Different terminologies are often used to describe the document legalisation process from one country to another for them to be acceptable.
Most people are asked to provide an official apostille stamp that is notarised, legalised, authenticated, and attested as per the private international law in the country of use.
The definition of terms for foreign legal proceedings and international business transactions can be a little confusing, but they describe the same apostille process in most cases.
Definition of the terms apostille and legalisation
What is meant by an apostille?
An apostille refers to a certificate or ‘apostille stamp’ issued to verify the signatures presented on an official UK document.
It authenticates the signatures showing that they were issued by the appropriate regulatory office in the UK.
The apostille service provides an international certification comparable to notarisation in domestic law, and it usually supplements any local notarisation of a UK document.
It can be used on a UK birth certificate for intercountry adoption procedures and other UK documents required for foreign investment procedures or intellectual property rights abroad.
The apostille must be issued as per the Hague conventions, which specify the international treaty with a foreign state.
They can be used for international relocation when you need to authenticate your documents for use in a different country, and they are also used for international marriages. Additionally, an apostille may be required for death certificates.
The Hague Convention states that the apostille stamp is enough to authenticate the legalisation process, and no other procedures are required.
Further reading: What is an apostille?
Where can you get an apostille stamp and apostille service?
You can get an apostille on public documents issued in the UK at the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office – FCDO. This is also called the legalisation office, with offices located in central London and Milton Keynes.
The naming of this institution is often among the major causes of mayhem as both apostille and legalisation refer to an almost identical process.
If you wish to present a document issued in the UK in a country that is part of the Hague convention, then issuing of the apostille certificate indicates that the document has been legalised.
Reasons you may need an apostille
Here are a few reasons why you would need to use an apostille:
What does an apostille look like?
Under the Hague Convention, an apostille is a ‘stamp’ placed on a document. It should be accompanied by an apostille certificate attached to the original document to certify that the official public signature on the document is authentic.
Because of the convention, several million apostilles are issued around the world to take care of cross border situations. 
The Hague apostille is widely applied in countries that are part of the convention.
The details below should be visible on the apostille:
Which documents can get an apostille seal?
The Hague apostille seal is legally recognised for use in all countries that are part of the apostille convention.
Accordingly, it is placed on the following documents:
What is legalisation?
Usually, consular legalisation involves issuing a document containing the correct certificates or stamps for the document to be accepted in another state.
As stated above, if the document is to be produced abroad for use in a country that’s part of the apostille convention, it must also contain a UK foreign apostille as well.
Read more: What is document legalisation?
Other commonly used terms
To help you understand all the different terms used, we’ve written an explainer article: Terms and Definitions Explained