(also known as Hague Apostille)
We offer standard Apostille legalisation via the FCDO in Milton Keynes (next day service*) as well as premium Apostille via the FCDO in London (turnaround time 5-6 hours) at competitive rates. We have daily trips to the Legalisation Office branch in Milton Keynes (standard) as well as daily trips to the Legalisation Office branch in London (premium).
The best option for people that are looking for a cost effective and next-day Apostille Service.
The fastest London Apostille Service. Documents ready on the same day we receive
Need to get your documents Apostilled?
Contact us to receive a free consultation on what needs to be done to get the FCDO Apostille on your document(s).
Are you looking for Consular Legalisation?
Consult our legalisation guide to check the consular requirements to get your documents legalised for the country of destination.
What is an Apostille?
(ALSO KNOW AS HAGUE APOSTILLE)
An Apostille (also known as Hague Apostille) is an official certificate issued in the United Kingdom by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) certifying/attesting a document for use in another country, pursuant to the Hague Apostille Convention 1961. The Apostille is an abbreviated method of legalisation that certifies/attests the Solicitor’s signature, Notary Public’s signature and seal or a signature or seal from a UK government official/department such as from the Court, HMRC, ACRO Criminal Records Office, NHS (Medical Practitioners), General Register Office (GRO) and Ministers of Religion (Anglican Church).
In summary, countries that are signatories to the Hague Convention 1961 (Convenzione dell’Aja/Convenção de Haia) have agreed to do away with the lengthy legalisation process via the foreign consulates and embassies and accept documents with the Apostille only as authentic for use in another Signatory country. An Apostille (Apostila dell’Aja/Apostila de Haia) in the UK is issued by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (“FCDO”) Legalisation Office, in Brazil by the Notary Public Offices (Cartórios) and in Italy by the Prefectures of each Province. In most other foreign jurisdictions, the Apostille is issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
With an Apostille certification, a notarised/certified document is entitled to recognition in the country of intended use and there is no requirement for further certification or legalisation by the country of recordal’s nearest Embassy or Consulate in the United Kingdom.
We provide Hague Apostille legalisation by the UK FCDO Legalisation Office in London (Premium Service) and in Milton Keynes (Standard Service). The processing time via premium service in London is usually within 5-6 hours if the documentation is received by 11:00 am and via standard service in Milton Keynes is 1-2 working days (guaranteed next day service if the document is received at our office by 11:00 am). The turnaround time is only guaranteed if the signature of the UK public official is registered on the FCDO database.
The FCDO can only issue an Apostille to foreign original documents IF such document has been verified with the issuing institution/authority overseas by the notary public or solicitor. The UK practising solicitor or notary public when certifying the foreign original document must provide a separate sheet certificate attached to the foreign underlying document stating the authenticity of such foreign document has been verified with the issuing authority overseas.
Also, a document which is received as an electronic/PDF document must be certified by the UK Notary Public or practising Solicitor as a ‘true copy of the original electronic/PDF document’, which is the suggested wording given by the Hague Convention authorities, in order to avoid rejection by the FCDO.
***It is important to note that original documents signed/stamped/sealed by UK public officials or departments can only be Apostilled IF the UK public official’s signature or seal (whatever is applicable on your document) is registered on the FCDO database.
If the signature or seal is not registered, the FCDO will need to contact the relevant Public Department or Signatory (e.g. HMRC, ACRO Office, Medical Practitioner (GP Practice), Court, DEFRA, Companies House, etc) in order to verify the public official’s signature or seal before they can Apostille the document. The verification process may take anything between 3-7 working days to be completed, depending on how fast the relevant public department or signatory responds and provides the requested information. This process is performed independently between the FCDO Legalisation Office and the relevant public department/officials.
In case of a signature query for GRO certificates (birth, marriage and death certificates) whenever the Registrar or Minister of Religion’s signature is not registered on their database, the FCDO require a new certified copy to be obtained from the General Register Office (GRO) in order to be Apostilled.***
Upon completion by the FCDO, we can further process the documentation, if required, by the London and Arab Chambers of Commerce, Embassy or Consulate in the UK, as applicable, and return the legalised documentation to the final destination or have it available for collection from our offices in central London. Our usual practice is to provide a scanned copy of any legalised document and tracking details by e-mail before despatching the completed legalised documentation.
If you wish to find out more about how to process your documentation and fees, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 020 3633 4575 or on + 44 7534 629699 (Company WhatsApp).
The Hague Convention 1961
The purpose of the Convention is that it abolishes the requirement of diplomatic and consular legalisation for public documents originating in one Convention country and intended for use in another.
Documents issued in a Convention country which have been certified by a Convention Apostille are entitled to recognition in any other Convention country without any further authentication/legalisation. Such recognition is an obligation on the part of one country to another country party to the Convention and the courts and authorities have been alerted to this obligation.
Consular officials in Convention countries are prohibited from placing a certification over the Convention Apostille, although, some foreign consulates still do. Please see a list of the countries which are signatories to the Hague Convention and require Apostille only as of the method of legalisation.
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