Documents the FCDO can legalise.

The legalisation office (the FCDO) can legalise all UK documents with an apostille.

Documents that carry an original seal, a stamp, or signature from an official or a public organisation in the UK, don’t need to be certified before legalisation.

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

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.

UK educational documents.

All UK educational documents must be solicitor certified before the FCDO can legalise them.

A UK notary public or solicitor must sign the documents to certify and authenticate that educational documents are either original or true photocopies.

For educational documents originating overseas, or if you live outside the UK, the British Council in your country can also certify documents.

Educational document examples are: 

Unless requested, we always legalise a certified copy for our clients. This means you can email us your scanned copy or PDF download. No need to post the original to our office.

General Register Office (GRO) documents

All original documents, and official copies, from the General Register Office (GRO) or local registry office can be apostilled by the FCDO.

Photocopies of GRO documents can not be legalised, even if it is attached to a notarial cover sheet or a UK solicitor or notary public has signed them.

Here are some GRO-issued document examples:

We must receive the original document to get an apostille for GRO documents. You can post or hand deliver your documents to our London office in Westminster.  Make sure you have an appointment when attending in person. 

Personal and business documents.

There are hundreds of document examples that we could mention. However, the critical part is that each document is prepared correctly before submitting it to the FCDO.

The majority of company documents and personal documents must be notarised or solicitor certified before legalisation.

Here is a mixture of document examples:

Check with our office first which documents can be processed electronically and which documents we need to receive the original.

Background, criminal, police, ID documents.

Background checks, disclosures of all kinds, ID cards (police, armed forces, PASS cards etc.), identity cards, and criminal record checks like ACRO are all documents that the FCDO can legalise.

Here are a few document examples:

We must receive the original document to get an apostille for DBS, ACRO, passport, driver’s license, etc. You can post or hand deliver your documents to our London office in Westminster.  Make sure you have an appointment when attending in person. 

Government documents.

The FCDO can legalise all UK government documents. Some examples of government documents are:

  • Bankruptcy and insolvency
  • British Overseas Territory documents
  • Certificate of free sale
  • Certificate of naturalisation
  • Certificates for enforcement in a foreign country
  • Child benefit documentation
  • Council rent card or tenancy agreement
  • Electoral register search
  • Export Certificates
  • Fingerprint documents
  • Firearms and shotgun certificate
  • Grant of probate
  • Home office (HO) documents
  • MLR Registration Certificate
  • NEBOSH Certificate
  • P60 & P45

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.

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 Arab British Chamber of Commerce (ABCC) official must certify documents.

UK court documents.

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

UK court document examples are: 

  • Affidavits (sworn)
  • Application for a warrant of arrest
  • County court judgments
  • Court of bankruptcy document
  • Declarations and notarial acts
  • Decree absolute
  • Decree nisi
  • Documents from UK crown dependencies
  • Employment tribunals
  • Family division of the high court of justice document
  • High court of justice document
  • Immigration and asylum tribunal
  • Statutory declaration
  • UK court documents

HMRC & Companies House documents.

The originals of these documents can be legalised if an official from 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.

Companies House document examples are: 

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.

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.

  • Coroner’s report (post-mortem)
  • Cremation certificates
  • Department of Health (DH) document
  • Doctors letter
  • Fit note
  • Medical reports
  • Sick note

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.

  • Pet export document
  • Pet Travel Scheme

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 FCDO can only legalise documents that have been executed or originate in a British overseas territory if a government official 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 FCDO 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.

Free document review.

For documents reviewed via email, make a copy of your documents and email them to our specialist.