What’s an Apostille?
An Apostille stamp is a form of authentication added to documents to allow them to be used in member countries of the Hague Convention. Apostilles are usually requested by foreign authorities and organisations in order to accept a document as genuine and so they can be used for official purposes abroad.
Once an Apostille stamp is added to a document, it becomes valid for use within the Hague Convention member countries. An Apostille Stamp is also known as an FCO Apostille, as the FCO (Foreign & Commonwealth Office) is the governmental body that issues them within the UK.
Which countries accept an Apostille Stamp?
Member countries of the Hague Convention (established in 1961) will recognise and issue Apostilles for the international legalisation of documents. Follow this link for a full list of more than 70 member countries of the Hague Convention.
What’s the difference between Attestation and Legalisation?
These terms are used mutually to mean the same thing. Essentially this is the process of validating documents by one country to be used in another. For countries that are not part of the Hague Convention, this will need to be carried out by representatives of multiple countries on the same document, usually the country of issue and the country where the document is being presented.
Why is it necessary to have documents Attested or Legalised?
Legalisation of a document is typically required where there is a need to present an official document or certificate to a country other than the one that issued the document.
The purpose of this process is so that your UK documents will be recognised and accepted overseas. This would include applying for a Visa, Drivers Licence, Passport, Medical Registration etc outside of the UK.
This process is not usually needed if you are applying to an overseas British authority such as a British embassy or High Commission, for example when applying for a replacement passport to your own embassy. If in doubt you should check the requirements with whoever you need to present the document to.
What are the steps involved in the Attestation and Legalisation of documents?
Although the process may vary depending on the country you need to have your documents prepared for, or the kind of documents you are processing, the Attestation and Legalisation process usually includes: the certification of the document by a solicitor/Notary Public, the addition of an FCO Apostille, and further Consular Legalisation by the country where the document will need to be used.
Can photocopies be legalised?
In most cases we will require the original document to legalise it. For documents such as educational certificates and commercial documents, we will usually then certify the original and carry out legalisation on the certified copy. In most cases, we can carry out legalisation on the original if this is preferred, but please note that this is not a legal requirement.
Can I use my own solicitor to certify my document?
You can, but some issues may occur. For example, delays can be experienced if your solicitor’s signature isn’t held on the FCO’s database of recognised sample signatures. In cases such as these, the FCO will ask your solicitor to send a copy of their signature so they can add it to their database, which naturally leads to a delay in processing. Our solicitor’s signature is stored at the FCO’s system so the FCO recognises their signature and the legalisation process can go forward without delay.
What are the available payment methods?
You can pay for your order with a Visa, Maestro or American Express Debit/Credit card, though PayPal.
Where do I need to send my documents?
The office you need to send your documents to will depend on the speed of service you are going for.
Note: Please do not send anything to us without a confirmed order reference number. This will be provided to you at the time of your order either online or over the phone.