Certified true copies for Hong Kong businesses

6 minute read

Copies of documents that are certified by a qualified party and intended for official use are known as certified copies. These copies can be used for activities such as business registration, bank account openings, and government proceedings.

The reason why a third party needs to certify them is to confirm that no alterations were made to the original document. Certified copies are accepted for use everywhere in Hong Kong. And if you need more detail, this certified guide should help.


What are certified true copies?

Certified true copies are copies of an original document that were verified to be authentic, complete, and updated copies of the original documents. A qualified professional stamps every document to certify it is a true copy. If you want to get any document verified, you need to go through document certification.

Before the notary public certifies the copy of the document that you brought in, they will examine the primary document and the copy closely to ensure that the copy is indeed true and with no alterations.

There are multiple names for the same or similar type of documents:

  • Certified copy
  • Certified true copy
  • True copy

It’s best to know the terminology and not get things such as certified documents confused with bank certificates, which is a common mistake made by many.

One thing you need to keep in mind is that when a document has a certified copy, that doesn’t mean that the document itself is authentic.

Why does my business need a certified true copy?

There are many reasons why someone would need a certified true copy of an official document. But for business purposes, the most common reason why professionals in Hong Kong certify copies of documents is to open an account with a Hong Kong bank.

Another reason why someone would need business documents certified is for applying for a business license or business registration certificate in Hong Kong and other jurisdictions.

What does a certified true copy look like?

There are certain elements every copy needs to have:

  • Signature of the appropriate certifier
  • Exact date of when the document was certified
  • Name of the certifier clearly printed out in capital letters and their position on the document
  • Clear indication that the document is a true copy of the original
  • Stamp of certification that confirms the third party’s qualification

Certified true copies vs. certified copies

It’s important to note that there are two types of certified copies:

  • Certified true copy. This is a document issued by the official government office that also issues original documents such as birth certificates for example.
  • Traditional certified copy. This is often a photocopy of the primary document that was brought to a notary public, who then checked its authenticity and certified it.

When does my business need a certified true copy?

If you want to engage in most business activities in Hong Kong and other jurisdictions, you will need to provide certified true copies of original business documents.

This includes activities such as opening a corporate account in a Hong Kong bank and using documents for international transactions made in Hong Kong. Additionally, these copies can be used for legal purposes and in government proceedings.

Who can verify a certified true copy in Hong Kong?

Your certified true copy will be accepted if it’s issued by:

  • Certified public accountant
  • Public notary
  • Lawyer

There are also certain company documents that can be certified by the following people:

  • Practicing Hong Kong company secretary
  • Authorized officer of the Hong Kong high court
  • Consular officer of your home country (if you’re a non-Hong Kong resident)

However, these types of certified copies are only accepted for special cases. If you want to ensure your certified copy is legitimate, make sure to get it certified by either an accountant, a notary, or a lawyer.

How long are certified true copies valid for?

Normally, certified copies are valid for a period of three to six months after the specified date. Since the period is so short, it’s best to certify documents around the time you will need the true copy – never acquire notarized copies in advance.

What do I do if the copy has expired?

After the time period of three to six months has expired, you will have to get the copy certified again if you still need it to be valid.

Where can I get a certified true copy?

To get your official documents certified in Hong Kong, you can do so by visiting a Hong Kong solicitor, a Hong Kong Certified Public Accountant (CPA), or a notary public.

How can Sleek help?

Seeing as how it’s very significant to have certified true copies for multiple business activities, your company won’t be able to operate and grow without obtaining the right documents. And if you want to get your copies certified by a reputable and trusted company, Sleek is the solution.

Sleek can help you with certified documents for all of your business needs. You can use copies certified by Sleek to open a company bank account and much more.

If you’re looking to start your own company or incorporate a business in Hong Kong but aren’t sure of the relevant regulations, Sleek can assist too! We have clients from all over the world, and have experience in helping non-Hong Kong residents acquire company incorporation documents.

For more information, do not hesitate to contact Sleek. Our friendly team is ready to help with your business needs.

Wrap up

Having a notarized copy of an official document is not only beneficial but necessary in many instances for businesses. If you want to get your Hong Kong documents certified, you need to reach out to the appropriate person who will make sure you can use that copy later on for business purposes.

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