Country Guide for Notary and Legalisation
There are generally three types of legalisation:
1. Simple Legalisation/No further legalisation
In these instances, once you have the notary’s signature and seal on the document this is enough. This is the case in the vast majority of former or current British Commonwealth countries and most US states. For our specific USA guide, please click here because the most populous US states usually have more quirky requirements.
2. Apostille Required
The document is signed and sealed by the notary, then goes to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office Legalisation Office (FCO).
The FCO in the UK print an A5 sized certificate confirming that the person who is signing the document is considered a public official in the United Kingdom.
The Apostille is duly signed and an embossed seal is pressed onto the Apostille and through the document to which it is attached.
We can help you get an Apostille on the same day, so long as we have the document before 1pm or else it will be the following working day. For more information on this, please see the Apostille section of our website.
It is usual that if your document is going to a country which is a party to the Hague Convention, then an Apostille will make it legal in that country.
3. Consular Legalisation Required
Where the document is going to a country which is not a signatory to the Hague Convention, then the document is signed and sealed by the notary, gets an Apostille and then taken to the consulate of the country in which the document is to be used.
The country’s consulate’s legalisation section will usually have a database of Foreign & Commonwealth Office Legalisation Office signatories. As soon as they have cross checked the signature of the Foreign Office staff member on the Apostille, they will duly sign and apply their stamp and seal confirming that the document has been duly legalised. Thus, the relevant consulate will usually not comment or verify any of the documents contents, but verify the authenticity of the Apostille.
We can arrange consulate legalisation for you. We have the expertise in dealing with the intricacies, and the many twists and turns involved in dealing with foreign consulates based in the UK. Contact us for further details on this service offering.
A guideline of notary and legalisation requirements for different countries in the world is set out in the list below.
Please note that the following list is only intended as a guide. Usually you will have instructions from the person or authority that requires your document to be legalised, as they will have the knowledge specific to your matter and can advise you accordingly.