Certify Your Degree Chapter 2 – Original or Copy? Open letter to Southampton University. Maybe others.

Certify Your Degree – Original or Copy? Open letter to Southampton University. Maybe others.

Last Weeks’s Blog dealt with the ins and outs of the Notarisation of University Degrees and other Educational Certificates.

This is – or should be – the process by which a Notary checks that your Certificate is genuine, then endorses a copy of it accordingly, before sending the marked copy for Apostille and/or other Consular stamps.

And I say copy – usually it is a copy. Because by making and marking a copy, this leaves the student holding his original, unmarked, Degree certificate.

However, some countries specifically require that it is the ORIGINAL award certificate which must be notarised and submitted to prospective employers. The United Arab Emirates often make this a requirement and there are others.

Then what is a student to do? If they want the job, they’d better do as they are told.

So they go ahead and their original degree certificate, notarially marked and verified, goes to be stored in the records of UAE.

Next, a few years down the line the student may wish to take a job in a different country.
And that different country requires a notarised verified copy of the original degree certificate.

But hang on, you gave that to the UAE and you can’t get it back. Or, even if you can, the original certificate has got notary stamps on it from years ago and the stamp of the FCO and of the United Arab Emirates Consulate and that may be unacceptable to the country where you want to work now.

So the student will need to apply to the University, for a clean replacement Degree certificate. Shouldn’t be a problem.

As soon as you even think the words – “this shouldn’t be a problem”, you just know there will be a problem.

Here is a link to the website of Southampton University – Link here –

Specifically, we are told “If the original certificate has been lost, stolen or damaged, you can apply for a replacement. This will state ‘Replacement Certificate issued’ at the bottom of the certificate, and will have a different audit number which will automatically invalidate the original certificate.”

You would hope a University would be careful and think matters through a little more cogently than that. Not to say, more helpfully to its students.

Southampton seems to be saying – you cannot have a replacement certificate if you already hold the original. Unless it accepts that by being notarised, stamped by FCO and the UAE consulate, it has been “damaged”,

Has it? I don’t think so.

But there is surely a wider issue.

If I own a house or a car I do not expect the Land Registry or DVLA to quibble about issuing proof – office copies- v5 – as often as I see fit to request it. Nor would they.

If I spend five years or seven getting a degree or PHD, the degree is mine. By which I mean the qualification, not the piece of paper.

Students having given the matter all that time and energy to obtain a Degree and paying the University several thousand pounds these days to get it, it is surely unacceptable if the University believes that “title” to the degree vests in the sheet of paper?

If their “Replacement” footmark is not intended in some way to de-value the replacement certificate, then what is it for? Who in their view should care whether it is a replacement?

Perhaps the case could be put to the Vice Chancellor that the University owes to its students unqualified assistance in proving that they hold the qualification which the University has awarded.

If it seeks to impose conditions inconsistent with requirements of the potential employers of those students abroad [however misguided in our eyes] it does the student a significant disservice and eventually if words gets round that any particular University is obstructive it may eventually find itself short of students?

Nor do I understand how the issue of a replacement can actually “invalidate the original” whatever Southampton University might say on its website. If I have a degree then I do have a degree. So how can the first certificate be “invalid?”

I suppose they mean that they will not confirm the original to be genuine if it is thereafter copied to them for verification. Are they entitled to do that? It could cost a student hugely. Could a student not sue them if they did?

Funny old world, isn’t it? Link Here – Bit of a Nightmare?

Don’t worry, we will help – Remember, if you require our services or if you have any queries on any of the services that we offer then please so not hesitate to email us louise@atkinsonnotary.com and notary@atkinsonnotary.com.

Or alternatively please telephone on 0113 8160116 or 07715608747. Please also feel free to visit our website http://www.atkinsonnotary.com

Notarising Educational Degrees and other Certificates.

Educational Degrees and other Certificates.

Here is the scenario – After a long and hard and expensive slog finally a student is awarded a degree. Fantastic, I can go and work in China, or USA, UAE, wherever, because now I have the qualification I need.

And, on the day that the University exam results are released, chances are that the University will publish them in the newspapers.

So it shouldn’t be too hard for me to certify, when the new employers in South Korea, Qatar or anywhere want me, as a Notary, to confirm for them that you have a genuine degree.

I just phone the University and ask, right?

Wrong, actually.

Because the University which was quite happy to print the fact of your Degree in the Newspapers last year, has now come over all coy. Ooh, deary me, it thinks. GDPR. Computerised private Data. Data Protection Act. Information Commissioners. Mummy, help me.

The sad fact is that after a student has worked years and years to get a qualification, now the University is most reluctant to assist and confirm that the degree is actually genuine.

And even worse, if the degree which the student claims to have is actually a forgery, the university is reluctant to tell me that either.

Anyway, as a Notary I am very used to all this nonsense and I can in fact verify your degree. We just have to negotiate the various obstacles and barriers the Universities have created because of their misunderstanding of the legal differences in status between their records of your degree and their records of, say, your disciplinary hearings or medical history.

But in the light of the fact that it is actually quite difficult to get at the truth, I am aware that many Notaries and nearly all solicitors when they are instructed [and Solicitors have no standing in foreign countries anyway, and should not be instructed] are bypassing the business of verification altogether.

They do this by taking your certificate, copying it, and writing on it that the copy “is a true copy of the original document from which it was made”.

Of course this is pointless because if the original certificate is a fraud, a fake, then the genuine copy of it is a genuine copy of a fake. And the foreign employer doesn’t want to see a copy of a fake piece of paper – it wants to know whether you really are a Doctor.

[There are some exceptions to this general rule, if the end user will be dealing with verification through its own agency]

But in all other cases, the risk you run with doing it that way is that you are setting up problems for further down the line. The certification may be rejected – perhaps days before you are due to travel. Or perhaps after you have arrived, so that you are suspended from working.

So, with AtkinsonNotary, there are no weasel words. We do not certify your copies “this is a true copy of the original” and leave it at that, which is actually valueless to the end-user who is still completely in the dark as to the status of that original.

When you instruct us we do the job right, and your certificate will say “This is a true copy of the original document. The original document is GENUINE as I have verified. The University of xxxx is an accredited Institution of Education in England”

We can then get all additional stamps rewired by the end-user:- the Foreign Office Apostille and Consular legalization, whatever is needed.

Your choice. Go elsewhere, buy cheaply, buy often! Or I would suggest, instruct me, do it right, do it once.

Of course there are all sorts of other issues that can arise and we do have the expertise to resolve them. You might be surprised how often the Universities do not write the full name of the student into the certificate for example and I have more than once seen the name spelled incorrectly and the student had not even noticed. No matter, we will sort it. In fact, to use a little Yorkshire – it’ll be reet.

Here’s an appropriate song – Link Here –

Remember, if you require our services or if you have any queries on any of the services that we offer then please so not hesitate to email us louise@atkinsonnotary.com and notary@atkinsonnotary.com.

Or alternatively please telephone on 0113 8160116 or 07715608747. Please also feel free to visit our website www.atkinsonnotary.com