Official UK Apostille
The Hague Convention abolished the requirement of diplomatic and consular legalisation for public documents originating in one Convention country and intended for use in another. Documents that have been certified with an apostille will not need further legalisation to be used in another convention country.
In the UK, the department responsible for issuing apostilles is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).
For countries that are not party to the Hague Convention, documents may need consular legalisation in addition to the apostille legalisation.
What is an Apostille?
An Apostille is a certificate confirming that a signature or seal on a document is genuine. The process of obtaining an Apostille is called Legalisation.
The reason for legalising a document issued in the UK is so that it will be recognised as genuine when used in other countries. Some of the reasons why you might need an Apostille in a document are marriage abroad, purchase of a property abroad and companies carrying out business abroad.
Although many different types of documents can be legalised, the procedure for obtaining an Apostille in the UK is always the same, and costs the same, regardless of the type of document.
Some examples of documents that may need an Apostille are:
- birth, marriage and death certificates
- divorce documents issued by a UK Court
- Company registration documents
- Certified translations of documents bearing Solicitor or Notary Public signature and seals.
We have prepared a more comprehensive list of documents that can be legalised and how they have to be prepared.
The apostille certificate must contain the following information:
- Country of issue
- Name of the person who signed the document
- The capacity in which the person signed the document.
- Details of any seals or stamps in the document
- Place of issue
- Date of issue
- Issuing authority
- Certificate number
- Stamp or seal of the issuing authority
- Signature of the representative of the issuing authority
If the document bears an original signature, seal or stamp from a UK public organisation or official, then the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) will in most cases legalise it.
These include registrars of births, deaths and marriages, solicitors or notaries public registered with the Law or Notaries Societies, doctors registered with the General Medical Council, veterinary surgeons, coroners, and members of the diplomatic corps (foreign diplomats) accredited to the UK.
In summary, the Legalisation Office will attach an Apostille to UK educational documents; UK birth, death, marriage and civil partnership certificates; UK Certificates of No Impediment (CNIs) or 'No Trace' letters issued by the GRO; Deed Poll, some types of religious documents; UK court documents; Powers of Attorney, wills, affidavits and others. For more detailed information on the documents that can be legalised, go to our documents page.
If you have a foreign document that requires an Apostille you should contact the relevant Embassy, High Commission or Consulate in London.