Can we sign the contract before going to the notary office?

For some types of contracts, especially those for the transfer of land use rights, ownership of houses and other assets attached to land (also commonly known as a contract for sale and purchase of land), they must be notarized at a notarial practice organization. However, many people wonder if one or both parties can sign the contract before bringing it to the notary office due to long distance, tight schedule or other objective, subjective reasons.

To answer this question, we would like to invite Readers to take a look at the following article.

The essence of notarizing a contract is to certify the authenticity and legality of the entire content and form of that contract by the notary. Suppose that a signature has already been on the contract, it will not be possible for a notary to guarantee the integrity of the authenticity and legality of that contract as there may be cases when someone forged signatures, or a party was forced to sign, or he/she signed the contract when being unconscious, etc.

Therefore, Article 48 of the Law on Notary 2014 stipulates the signing and fingerprinting of notarized documents as follows:

“1. Requesters, witnesses and interpreters shall sign contracts and transactions in front of the notary.

Fingerprinting can only replace the signing in case the requesters, witnesses, or interpreters cannot sign due to the disability or inability to sign. When fingerprinting, requesters, witnesses and interpreters shall use the right index finger; in case it is impossible to make a fingerprint by using the right index finger, the left index finger shall be used; If it is not possible to make a fingerprint with those fingers, another finger shall be used and it must be clearly stated which finger it is, which hand it belongs to.

Fingerprinting and signing can be simultaneous in the following cases:

a) Notarization of the will;

b) At the request of the notarization requester;

c) The notary deems it necessary to protect the interests of the notarization requester.”

According to the above provisions, the parties MUST NOT SIGN THE CONTRACT IN ADVANCE but must sign it in front of a notary. If for some reasons, the parties cannot go to the notary office, they can pay the prescribed fee and then request the notary to come to their place for notarization.



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The article is based on the current legal regulations at the time of writing, and it may no longer be valid or relevant at the time you are reading it due to changes of the law. The article, therefore, is seen as reference only.

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