Legalisation is the official verification of the signature and seal of the notary, so that the appropriate authorities in the receiving jurisdiction are satisfied that the document is certified by a competent notary holding a current practising certificate, which allows them to accept it as valid. This verification is performed by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and sometimes by the consulate or embassy of the country where the document is to be used.
Generally, countries fall into three categories with respect to legalisation:
- those for which no further legalisation of notarised documents is required – typically common-law or Commonwealth jurisdictions;
- those that are members of the Hague Convention of 1961 (abolishing the requirement of legalisation for foreign public documents), for which the apostille by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is sufficient;
- other countries, for which consular legalisation is needed, i.e. authentication by the consulate of the receiving country, usually in addition to the Foreign Office stamp.
Clients sometimes find legalisation to be confusing and time-consuming, but this process can be professionally handled for you by our notarial office. If you have been told that your documents need to be legalised or apostilled, we will liaise with the Foreign Office or the appropriate foreign embassy or consulate on your behalf. In some cases, a confirmation from a chamber of commerce might also be necessary for various commercial documents or invoices.
To enquire about apostille and legalisation, please call 020 76 920 838 or 020 70 960 905, or send an enquiry by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. It would be best to send a copy of any document you need legalised, so we can advise accordingly.
If you prefer to deal with all this by yourself, we can provide guidance on how to do everything necessary. Useful information can be found on https://www.gov.uk/get-document-legalised.