Westminster Legalisation Services LTD

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Apostille Legalisation

(also known as Hague Apostille)

We are FCDO registered Apostille Service Provider

Standard Apostille

Next Day Service

Premium Apostille

Same Day (5 – 6 hours)

e-Apostille

Within 5-48 hours

Apostille Legalisation

We offer the FCDO standard Apostille service (next-day service), the premium Apostille same-day service ( 5-6 hours service*) as well as the e-Apostille service ( 5-48 hours service) at competitive rates. We have daily trips to the Legalisation Office in Milton Keynes and are registered with the FCDO to provide the Apostille services in the UK.

The best option for people that are looking for a cost effective and next-day Apostille Service.

Standard Apostille

  • Next-Day Service for documents received before 11:00 am

  • Daily Trips to Legalisation Office (FCDO) in Milton Keynes
  • FCDO Apostille Government £40 Fee included in the quote
  • Royal Mail Special Delivery return to a UK address
  • Drop off and collect your documents in person at our London office

  • DHL International Express Courier to an address abroad

  • Free Consultation

  • Resubmission to the FCDO at no extra costs in case of rejection or signature query.

The fastest, but limited, Apostille Service. Documents are ready within 5-6 hours

Premium Apostille

  • Same-Day Service for documents received before 10:00 am

  • Daily Trips to the FCDO Legalisation Office in Milton Keynes

  • FCDO Apostille Government £100 Fee included in the quote

  • Royal Mail Special Delivery return to a UK address
  • Drop off and collect your documents in person at our London office

  • DHL International Express Courier to an address abroad

  • Free Consultation on eligible type of document

  • Resubmission to the FCDO at no extra costs in case of rejection or signature query.

e Apostille seal

Fast electronic Apostille Service ready digitally via e-mail within 5-48 hours.

e-Apostille

  • Electronic notarisation required and included in the quote

  • Electronic submission to the FCDO (saving postal costs)
  • FCDO Apostille Government £35 Fee included in the quote

  • Fastest FCDO turnaround time

  • Resubmission to the FCDO at no extra costs in case of rejection or signature query.

  • Return of e-Apostilled document digitally via e-mail (saving postal costs)

  • Drop off and collect any original documents in person at our London Office
  • Free Consultation

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 KNOWN 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 public documents for use in another country, pursuant to the Hague Apostille Convention 1961. The Apostille is an abbreviated method of legalisation that certifies/attests to 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 Courts, HMRC, ACRO Criminal Records Office, NHS (Medical Practitioners), General Register Office (GRO) and Ministers of Religion (Church of England).

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 is issued 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 their Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Example Apostille Legalisation Document

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 if the exchange of public documents are between the Hague Convention member states.

The Hauge Skyline in the Netherlands

The Hague Convention 1961

The purpose of the Convention is to abolish 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 the method of legalisation.

Apostille Processing

We are registered with the UK FCDO to provide the Hague Apostille legalisation and have daily trips to the Legalisation Office branch in Milton Keynes (the only Legalisation Office available in the UK) for the next-day and same-day Apostille (paper-based) services as well as the e-Apostille service including the digital notarisation as required by the FCDO for the e-Apostille.

The processing time for the restrictive premium Apostille same-day service is usually within 5-6 hours if the documentation is received by 10:00 am and for the standard Apostille next-day service is guaranteed next-day service if the documentation is received in our office by 11:00 am. The e-Apostille service usually takes between 5-48 hours to be issued depending on the FCDO workload.

The premium Apostille same-day service is a limited service provided by the FCDO for a few types of eligible documents only. The FCDO requires supportive documents confirming the urgency requirement and they must receive the application for approval by 4:00 pm the day before we intend to submit for legalisation. The following are the only types of eligible documents the FCDO will consider under application for premium service:

  • Documents linked to repatriation that are clearly time-sensitive
  • Time-limited documents linked to transport of animals   
  • Documents with evidence relating to the welfare of a child   
  • Documents with evidence relating to the welfare of a vulnerable adult   
  • Commercially urgent documents, for example; certificates relating to insolvency searches; documents relating to corporate transactions with a specified completion date which the Next-Day service cannot meet; or
  • Short notice private client documents (at FCDO discretion upon seeing the evidence for urgency request). 

The electronic Apostille (e-Apostille) is a digital version of the traditional paper-based Apostille certificate. This innovation streamlines the process of authenticating documents for international use, significantly reducing the time and effort required.

For the e-Apostille, the documentation must be first certified by a UK practising solicitor or notary public bearing a digital signature such as Advanced Electronic Signature (AES) or a Qualified Electronic Signature (QES). Simple digital signatures are not accepted for the e-Apostille legalisation.

The FCDO can only issue an Apostille to an original foreign document IF the UK notary public/solicitor has verified the authenticity with the issuing foreign institution/authority overseas. The UK practising solicitor or notary public when certifying the foreign original document must provide a separate cover sheet certificate attached to the underlying foreign original document stating that ‘the authenticity has been verified with the issuing authority abroad and the document is genuine and authentic‘.

Also, a document issued by UK public departments as an electronic/PDF document (e.g HMRC documents, Court documents) must be certified by the UK practising solicitor or notary public as a ‘true copy of the original electronic/PDF document’, which is the suggested wording given by the Hague Convention authorities. This is required to avoid rejection by the UK FCDO.

***It is important to note that original documents signed/stamped/sealed by UK public department officials can only be Apostilled by the FCDO if the UK public official’s specimen signature or seal (as applicable) is registered on the FCDO database.***

If the signature or seal is not held on the FCDO database, they will need to verify the official’s signature and/or seal with the relevant Public Department/Signatory (e.g. HMRC, ACRO Criminal Records Office,  GP Practice (Medical Practitioner), Court, DEFRA, Companies House, etc.) in order to Apostille the document.

The signature verification process may take anything between 1-5 working days to be completed, depending on how fast the relevant public department/signatory responds to the FCDO’s request. This process must be performed independently between the FCDO Legalisation Office and the relevant public department/officials.

In case of a signature query for GRO certificates (birth, marriage, death certificates and Certificates of No Impediment), the FCDO will send an email to the Register Office to verify the Registrar’s signature for certificates issued within 6 months only. If the certificate is older than 6 months or issued by the Church (marriage certificates), they will be unable to verify the signature and require a new certified copy to be obtained from the General Register Office (GRO) or the document holder to take action with the Register Officer or the Church to request them to send the signature confirmation to the FCDO directly to be registered on their database to able to Apostille the certificate.

Upon completion by the FCDO, we can further process the documentation by the London and Arab-British Chambers of Commerce, Embassy, Consulate or High Commission in the UK, as applicable, and return the legalised documentation to the final destination or have it available for collection in person from our London Office.

Our usual practice is to provide a scanned copy of any legalised documentation along with the tracking details by e-mail before despatching the completed legalised documentation at no extra cost for up to 10 pages for the first 5 documents.

Find out more about how to process your documentation and fees

Are you looking for country requirements?

Passionate – Dedicated – Professional

what our apostille clients are saying

Westminster Legal were recommended to us and what a gem! Not only did they do what they said they would they also communicated effectively throughout the process so we knew exactly what was going on at any point in time. Would thoroughly recommend!

JD – Legalisation Services

Always prompt in answering any queries and very considerate of your preferences. I had a lovely experience , and applaud the customer service and results provided.  Highly recommend.

TD – Apostille Legalisation Client

Frequently asked Apostille Questions

Can my document be rejected by the FCDO?

Yes, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) may reject a document if the signature / seal from a public official, solicitor or notary public is not held on their database. This can be rectified in different ways depending on the type of document. In case of rejection, we will advise you accordingly on how to resolve the matter to have the document Apostilled and there are no extra costs from us for resubmission to the FCDO.

Do I get a discount if I have more than one document for Apostille legalisation?

Yes, we do offer discounts for orders with more than one document. You can email our team at info@wlegalisation.co.uk for a detailed quote based on the number of documents you have.

How do I pay for the Apostille legalisation?

You can pay online by card or by bank transfer upon receipt of an invoice from Westminster Legalisation Services LTD. Alternatively, if attending our office in person, you can pay by card or in cash. We do not accept personal cheques.

Can I have my documents electronically Apostilled (e-Apostilled)?

Not all documents can be e-Apostilled in the UK. Some documents require the originals being presented to the FCDO in order to be Apostilled. Please see below the documents that cannot be electronically Apostilled:

  • All GRO certificates such as birth, marriage, death, civil partnership, CNI and adoption certificates;
  • ACRO Police certificates,
  • Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) certificates for England and Wales;
  • Disclosure certificates for Scotland or Northern Ireland;
  • Fingerprint certificates, and
  • Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) membership certificates.

In addition, your documents must be electronically notarised using an Advanced Electronic Signature (AES) or a Qualified Electronic Signature (QES).

Furthermore, a document that is e-Apostilled can only be exchanged electronically. If printed out and presented in hard copy invalidates the e-Apostille. We highly recommend to check with the requesting party in the country of destination to ensure that the e-Apostille is the format acceptable.

Do I get a scanned copy of the documents once Apostille legalisation is completed?

Yes, upon completion we will send you a scanned copy of the Apostilled document as PDF file via email along with any tracking details as applicable. If you are collecting the documents personally from our office, we send you the scanned copy of the Apostilled document as PDF file with the opening hours confirmation.

What is the Apostille legalisation?

Apostille legalisation is a process of authenticating documents for use abroad in countries that are part of the Hague Apostille Convention 1961. It involves attaching an apostille certificate to the document to verify its authenticity and validity in the destination country.

Why do I need to Apostille my documents?

Apostille legalisation is necessary for documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, academic diplomas, and business documents or any other type of documents to be recognised and accepted in foreign countries. It ensures that your documents will be valid and legally recognised in the country of destination.

How long does the Apostille legalisation take?

The processing time for apostille legalisation can vary depending on factors such as the country where the document originates and the specific requirements of the destination country. Generally, it can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks to complete the process.

If you have a UK document, we can offer the Apostille legalisation via standard service (1-2 working days), premium service (within 5-6 hours) and e-Apostille service (within 5-48 hours).

What types of documents can be Apostilled?

Any type of documents can be apostilled, including personal documents like birth certificates, marriage certificates, and adoption papers, as well as legal documents like powers of attorney, affidavits, and court documents. The only difference is the requirements that vary depending on the type of documents you have for Apostille legalisation.

Do I need to provide original documents for apostille legalisation?

Again, the requirement varies depending on the type of documents. For example, GRO certificates (birth, marriage, death, adoption, and civil partnership certificates), UK Criminal Records Certificates, ACCA Membership Certificates, the original certificates are required for apostille legalisation. However, some exceptions may apply depending on the type of documents and specific requirements of the issuing and receiving authorities.

Can you Apostille documents issued in a foreign language?

Yes, documents issued in a foreign language can be apostilled. However, in most cases, they will need to be accompanied by a certified translation into the official language of the destination country. In this case, foreign documents must be first certified by a UK solicitor or notary public in order to be Apostilled by the UK FCDO.

How much does the UK FCDO Apostille cost?

The cost of FCDO Apostille can vary depending on the service you choose. The business standard paper-based Apostille is £40, the premium Apostille is £100, the e-Apostille is £35 or the postal standard paper-based Apostille is £45.

What is the difference between Apostille and embassy legalisation?

The Apostille legalisation only is used for documents intended for use in countries that are part of the Hague Apostille Convention 1961. Embassy legalisation, on the other hand, is required for documents destined for countries that are not party to the Convention. The documents intended for non-Signatory countries need to be first Apostilled then taken to the relevant Embassy for further legalisation. Embassy legalisation involves additional steps and may take longer to complete.

Is Apostille legalisation valid indefinitely?

Apostille legalisation is generally valid indefinitely once it has been attached to a document. However, it’s essential to check the specific requirements of the destination country, as some countries may have expiration dates or require updated documents after a certain period.

Where can I get Apostille legalisation services?

You can get apostille legalisation services from reputable agencies or companies specialising in document legalisation and authentication like Us, Westminster Legalisation Services LTD. Ensure to choose a reliable service provider with experience in handling Apostille procedures to ensure a smooth and efficient process. We are registered with the UK FCDO to provide Apostille legalisation in the United Kingdom.

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