China – Authorising someone to act on your behalf (委托书)
Documents intended for Hong Kong SAR or Macau SAR must be stamped with an apostille from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and do not follow the same process as documents intended for China (mainland).
Power of Attorney (委托书) in China
If you live in Australia, but have business or property dealings in China, unless you are planning to travel to China to do things yourself, you may need to think about appointing someone in China to act on your behalf. Appointing someone to act on your behalf requires you to sign some sort of authority or a legal document known as a power of attorney (委托书).
The power of attorney confirms to other people in China that the person that you have appointed, being your attorney/trustee (受托人) has the power to act on your behalf. Sometimes a simple authorisation letter can be enough depending on where you are using it or what you are using it for. If you want to make sure that there are no problems with your appointment or authority, then you should use a power of attorney. If you are not sure, you should ask a lawyer in China or your attorney for advice.
Templates for a power of attorney (委托书) in China
Copies of the template power of attorney for China can be found on the website of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China (中华人民共和国驻悉尼总领事馆).
Or you can download our modified version (which we have edited to allow for enough space to properly sign and stamp at the bottom of the page).
These templates for the power of attorney are intended for a general purpose and only provided for your information as an example of what our clients commonly use. We do not guarantee that these documents are either relevant or suitable to your specific situation and we encourage you to ask a lawyer in China or your attorney for advice.
Authentication of documents going to China
Before a power of attorney (委托书) can be valid in China, it must be:
- Signed in front of a notary public (公证律师)
- Authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) 澳大利亚外交贸易部, and then
- Authenticated by the Chinese Embassy or consulate in your state (ie, 中华人民共和国驻悉尼总领事馆 for Sydney)
If you do not follow this three-stage process, your power of attorney (or any other authorisation letter) will not be accepted in China as being legally valid and may not be recognised in the way that you want it to be recognised. Unfortunately, it may also mean that you will incur additional costs and suffer unnecessary delays.
Although many clients arrange for their own authentication with DFAT and the Chinese Embassy or consulate, we can also assist you by providing you with this service to avoid the hassles and the hardship of doing it yourself. We will lodge and collect the notarised power of attorney from DFAT, and in special circumstances, we can also assist clients with lodging and collecting the Chinese Consulate in Sydney on your behalf (however, due to the cost we generally only provide this service to a select few clients). Be aware that the whole process can take up to 4 weeks to complete.
For more information about authenticating your document with the Chinese Embassy or consulate, visit the information form found on the website of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China.
Do you have any questions regarding this article?
Whether you're notarising a document for the first time or the hundreth time, the requirements, processes, and terms can be confusing and daunting - or just a pain and a hassle (especially if you need an apostille, or to authenticate or legalise as well). Don't worry! We're here to simplify it, explain it, and help you with what you need to achieve it.
Contact us or visit our Frequently Asked Questions for more information about our notary public services. We've also created a flowchart to help explain notarisation, apostille, authentication and legalisation.
So, what's next?
Why choose Phang Legal for your notary public services?
We're a leading provider of notary public services in Sydney known for our experience and expertise in notarising documents for other countries, our low-cost fixed fees and service offering, and our availability to help on short notice. With our offices conveniently located in Parramatta, the geographic centre of the Sydney metropolitan area, we help clients from across Sydney and beyond with personal, professional and timely notary public services.
This website is maintained by Phang Legal, a boutique law firm in Parramatta and a leading provider of quality notary public services to satisfied clients across Sydney.
Ern Phang is a director of Phang Legal and a notary public (since 2005). Ern regularly writes about his experiences as a notary public and the issues faced by his clients in sending documents to other countries.