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Country Guide for Legalisation Requirements

When using a Notary and sending your documents abroad you will discover that there are often different requirements for different countries, legalisation is one of them.

Here is a short guide to help you understand what may be required in different parts of the world. We will help you to understand why certain steps are required and how we can help you overcome these obstacles.

A guideline of Notarial Services 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.

Keep reading to learn about different types of Legalisation

There are generally three types of legalisation services:

 1. Simple Legalisation/No further legalisation

legalisation of documents

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. The most populous US states usually have more strict requirements. For this reason we have created a separate USA guide that will help you get more clarity on the matter.

2. Apostille Required

Hague Apostille

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. This certificate is called an Apostille.

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,  please see the Apostille section of our website.

If your document destined for 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.

China consulate London stamp
UAE Consulate stamp London
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