Documents the FCDO can legalise.

If the UK document carries an original seal, a stamp, or signature from an official or a public organisation in the UK, then the FCDO can legalise that document.

A UK document is defined as having originated in the UK or was executed in the UK.

Documents verified by a solicitor or notary. 

When a UK solicitor signs a UK document, the solicitor must state clearly what they are certifying in the document.

Solicitors cannot use the company name to sign the document. Instead, solicitors must use their personal signature, using their own name. The solicitor must also print their name alongside the company or firm’s name, just underneath their signature.

Copies/photocopies of documents

Sometimes, photocopies of the original can be legalised—more on this below.

For photocopies to be legalised, a notary public, or solicitor in the UK, must certify that the photocopies are authentic.

If you’d like to legalise a photocopy that has been certified, we can do this (see below).

But not all photocopies will be accepted, even if they have been certified as authentic. Some embassies or consulates will insist on original documents only. Contact us if you are unsure or need help with this.

Also read: What is document legalisation?

UK educational documents.

All educational documents MUST be certified before the FCDO can legalise them.

To certify and authenticate educational documents, a UK notary public or solicitor must sign the documents. The solicitor or notary public must verify that the document is either an original or a true photocopy.

For educational documents that originated overseas, or if you live outside the UK, the British Council in your country can also certify documents. Make sure that you confirm this with your local British Council first.

Education documents that are not diplomas, qualifications, certificates, degrees, or awards can be legalised provided that a UK educational establishment has issued them.

Including documents of school letters and other reports concerning attendance, fees, grades, and enrollments.

Diplomas, qualifications, certificates, degrees, and other awards can be legalised if they have been issued by educational establishments registered on any of the following websites:

  • ‘Register of Providers’ or the ‘Recognised Degrees’ sections of the Department for Innovation, Universities, and Skills (DIUS) [1]
  • The Scottish Qualifications Authority  [2]
  • The British Accreditation Council [3]
  • The Association of British Language Schools
  • The National Database of Accredited Qualifications [4]
  • The Open and Distance Learning Quality Council [5]

Other documents that can be legalised are qualifications issued by Edexcel[6], OCR [7], National Open College Network [8], City and Guilds [9], Higher National Diploma [10], GNVQ [11], and the American Study Abroad Programme in the UK [12].

UK birth, death, marriage, civil partnership certificates.

The FCDO can legalise certified copies of original certificates that have been issued in the UK or British Diplomatic Missions abroad by the local Registry Offices or the General Register Office (GRO). [13] [14]

Death certificates issued by a coroner in the UK can also be legalised.

The FCDO can also legalise translated copies of death certificates if a notary public or UK solicitor has signed them.

IMPORTANT: Photocopies of a death certificate CAN NOT be legalised, even if it is attached to a notarial cover sheet or a UK solicitor or notary public has signed them.

The only designated authorities that can issue certified copies of these documents are local Registry Offices and General Registry Office (GRO).

For more information on how you can get certified copies of the documents that we can legalise, contact your local Registry office or the GRO.

UK certificates of no impediment (CNIs) or

‘No Trace’ letters Issued by the General Registry Office (GRO)

The FCDO can legalise original CNIs, or letters issued by the GRO that confirms that an individual cannot be traced.

However, the FCDO cannot legalise photocopies of these documents, even if they are attached to a notarial cover sheet or a UK solicitor or notary public has signed them.

The only designated authorities that can issue certified copies of these documents are local Registry Offices and General Registry Office (GRO).

For more information on how you can get certified copies of the documents that we can legalise, contact your local Registry office or the GRO.

Enquire about document legalisation

British passports.

Original passports, regardless of nationality, cannot be legalised.

A photocopied biodata page of the British passport can be legalised if a notary public or UK solicitor has certified them as original documents or true photocopies.

However, certified copies of ID documents and foreign passports cannot be legalised.

Change of name deed poll.

All documents of change of name deed poll, whether original or copies, can be legalised if a notary public or UK solicitor has certified them as original documents or true photocopies.

Religious documents.

The FCDO can legalise certain religious documents if they have originated from the UK and have been certified by a notary public or UK solicitor.

The original religious documents should be certified by the UK solicitor or notary public as genuine, and the photocopies should be certified as the original documents true copies.

The documents include:

  • Islamic Marriage and divorce certificates issued by UK mosques
  • Baptismal certificates of any denomination.
  • Jewish divorce certificates issued by a Jewish court.

Hajj or Umrah

Before Hajj or Umrah documents can be legalised, an Arabic-speaking solicitor in the UK or an official of the Arab British Chamber of Commerce (ABCC) must certify documents.

UK court documents.

Original documents that have been issued by UK courts and their photocopies can be legalised if a notary public or UK solicitor has certified them as original documents or true photocopies.

Power of attorney, wills, affidavits, declarations, and notarial acts.

The FCDO can legalise the original copies of these documents as long as the concerned individuals have appended their signatures and a notary public, or a UK solicitor has witnessed them. This must also be certified on the document by a notary public or UK solicitor.

Certificates of incorporation and other documents issued by Companies House.

The originals of these documents can be legalised if an official of Companies House has signed them. If this isn’t the case, then a notary public or UK solicitor must certify them as original documents. Photocopies can also be legalised if a UK solicitor or notary public has certified them as true photocopies.

Export certificates.

The FCDO can legalise export certificates if an official of the concerned UK Government Department has signed them. Photocopies may also be legalised if a UK solicitor or notary public has certified them as true photocopies.

Documents from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

The FCDO can legalise original documents from HMRC if an HMRC official has signed them.

Medical documents.

The FCDO can legalise medical reports and letters that have been issued by the NHS Trusts and UK hospitals if a UK doctor registered with the General Medical Council (GMC) has signed them.

The FCDO can also legalise letters about non-medical issues such as letters of offer of employment and job references if a UK solicitor or notary public has certified them as genuine.

Other medical documents issued by doctors such as Form 3 for social security purposes or statutory sick pay cannot be legalised.

Pet travel scheme.

Documents to export pets abroad can be legalised. However, the documents must be original, and a qualified veterinary surgeon must have signed them. Note that we are unable to legalise other pet-related documents.

Documents from UK crown dependencies.

The FCDO cannot legalise documents that have been executed or originating in British Crown Dependencies, including Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man.

The Legalisation Office does not need to further legalise these kinds of documents, once legalised in that dependency, to be recognised by foreign authorities.

Documents from British overseas territories.

The FCO can only legalise documents that have been executed or originating in a British overseas territory if a government official in that territory has previously legalised them.

British territories include:

  • Anguilla
  • Bermuda
  • British Antarctic Territory
  • The British Virgin Islands
  • Caicos Islands
  • Cayman Islands
  • Falkland Islands
  • Gibraltar
  • Montserrat
  • St Helena
  • South Georgia
  • South Sandwich Islands
  • Turks

List of overseas territories offices and contact details

Foreign language translations of UK documents.

Translations of UK documents that have been issued or executed in the UK can be legalised. A UK solicitor or notary public must certify that these documents are true translations.

However, the FCO cannot legalise documents on the translator’s signatures except when they are a consular official, practising UK solicitor, or notary public.

Although certified copies of documents in a foreign language cannot be legalised.

Foreign documents.

Contact the High Commission, consulate, or the relevant embassy for advice on proceeding if you need a foreign document legalised.

If your document needs to be attached to a notarial cover sheet with certification from a UK solicitor or notary public, make sure that the cover sheet refers expressly to that document.

Also, make sure that the document and the cover sheet are properly bounded, otherwise they may be rejected.

Contact us.

Please do not hesitate to call, or email us directly. We have dedicated staff who will walk and talk you through the process of FCDO document legalisation.

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