Making a statutory declaration

January 21, 2020—Today, I learned something about making a statutory declaration that could save you money.

What is a statutory declaration?

If you buy or sell international property, you may be asked to provide a statutory declaration of your address and other personal details. The declaration doesn’t prove that this information is accurate, just that you have sworn an oath that the data is correct. There is usually a penalty of criminal prosecution for knowingly providing false information.

Where to make a statutory declaration?

The first time I made a statutory declaration, it was at a notary public and cost over HK$2,000 (~US$260). Notaries have a guild-like trade body, with fixed prices.

The second time, I went to the Canadian consulate in Hong Kong. The consulate currently offers this service twice a week, on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. You can book an appointment online. The waiting list is several weeks long. The cost was about HK$400, which was a bargain compared to the notary.

Today, I used the service provided by the Home Affairs Bureau of the Hong Kong Government. The service is free of charge. It is available five days a week at locations all over Hong Kong. No appointment is necessary, and the staff were friendly, efficient and helpful. It took 30 minutes.

Other options

If you’re not Canadian or a resident of Hong Kong, check with your local government office or embassy before you spend money with a notary.

For more information about buying and selling property across borders (and about statutory declarations, consularized documents and apostiles), see Landed Global.