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Many countries across the globe, usually with the exception of Commonwealth countries, require notarised documents to be further legalised using an ‘Apostille’. This legalisation process is a validation to make sure that the Notary’s signature is that of a genuine, registered English and Wales Notary Public.

All Notaries’ signatures and seals are recorded in the UK by the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). The certificate, called an “Apostille” can only be provided once the authenticity of the signature and seal is confirmed.

For some foreign countries, documents may also need to be consular legalised by their embassy to make sure of authenticity of the apostilled document. 

Background to the Apostille

The 1961 Apostille of the Hague Convention is an international treaty drafted by the Hague Conference on Private International Law. This is sometimes also referred to as Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) legalisation.

When a country is a signatory to this convention and the receiving party in that country wants full and final proof of my signature and seal, an apostille from the UK FCDO will need to be obtained.

How to get an Apostille

The process, sometimes also referred to as adding an Apostille, provides foreign authorities with proof that my signature and seal are genuine, but the process varies depending on the type of document and the specific requirements of the receiving jurisdiction. 

This process results in additional expenses and will take extra time so this needs to be considered. For this process I generally utilise the services of an agent who arranges for the documents to be sent to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and if required also to the Embassy of the relevant country. 

Through my agent I can offer the standard service and I usually send the document by 1st Class post to my agent, although it is also possible for me to use a courier or Royal Mail’s Next Day service.  Standard Royal Mail charges apply as per their website and courier charges will be quoted for separately. I will provide a more accurate quote once the full scope of instructions has been determined.

See also: Electronic Notary Acts & E-Apostille >

You can also arrange the Apostille by directly contacting the FCDO through their website >

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