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 notary is indeed a notary, which allows them to accept as valid the document certified by the notary. 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 apostille.


If you have been told that your documents need to be legalised or apostilled, your notary will be able to 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.


Clients sometimes find legalisation to be confusing and time-consuming, but this process can be professionally handled for you by our notarial office. To enquire about it, please call  020 7692 0838 or 020 7096 0905 or send an email to 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

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Need a Notary?