07. Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some questions that have been asked of us before, and other questions which we can preemptively address.
Question: Can you visit my home at 7pm on a weekday? (i.e. a housecall / house-call)
Answer: Yes, we understand that modern life is hectic, and you are probably tied up with a job or other duties during traditional office hours. Our service meets your needs perfectly. We travel everywhere in Cork City and suburbs, including to your home, or indeed anywhere else convenient for you such as a Cafe or other location where you might happen to be in the evening.
Question: When might I need a Commissioner for Oaths? / Why do I need a Commissioner for Oaths?
Answer: Typically you will have received a form – from some agency – which requires your signature to be witnessed. This might be an Affidavit, Statutory Declaration or a Deed. A Commissioner for Oaths acts as an independent witness.
Question: Do you have an office that we can travel to? / What is your address?
Answer: We specialise in offering a travelling service only, whereby we travel to you.
There are many benefits to using our convenient, customised service. You do not have to wait in traffic, you do not have to pay for parking, you do not have to wait in a waiting room.
Our rubber stamps (which will be stamped on the end of your documents) contain our physical address for verification purposes. Our receipts also contain our address, but we do not mention our address on this website because it is not staffed during the daytime, because we will be out travelling to customers.
We always carry proof that we are a Commissioner for Oaths – You can inspect our credentials in the form of our Supreme Court Certificate of Appointment and Personal Passport. We are also established so long that we own the domain names “CommissionerForOaths.ie” along with the extra domains of “CommissionerOfOaths.ie”, “PeaceCommissioner.ie”, “Oaths.ie”, “Affidavit.ie” (those all being terms that customers search for). Our service has also been mentioned positively in the media.
Question: Will you travel beyond Cork City and suburbs?
Answer: Yes, while our main service area is Cork City and suburbs (see map), we can also travel further into County Cork. We would be happy to quote a fee based on the particular distance and time.
Question: I need a certified copy, but I don’t have a photocopier
Answer: Yes, we have a portable photocopier and scanner.
Question: Can you sign my documents in a neutral location such as a Library or Coffee Shop/Cafe?
Answer: Yes, we will travel to any location in Cork City and suburbs. We understand that some documents can be of a sensitive personal or financial nature and you may not wish your family / housemates to know of them.
Question: Is a Commissioner for Oaths paid by the Government, State, or any other official body?
Answer: No. A Commissioner for Oaths does not receive any state funding, nor does a Commissioner for Oaths receive any payment from whatever agency, company, or individual may have asked you to have your signature witnessed.
Instead, a Commissioner for Oaths is an independent witness who charges a fee directly to the person who wishes to use their service (i.e. you – the customer).
Question: Will you sign my documents for free?
Answer: No. We operate a convenient customised travelling service, focusing on evenings and weekends. There are costs to providing this service, and so we do charge a fee, just like any other service provider.
Question: I need a “Letter from a Commissioner for Oaths” saying [x y z]
Answer: This is broad question. It is likely that you do not need a “Letter” per say, but rather some other document which we can stamp and sign as a Commissioner for Oaths. We can accommodate most requests because we have forms stationery for many purposes. Please contact us to let us know a) what is the name of the agency has asked for this “Letter”, and b) what information do they wish you to “prove”.
Question: Do you provide legal advice?
Answer: No. While we can help you with the completion of your forms to a limited extent by using our experience and knowledge to assist you, a Commissioner for Oaths does not provide legal – nor indeed – financial advice. The role of a Commissioner for Oaths is to be an independent witness. A Commissioner for Oaths is normally only concerned with the verification of your identity, your name, your address, your signature, and your ability in a general way to understand the document you are signing.
Question: What is the fee for signing a Naturalisation / Citizenship application?
Answer: On first glance, it may appear that you need only one Commissioner for Oaths signature, namely on the Statutory Declaration page within the large application form booklet. However, on further reading of the instructions is then seen that more signatures are required from a Commissioner for Oaths. A Commissioner also signs the following
- a) The rear of the 2 Passport Photographs
- b) A copy of your Birth Certificate in the foreign language
- c) A copy of the English translation of your Birth Certificate
- d) If you have changed your name then a copy of your Marriage certificate or deed poll
Overall, the number of documents to be signed by a Commissioner for Oaths in a Naturalisation/Citizenship application varies massively depending on the individual circumstances of the customer. We can provide a quotation if you let us know
- a) your country of current citizenship, and
- b) whether or not you are applying on the basis of marriage to an Irish Citizen
Question: A work colleague of happens to be a Commissioner for Oaths (or similar) can he/she sign my form?
Answer: No. A Commissioner for Oaths (or similar) must be an independent witness who does not have an interest in the document. Depending on the importance of your document having a work colleague witness your signature could be very risky for you because your document could be found to be invalid in the future if it was challenged.
Question: Can you ‘just’ sign my document?
Answer: A person who wants a document signed (referred to as “the appearer”) will often innocently say “I just need your signature on this document”- a statement that constitutes a wholly disproportionate description of what the Commissioner may eventually have to do. The response is designed, sometimes unintentionally, to minimise the importance of the Commissioner’s involvement and, by inference, the fee. A Commissioner for Oaths signature is not a quick autograph that can be affixed to any page.
Mr David O’Sullivan Cork Commissioner for Oaths operates a customised travelling service. The process of having a document signed includes: making the appointment; travelling to and from you, waiting time, identifying you, discussing matters with you, checking and dealing with documents you provide, amending documents and/or completing any blanks in documents that you provide, considering and dealing with any instructions that come with documents you provide, binding documents securely and sealing documents (if necessary), and so on.
Question: Do you charge VAT?
Answer: Commissioner for Oaths fees are not taxable. Accordingly we have not registered for VAT. A note at the end of our receipts explains this, and this will be acceptable to your Accounts Dept.
Question: In relation to Photo ID; what is an ‘EU ID card’?
Answer: Since 2008, when a person is signing an Affidavit or Statutory Declaration their witness (the Commissioner for Oaths) has been required to see valid Photo ID. A Passport is the most popular form, and is considered superior to a driving licence, most likely because at the time of writing low-quality paper licences were still being issued, whereas now the NDLS has switched to a plastic credit card sized licences with anti counterfeit measures included. Another form of ID that is acceptable is an “EU ID card”. Ireland does not issue these but mainland EU countries do. Examples of EU ID card titles are: Dowód osobisty, Personalausweis, Carte d’identité, CNIS, Documento nacional de identidad (DNI), Identiteitskaart, Cartão de Cidadão, Lichna karta, Občanský průkaz, Občiansky preukaz, Isikutunnistus, henkilökortti, Carta d’Identità Elettronica, Identitätskarte, nationellt id-kort, Osobna iskaznica.
Question: Will you travel to Dublin?
Answer: No, we are based in Cork City and suburbs, and will also travel to County Cork.
We do not cover other counties.
Question: Can a Commissioner for Oaths decline or refuse to sign a document?
Answer: We specialise in a convenient travelling service, so the first time we see your document will be after we have travelled to you. By that stage, we will have incurred travel and time costs. So, at the booking stage we will ask you some routine questions to establish the nature of your document, and ensure that we can indeed sign it. If we cannot sign your document we will suggest an alternative solution or service provider. Accordingly, please do feel free to contact us if you are in doubt.
Examples of when we cannot sign a document are
- 1) When we are asked to ‘witness’ the signature of a person who is not present. This is known as signing in absentia, and it not allowed.
- 2) Where the signer is not able to provide adequate photo ID, or otherwise identify themselves.
- 3) Another reason for refusal is where a Commissioner is of the view that a person does not understand what they are signing, or will refuse to sign on arrival.
Question: Can you witness a signature of a person who is not here?
(e.g. because they are on holidays, or are too elderly to travel)
Answer: No. For a signature to be witnessed the person making it must be physically present, and must sign in front of the Commissioner for Oaths. The practice of having a signature ‘witnessed’ without the signer being present is referred to as ‘witnessing in absentia’ and is not allowed by rules. The practical problems of this are that a document – relied upon in Court for example – may subsequently be challenged and found to be invalid. We provide a travelling service so we would be happy to travel to any person who needs a Commissioner for Oaths in Cork.
Question: Do you serve summons / are you a summons server?
Answer: No, we do not provide that service. However, for convenience, we can deliver other signed documents if a customer wishes.
Question: I have an Affidavit or Statutory Declaration, can I have it signed by a Garda / Member of An Garda Siochana, instead of a Commissioner for Oaths?
Answer: No. In Ireland, a member of the police force cannot sign an Affidavit or Statutory Declaration for the public. In Ireland that function is performed by a Commissioner for Oaths. It is true that in some other common law jurisdictions (such as some Australian states) a member of the police force can sign such documents, but – to reiterate – that is not the case in Ireland.
Question: What is the Irish for Commissioner for Oaths?
Answer: In the Irish language / Gaeilge the office is referred to as ‘Coimisinéir m mionnaí’ or ‘Coimisinéirí Mionn’. In Polish the closest wording is ‘Komisarz ds. Przysięgi’.
Question: Will your Commissioner for Oaths signature be acceptable to CORU, HIQA, HSE etc.?
Answer: Yes. Wherever you see ‘Commissioner for Oaths’ listed as an acceptable signatory on a form in Ireland then our signature will be accepted and recognised. Forms can often be written incorrectly, so even if your form does not specifically mention ‘Commissioner for Oaths’ as an option we can still sign all Ireland Affidavits and Statutory Declarations.
Question: Are you a Notary Public?
Answer: No – but please keep reading – our title is ‘Commissioner for Oaths’ meaning we can sign all documents for use in the Republic of Ireland. In addition, we can sign many – but not all – documents that are being sent abroad. In contrast, a ‘Notary Public’ is a person who specialises in foreign documents only. The Faculty of Notaries Public in Ireland does not publish a list of fees, but it is generally understood that a Commissioner for Oaths tends to be cheaper per document, so many customers would rather use a Commissioner than a Notary. In an open marketplace, this is understandable. For more information see our page about Foreign Documents.
Question: Can you Notarise / Notarize my document?
Answer: Yes. Both of those words used to be mostly American terms and referred to having a document signed by a U.S. Notary Public in particular, but (like many words in Irish English) they have crept into common usage in Ireland and have come to mean “to have a document signed by a person with a legal type title”, so, yes, as a Commissioner for Oaths we can “Notarise” your document.
Question: Can you witness the signing of a will?
Answer: In theory, yes, we can witness a signature on almost any document. However, in practice, we do not witness the signing of wills. This is because it is normal for a will to be drawn up by a Solicitor, who will also give advice as to its contents and merits. In that case the Solicitor will normally provide the necessary witnesses from within his/her own office (typically a Secretary), without the need for an external Commissioner for Oaths such as us. So, in conclusion, we do not witness wills. We can, however, certify that a will is a ‘true copy’ of the original.
Question: Will you witness the creation of a power of attorney document?
Re: Ireland power of attorney documents:
In theory yes, because this is a deed, so you need a) yourself b) a neutral witness (over 18, not related to you, of a different address etc.) c) the Commissioner for Oaths. However, we do not provide legal advice so this overall task is normally performed by a Solicitor.
Re: Foreign power of attorney documents:
Yes, sometimes. We can sign power of attorney documents for certain other countries. For example, we can sign documents for the Bailiwick of Jersey in the Channel Islands. Again, we do not provide legal advice.
Question: Can you certify documents for use in Dubai/USA/US/UAE/Bulgaria/Cyprus?
Answer: No. You should instead see an Irish Notary Public. Mr David O’Sullivan Cork Commissioner for Oaths can suggest the names of some local Notaries if you wish.