Certified True Copy in Hong Kong: Your Complete Guide

Aubrey Yung

If you want to open a business bank account in Hong Kong, you may have been asked to provide certified true copies of your company or personal identification documents. Certified copies and certified true copies of documents are also commonly requested when registering your business, making business deals or major land and real estate purchases. But if you’ve been asked to provide a certified true copy of a document, what does it actually mean?

This guide covers what a certified true copy is, what it will look like, and who can help. We’ll also take a look at how you can save money when doing business in Hong Kong, thanks to Wise international business payments.

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What does certified true copy mean?

A certified true copy of a document is one which has been examined, checked and certified as a true copy of the original document. Certified true copies are used to show that there has been no interference, and no changes made, when copying an important document. They’re used frequently when you need to provide important paperwork, but you can’t hand over the original as you need to retain it for future use.

You could be asked for a certified true copy of documents at any time, but they’re often used when doing business. For example, you may need to provide a certified true copy of your Business Registration Certificate or personal identity documents, which can be retained and held on file by your bank when you open a business account.

Is certified true copy the same as notarized?

The terms certified true copy and notarized copy are often used interchangeably. If you’re not sure exactly what format of documents you need to provide, check with the institution requesting them to make sure you get it right the first time.

Certified True Copy Format

The professional you ask to help you with your documents will be able to confirm the certified true copy requirements which apply in your case. You’re also advised to check with the individual bank or institution which has requested the documents, in case they have any specific needs.

In most cases, the document should include the following:

  • Certifier’s signature and printed name
  • Date of certifying
  • Position of the person certifying the document
  • The statement: I confirm that this is a true copy of the original - or words to that effect
  • Number of pages included

It’s worth noting that certified true copies are usually required to be in English or Chinese. If your original documents are in a different language you’ll need to have them translated.

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Who can certify a true copy in Hong Kong?

In Hong Kong a certified true copy provided by a CPA (Certified Public Accountant), a Hong Kong solicitor or a Notary Public will almost always be accepted by banks and other requesting organisations. It’s worth checking the specifics asked for by the requesting institution, as there are variations in the rules. For example, to open a Maybank business account in Hong Kong you could have your documents certified by a CPA, solicitor or notary - or another eligible individual like an embassy officer if you’re outside of Hong Kong, a Justice of the Peace, or an officer of the bank itself.¹

You’ll be able to find a suitable professional through one of the official bodies which represent Hong Kong registered CPAs, solicitors and notaries, or you can ask for personal recommendations from people you know if you’d prefer. Here are some places to start your search:

  • Find a CPA through the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA)²
  • Look for Hong Kong solicitors near you through the Hong Kong Law Society³
  • Contact a Notary Public via the Hong Kong Society of Notaries⁴

Certified true copy fee

When you’re deciding how best to get your documents certified by an appropriate certifier, it pays to check the exact requirements of the institution requesting the documents in the first place. Different types of services are available for certifying documents, and the costs can vary widely, so checking out the range of options open to you is a smart move.

Doing some research will mean you find the best service for your needs, balancing both cost and convenience. Cheaper options are certainly out there - but you’ll want to check that the service is legitimate and will be recognised by the institution requesting your documents in the first place.

Certified true copy validity period

Before you get your documents certified, check the certification validity period. It’s common for copies to remain valid for only 3 or 6 months for example, which means you won’t want to get certified true copies prepared too much in advance of the time you need them.

Now you have all you need to get started, whether you’ve been asked for certified true copies of a document to open your business bank account, register your company in Hong Kong, or buy a new property.

And when you’re paying companies, contractors or staff overseas, remember to use Wise international business payments, to protect your profits and save on admin time.

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Sources used in this article:

1 May Bank: Hong Kong Corporate Account
2 Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants
3 The Law Society of Hong Kong
4 Hong Kong Society of Notaries

Sources last checked on 18-Oct-2021

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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