Apostilles And So-On – Louise Morley Explains

Legalisation guide – what is Legalisation, do I need to legalise my documents?

We see many clients who are told by their lawyers abroad that they require “legalisation of their documents” but are not entirely sure what “legalisation” means.

In a nutshell –

“In international law, legalisation is the process of authenticating or certifying a document so a foreign country’s legal system will recognize it as with full legal effect”

We usually get requested to “obtain Apostilles on my documents” – depending on what your document is depends on the process that will need to be carried out.

For example, if you have a Degree Certificate and a Basic DBS Certificate and a TEFL certificate (these are the usual certificates we get asked to legalise for use in PR CHINA) – then we are not able to submit them directly to the Foreign Office for Apostilles.  We first of all have to Notarise the certificates as genuine then we can submit the certificates to the foreign office for the first part of the legalisation, obtaining Apostille stamps (Apostille stamps are issued by the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office and confirms that a signatory on a document is genuine i.e that of a Notary).  Once the Apostilles have been obtained documents for use in PR CHINA also have to be submitted to the Chinese Embassy for their stamps.

If you have a General Records Office certificate i.e Birth, Death or Marriage Certificate then these certificates already bear signatures/stamps/seals of a public official and theoretically there is no requirement by us to notarise the certificates as the Foreign Office will apostille the certificates and confirm that the signature, stamp or seal is that of a Public official.

Depending on which country your documents are to be used in legalisation requirements will vary.

If you are unsure, as to how to legalise your document(s) then get in touch – we can assist – we can advise as to the usual requirements for the country you intend to produce your document(s) in.

If you are not sure whether notarisation is required to enable an Apostille and/or embassy stamp to be obtained, again get in touch – I can assist.

Currently the Foreign Office are taking around 5 working days to Apostille documents and get them back to our office.  If the matter is more urgent than we do offer an expedited service whereby we can obtain an apostille and have it back in our office in 48 hours.

Below is a link to image of what an Apostille looks like:

Apostille Image

Please do get in touch with us to discuss any aspect of this Blog or to chat with us if you think we can assist you in any way at all.

As ever, 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 visit our website http://www.atkinsonnotary.com