What is legalisation?
Legalisation, or Apostille Certificate , is an official process of confirming a signature, seal or stamp on a specific document is genuine so it will be recognised when presented . Having a document legalised does not mean that the content of a document is accurate.
The three most common requirements for an Apostille Certificate are overseas marriage, foreign property purchases and business transactions or contracts.
The legalisation of documents is carried out by a UK government official at the Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) and by respective officials at Foreign Embassies.
The FCO holds details of official UK organisations such as doctors, solicitors, notaries, religious ministers etc. and can verify produced documents as officially genuine. The FCO verifies the stamp/signature on the document and then attaches an apostille (legalisation certificate ) to confirm its authenticity.
If you are going to use any documents overseas, or for that matter, foreign documents here for business or personal reasons, you will probably be asked to have your documents legalised before they can be accepted. The most common documents requiring legalisation are:
- marriage certificates
- birth certificates
- educational certificates
- and medical certificates.
Document Legalisation usually forms just one stage of document authentication process, often, there is a prerequisite of the documents in question to be notarised by a Notary Public or a solicitor before being legalised by the Foreign Commonwealth Office . Then the document is legalised or authenticated by the UK based Embassy of the country being visited.
Legalisation has been made simpler by the Hague Convention that simplifies the requirements of legalisation and facilitates the circulation of public documents executed in one State party to the Convention and to be produced in another State party to the Convention. It does so by replacing the cumbersome and often costly formalities of a full legalisation process with the mere issuance of an Apostille (also called Apostille Certificate or Certificate)
Depending on your needs, we can arrange for the provision of a full Legalisation process for all documents, whose country of origin permit their final authentication process to be carried out on documents submitted by proxy (a third party).
It usually only takes on average three days from you sending us your documents to receiving them back in your own hands. But we have three levels of service that ranges from a one-day service to a four-week service.
Click here to view the list of countries that we can offer legalisation services for.
Documents we can legalise
We can legalise most documents as long as they bear an original signature, seal or stamp from a public organisation or official, UK solicitors or notaries public registered with the Law Society, UK doctors registered with the General Medical Council, UK veterinary surgeons, UK Coroners, and members of the diplomatic corps (foreign diplomats) serving in and accredited to the UK.
If you choose to legalise photocopies instead of original documents, you should check with the end users of the document to ensure that this is acceptable to them. For a sample list of UK documents that can be legalised, please click here.