in the territory of another country. It is the process of legalizing documents to ensure the authenticity and validity of the seals and signatures on the documents.

For example, a US company plans to invest in a wholly foreign-owned enterprise in Shanghai. The Shanghai Local Business Council and the Industry and Commerce Bureau will first require US companies to provide documents that are legally established and functioning in the United States to prove that the US company is eligible to be an investment entity. The Shanghai Local Business Council and the Industry and Commerce Bureau have no way of judging the authenticity of the legal establishment of the US company and the normal operation of the documents themselves, therefore, each signature on the document can be added and certified through Three-Level Certification, ie

  • Level 1: The original government agency issued a copy of the original or certified copy (Certified Copy);

  • Level 2: The Secretary of State signs an additional certificate (Apostille) for the state government officials in the Level 1 document;

  • Level 3: The Chinese Embassy or Consulate will certify the signature of the Secretary of State in the secondary document (Legalization).

Only the documents that have been certified by the Chinese embassy or consulate will be recognized and accepted by the Shanghai Local Business Council and the Industrial and Commercial Bureau as the subject qualification certificate of the US investor.

When apply the Three-Level Certification?

Generally speaking, important documents issued by foreign institutions are required to apply for Three-Level Certification when they are submitted to a government, a court, etc. for identification, qualification, husband and wife, property ownership, and entrustment. 

Children born in the United States return to the country to register, and the U.S. birth certificate must undergo Three-Level Certification;

The marriage and divorce documents obtained in the United States require Three-Level Certification when used in China;

Initiating legal proceedings against US companies in China, as well as investing in foreign companies in China, and submitting certificates to the Chinese courts, local business commissions, and industry and commerce bureaus for the legal establishment and normal operation of US companies under the Three-Level Certification;

If the property or other major property is disposed of in China and the party needs to sign the identity or provide proof of status, but it is temporarily unable to return to China, the corresponding power of attorney or other relevant certification is required.

How to apply for Three-Level Certification?

Although the Level 3 certification sounds like a three-step operation, there are differences in the requirements for the Three-Level Certification organization, process, and related preparation materials due to different functional documents. The process of Three-Level Certification in material preparation and final certification documents is still cumbersome and complicated.