Consular Services Overview
Many jurisdictions have requirements for further certification once documents have been Notarially Certified. In particular the affixing of the Hague Apostille via the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and sometimes Consular legalisation may be required.
We have a dedicated Legalisation Services department who will organise any legalisation as required at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and any required Consulate. If required we are able to advise you if you have any specific queries regarding the requirements for a specific jurisdiction. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and a member of our team will assist you.
If you are unsure of the requirements for the legalisation of your document, you can also follow the link to our worldwide legalisation guide .
What is an ‘Apostille’?
The Apostille is the means through which a public document issued in one state (jurisdiction) can be certified and used in another legal state. The Apostille itself is normally a paper certificate or stamp (form depends on the state itself) and has 10 standardised fields. The competent authority that issues the Apostille varies according to the state. In the United Kingdom, all Apostilles are issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (also known as the “FCO”) from either Milton Keynes or CentrePoint in central London. An example of an Apostille issued in the UK:
How does one determine the legalisation requirements for a particular country?
The requirements will be one of the following process possibilities:
NC = Notarial Certification
A = Apostille
C = Consular Legalisation (this can be a multi-step process)
Legalisation Process Possibilities
(Yes / No)
Apostille Legalisation Required
(Yes / No)
Consular Legalisation Required
(Yes / No)
Document Ready to be used in destination country?
(Yes / No)
|Yes||No||No||Yes||USA, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, India|
EU countries, Switzerland, India, Singapore
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
* the example above is NOT a guarantee that the particular process is the correct one for the given country, only a likely scenario. It can also happen that at one country could appear in more than one category, such as India or the USA.
You can utilise the legalisation guide to give you an indication of the likely requirements. In most cases the requirements are clear for each country. We cannot, however, guarantee the requirements of the final country of destination: if in doubt you should ask your lawyer / representative in that country for confirmation in which the documents are to be used.
Generally speaking documents signed by a Notary or other Public officer for those countries which are signatories to the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement for Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents only require an Apostille. States which have not yet signed up to the Hague Convention normally require the Apostille and further legalisation (sometimes known as “Supra-legalisation”) at the Consulate of the destination in the UK, often situated in London. Consular legalisation is certification of the Apostille (as seen below). An example of how legalisation looks is as follows: