What is an Apostille?
An Apostille is a certificate attached by the U.K Foreign & Commonwealth Office which confirms that a document has been signed by a notary or other public official and that the notary or public official is a notary (or Companies House officer, Birth and Marriage or Death registrar, etc. in the United Kingdom.) The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office sign and place their seal on the Certificate and attach this to the Notarial document or public document to confirm its authenticity in the United Kingdom. It is a further layer of verification.
We are happy to arrange this for clients at either of the two offices the Foreign Offices operates. We do so every day. There are two ways to obtain an Apostille from the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office. They operate a postal servicing centre where the notarised document or public UK document is sent to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office Legalisation Office with payment proof and application form and they place the Apostille on the document before dispatching it to a nominated address.
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office Legalisation Office currently charge £30 per Apostille using this postal service. You can do this yourself, or, if you would like us to handle the legalisation of your notarised document, we apply a charge for doing so. Please enquire for our current charges.
If the matter is urgent then we have access to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office Legalisation Office Premium Service in London. We send a courier to this office every day. In this case the courier drops off, waits and returns to our office where you can collect the document. This is a same day service. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office Legalisation Office charge £75 per Apostille. We apply a charge to cover the cost of the courier and for making the administrative application and payment. Please enquire for our current charges.
Why do I need an Apostille?
The reason for the Apostille is that on seeing the Apostille, the receiving party, whether an individual, a business or a Government body, can be even more confident that the document has been properly notarised.
Essentially, as clients have put it to us : The notary confirms that the person or people signing the document understands it and confirms their identity by seeing passport or other acceptable proof of identity and a bill or other official document to confirm address. Then, the Foreign Office confirms the document has been signed by a notary, and puts on the Apostille as proof of that fact.
We arrange legalisation every day. So if you need things done urgently – get in touch with us and we will guide you through the process.
The Apostille system was created by a treaty called the Hague Convention on the abolition of consular legalisation. Signatories to this convention accept the Apostille as proof of the authenticity of the document (or legalisation of the document).
Not all countries have signed the treaty. Where this is the case even those countries that have not signed this treaty still require notarisation then Apostille, then they also ask for the documents to be stamped at their own embassy. The UAE, and many other Arab states do this, as does China. A few other countries such as Brazil only accept notarisation then stamping at their consulate. There is a guide to this under our Services heading on the Home Page.