Authentication of signature: when and how to do it

What is signature authentication? What is it for? How much? Let’s see the aspects in this short guide.

So let’s see together what signature authentication or signature authentication is. The signature authentication is a certificate that is made by a public official and that testifies that the signature at the bottom of any document (or the signature of the document itself) was affixed in his presence after having ascertained the identity of the person who signed the document.

In practice, it is an attestation that the signature on this document is true or authentic.


  1. When can signature authentication be requested?
  2. Where is the signature authentication done?
  3. Notary and administrative authentication
  4. Signature authentication: how to apply
  5. Authentication of signature: how much does it cost?
  6. Covid-19: what changes for signature authentication

When can signature authentication be requested?

Let’s see, therefore, what are the cases for which authentication of signature may be required or when this is necessary. Authentication of signature may be required:

  • For some substitutive declarations of the deed of notoriety. Substitute declarations are, in practice, declarations that are made by the interested party under his responsibility. In particular, when they concern replacement of the deed of notoriety, they must concern facts, conditions and personal qualities of which the declarant is directly aware and which concern themselves or other non-self-certified persons, to be presented to subjects such as banks, insurance companies and others. private entities.
  • it can be requested for applications to be presented to private individualsbut not to be presented to public offices or public service managers.
  • it can be requested for proxies for the collection of economic benefits by third partiessuch as, for example (the most classic one perhaps) for the withdrawal of another person’s pension.

Documents that are not written in Italian cannot be authenticated or a signature affixed at the bottom of a document written in a foreign language cannot be authenticated; this is because the official language of the Italian Republic is Italian. In these cases, therefore, any document that is presented in a foreign language must always be accompanied by a suitable translation that is made in accordance with the law.

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Where is the signature authentication done?

Once you have seen, therefore, when it is possible to request the signature authentication, it is fair to ask yourself where you can do the signature authentication. Let’s see, therefore, which are the subjects enabled for authentication.

  • The Mayor, at the registry office of any municipality on the national territory;
  • an officialwho has been appointed by the Mayor of a Municipality and who is competent in receiving the documentation presented;
  • notaryof the national territory;
  • clerkat the court chancellery;
  • municipal secretaryof any municipality in the national territory.

Notary and administrative authentication

It is necessary to know that there are two types of authentication of signature: one called notarial and one administrative . There are therefore two types of authentication that change according to the person who carries them out: therefore, depending on whether it is a notary or a mayor or a clerk or a municipal secretary you will have an authentication with a different name. For notarial or administrative authentication, however, it must be said that the function is the same: to authenticate that the signature at the bottom of a document (the type of which must be one of those seen previously) is authentic after having duly verified its identity by the person issuing the authentication. But what are the differences that make the two authentic ones unique? Let’s see these differences in detail.

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The administrative authentication serves to prove the authenticity of the signature only, while the information contained in the documents presented already comes from other documents. The effectiveness of the authentication, therefore, is not extended to the information contained in these documents, but is valid only for the signature affixed to the documents.

The notarial authentication , on the other hand, can only be made in favor of Italian citizens but, unlike the previous one, it serves to prove the authenticity of both the signature and to check that the content of the document or documents that are presented comply with the law. , morality and public order.

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In practice, putting it in other words, while the administrative authentication only verifies the authenticity of the signature of the documents, the notarial one verifies both the signature and the content, or rather the origin of the documents presented to be authenticated. This subtle difference can have, and indeed has, a very different value depending on the type of documentation that needs to be authenticated. It goes without saying that while the administrative authentication has a lesser value, the notarial one has a legal value that is much stronger since even the documentation that has been presented has been verified: the origin of these documents, therefore, is certain while for the administrative authentication only the signature at the bottom is certain as it is verified by person by the public official by checking an identity document.

READ ALSO: Self-certification: what is it and how does it work?

Signature authentication: how to apply

Therefore, given the difference between authentic notarial signature and authentic administrative signature, let’s see how to apply to authenticate a document or rather how to apply for the authentication of a signature affixed to the bottom of a document.

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The application or declaration can be presented directly to the interested party or sent by post or fax or electronically by attaching an unauthenticated photocopy of a valid identity document. If a citizen is unable to present himself in person for serious reasons of health , disability or other, he can ask another person to report to the registry office of his municipality (or in the municipality in which he resides) to make arrangements with the officer of the registry office in charge of ensuring that this is the one to go to the home of the person unable to move to authenticate the signature.

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If, on the other hand, the inability to move is temporary and not permanent – for example linked to a temporary state of health – then the authentication can be made by the spouse or by an adult child or by another person appointed by the person concerned. In the case of a minor , the subscription must always be made by the person exercising parental responsibility or by a guardian.

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On the other hand, in the case of a person who is banned or unable to understand , then the subscription must be made by the guardian. In the case of an illiterate or physically impeded person , however, the public official will be the one to provide the authentication of the signature directly, certifying the real impediment on the part of the person and, therefore, without the need for witnesses.

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The authentication of a signature can be requested at any time during office hours and, normally, without the need for a reservation. The authentication of the signature is issued the same day it is made.

Authentication of signature: how much does it cost?

The signature authentication is subject to stamp duty and its amount varies according to the use for which this certification is requested. However we can say that it can normally cost around € 0.52 or a little less. The price of the authentication is therefore subject only to what the law provides as stamp duty or secretarial tax in the event that the stamp duty – for the requested use – is not provided.

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Covid-19: what changes for signature authentication

With the Covid-19 pandemic, many procedures had to be modified to respect the necessary social distancing, so how do you do if you need to authenticate a signature?

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With the law n ° 27 of 24 April 2020, the “Cura Italia” decree was converted (Dl n ° 18 of 17 March 2020) which contained a specific article, n ° 83, which explained the urgent measures for the containment of the epidemiological emergency and the effects on jurisprudence and bureaucracy.

Let’s take for example the case in which a power of attorney procedure has to be activated for disputes , in the past it was necessary to go to your lawyer to sign it. Today, and up to the end of the need for the distancing measures, it will be possible to partially affix, in the context of civil proceedings , the above signature, by sending the document as: an image sent to your lawyer (accompanied by a copy of the document of identity), in this circumstance the lawyer will put his signature in digital format on the computer copy of the power of attorney.

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The transmission of documents can take place through various means, for example by registered letter, ordinary mail, or email, PEC or even systems such as WhatsApp.

The doubt arises in the event that it is necessary to attach the power of attorney to a deed to be notified , as it is not possible to transmit the document by PEC, it must be notified by post or UNEP , the lawyer must also certify that the paper power of attorney is actually compliant to the IT one on which he has digitally signed, using a certificate of conformity provided precisely to certify compliance.

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The only case in which the lawyer will be able to use this procedure is when it is necessary to authenticate the signatures affixed under a power of attorney and not for those sent by scanning by the party.


by Abdullah Sam
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