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An Apostille Certificate, an accredited certificate, is give out to ‘official papers’ or documents to ensure that they are acknowledged in member states devoid of additional Legalisation. Usually, an Apostille Certificate is give out by the state where the document has originated and once a document has an attached Apostille Certificate, confirming the legitimacy of seals and signatures, the document can be presented at all the places where Apostille is recognised. An Apostille Certificate has a set format and must comprise of the below mentioned information:

What is an Apostille Certificate?
  • Apostille Certificate number
  • Country of issue
  • Date of issue
  • Details of any seal on the document
  • Issuing authority
  • Place of issue
  • Signature of representative of issuing authority
  • Stamp of issuing authority
  • The capacity in which the person signed the document
  • Details of person signing the document

An individual, in the UK, can get some authorised or ‘official papers’ legalised by receiving consent from the Legalisation Office to make certain that the seal, stamp, or signature on the documents is from a United Kingdom public official. This might be required if an official from another country has asked an individual to produce certain documents from the United Kingdom which must be legalised. The Legalisation Office will verify the official papers, comprising of seal, stamp or signature to assure if the official papers are genuine or not. Once they are sure about the authentication of the document(s), a stamped authorised certificate, known as an Apostille, will be attached to the official papers in order to legalise the document. An individual can’t get official papers give outside the UK legalised through this service, however, he/she can get the documents official in the nation state they were give out. For an individual to use this service, the following things will be required:

  • Access to a printer
  • A debit or credit card to process the payment
  • The ‘document’ or ‘official paper’ an individual wants to make legal or legalise
  • The complete address where an individual wants the documents to be returned to

In order to get a document legalised, an individual can opt for two services – Standard service or Premium service (details are as follows). If an individual does not provide any information or details for a period in excess of 30 minutes, i.e. the window is idle for more than 30 minutes, then in such a scenario the request will be timed out and the individual will be required to begin the process all over again.

Standard service

Details of a standard service are as follows:

  • The cost for a standard service is £30 per document.
  • Filing of an application during peak periods such as summer, Easter usually takes up to 10 days to get processed.
  • Documents are usually sent and returned by post.
  • Generally, the turnaround time is 2 working days, not including postage time.

Also, if an individual requires this service regularly, he/she can create an online account to speed up the application. Though it is optional to have an online account, however, an online account is imperative for superior business service. Below points state the advantage of having an online account for regular customers:

  • An online account make the application process swifter as details such as address and payment information are already saved.
  • An individual has an option to regularly check the standing of an application.
  • An individual can access their latest application history.

Below mentioned details are required to create an account online:

  • Enter the e-mail address.
  • Re-enter the e-mail address to confirm.
  • Provide a password – a password must be of a minimum 8 characters, including 1 number and 1 capital letter.
  • Re-enter the password to confirm.
  • Registering as an individual or business.
    • Businesses, in the United Kingdom, can use the premium service to get the document legalised. Here, an individual will be required to enter the company name and company verification (premium service is a service specifically designed for businesses in the UK and the Legalisation Office has the right to ask for confirmation to verify the business details such as Companies House number, Company’s letter and value added tax (VAT) number).

  • By agreeing and continuing an individual confirms that the information provided by him/her is accurate and they abide by the privacy policy and terms and conditions.
  • Once all the above stated information is provided by an individual, a confirmation email is sent to their registered e-mail address. An individual can check his/her email and click on the provided link in the message to activate the account. On the other hand, if a regular customer already has an online account, he/she can click on the link to directly access the account.

Start a standard application

Here, an individual can check if his/her ‘official papers’ are legalised. To get a United Kingdom authorised, an individual will be required to send the document in a specific format such as all original document and no photocopy. An individual will be required to select all the relevant documents which he/she wants to legalise. Below is the list of certain documents:

Premium service

Details of a premium service are as follows:

  • Premium service is specifically designed for businesses only.
  • Premium service costs £75 per document.
  • The service is only available for London drop-off and collection.
  • The application window is open on all working days between 9:00AM to 12:30PM and in the afternoon from 1:30PM to 5:00PM.
  • As the name suggests, under this service an application is addressed on the same-day if received before 3:30PM.

Other related information

An individual can receive a printed copy of other electronic documents or a PDF if it either:

  • Has an original seal or ink signature of the concerned person or the organisation that has issued it the ‘official papers’
  • Has been authorised by a United Kingdom solicitor or notary public

As mentioned earlier, the standard service cost is £30 per document, additional charges apply for postage or courier fees. Courier charges are as follows:

Country Price
United Kingdom (comprising of British Forces Post Office) £5.50 for every 1.5kg
European countries (this does not cover Albania, Ukraine, Turkey, Serbia, Russia, Montenegro, Moldova, Macedonia, Liechtenstein, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belarus, Azerbaijan, and Armenia) £14.50 for every 1.5kg
Rest of the world £25.00 for every 1.5kg

In case an individual does not wish to pay courier fees, the documents will be give back by courier, however, if an individual is in the United Kingdom he/she can get them returned through post. An individual must take account of an A4-sized envelope providing details of the return address. He/she must attach sufficient United Kingdom postage stamps to protect the return postage.

Contact details

Legalisation Office E-mail address: legalisationenquiries@fco.gsi.gov.uk Telephone number: 03700 00 22 44 Availability: Five days a week from Monday to Friday, between 10:00AM and 4:00PM

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