What is embassy attestation?

Embassy attestation is a process that countries outside the Hague Convention require. It involves getting your UK documents officially recognised by a foreign embassy in London.

This “stamp of approval” verifies the authenticity of your documents’ signatures and seals, confirming a legitimate authority issued them.

Before submitting your documents to the embassy, you’ll usually need to authenticate them by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (The FCDO) with an apostille certificate. This additional step ensures that your documents meet the specific requirements of the foreign country.

The embassy attestation process in London

Step 1: Notarisation or certification (if needed)

  • Some documents may need a notary public or solicitor to witness your signature and certify the document’s authenticity.
  • Check the requirements of the specific embassy.

Step 2: FCDO apostille

  • The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) adds an “apostille” certificate to your document, making it acceptable to embassies.
  • Processing time: This can be standard service (a few days) or premium if available.

Step 3: Embassy attestation

  • You submit your notarised and apostilled document to the relevant embassy in London.
  • Embassies have their own fees and processing times. Check their website for details.

Country-specific examples

  • Kuwait: May require an additional certificate of origin from a relevant UK trade association after the FCDO apostille.

  • Thailand: Some documents might need to be translated into Thai by a certified translator before embassy attestation.

  • Vietnam: Documents related to adoptions or real estate might have additional provincial legalisation requirements.

  • UAE: Documents such as Powers of Attorney, Board Resolutions, Authorisations of Agents, Affidavits, and Consent Letters now require verification by the UAE Consulate before they can be attested.

Important note: Always double-check the specific requirements on the embassy website where you plan to use your documents.

Realistic timelines

The entire process can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks, depending on these factors:

  • Whether notarisation is required
  • FCDO processing time (standard vs. premium)
  • Embassy-specific turnaround time
  • Additional steps like translation or Chamber of Commerce legalisation

Tip: Start the process well in advance of when you need the attested documents to avoid any last-minute delays.

Popular Embassies.

Saudi Embassy
UAE Embassy
Egypt Embassy
China Embassy
Vietnam Embassy
South Korea
Qatar Embassy
Kuwait Embassy
Malaysia Embassy
Lebanon Embassy
Thailand Embassy
Jordan Embassy
Egypt Embassy

Popular Embassies.

Saudi Embassy
UAE Embassy
Egypt Embassy
China Embassy
Vietnam Embassy
South Korea
Qatar Embassy
Kuwait Embassy
Malaysia Embassy
Lebanon Embassy
Thailand Embassy
Jordan Embassy
Egypt Embassy

DIY vs. Professional attestation services

Do-It-Yourself (DIY)

  • Pros:
    • Potentially lower cost (you only pay government fees)
    • Full control over the process
  • Cons:
    • Time-consuming (researching requirements, visiting offices, etc.)
    • Risk of errors, which can cause delays or rejections
    • Can be confusing to navigate the rules of different embassies

 Professional attestation services

  • Pros:
    • Saves time and hassle
    • Expertise in embassy requirements reduces risk of mistakes
    • Often have established relationships with embassies, potentially speeding up the process
  • Cons:
    • Additional cost for service fees

When to consider a professional service

  • Complex requirements: If the country has multiple steps or unclear regulations.
  • Tight deadlines: When you need your documents attested quickly.
  • Multiple documents: If you’re handling several documents at once.
  • Peace of mind: If you prefer a hands-off approach and want the assurance of experienced professionals.

FAQs

In simple terms, embassy attestation is an official verification process that makes your documents legally recognised in a foreign country. Think of it as a ‘stamp of approval’ that confirms the document is genuine and issued by a legitimate authority in your home country.

Why is it needed?

Countries that are not part of the Hague Convention usually require embassy attestation to ensure the authenticity of documents used for official purposes:

  • Obtaining visas
  • Conducting business
  • Getting married
  • Attending university

Let’s illustrate with an example:

If you have a UK birth certificate and need to use it for a visa application in Qatar (a non-Hague Convention country), it will likely need embassy attestation from the Qatar Embassy in London.

The timeline varies depending on the embassy and any additional requirements. LAS can provide a more accurate estimate for your specific needs based on your documents and destination country.

Generally, you’ll need to start the process in the country where the document was issued. However, LAS may be able to assist with additional steps as needed.

Sometimes, these terms are used interchangeably. “Legalisation” often refers to the overall process, including any steps before the embassy. “Attestation” specifically refers to the embassy’s confirmation.

  • Save time and avoid frustration: Embassy attestation involves multiple steps, each with its own rules. Agencies navigate the process efficiently on your behalf.
  • Reduce the risk of mistakes: Understanding embassy requirements can be complex. Agencies have the experience and knowledge to prevent rejections that cause delays.
  • Simplified process: Agencies often handle all steps, from notarisation and apostilles to embassy submission, offering you a single point of contact.
  • Peace of mind: Experienced agencies provide insurance and secure document handling, which is especially important with restrictions since COVID-19.

 Bottom Line: While you can do it yourself, agencies offer expertise and convenience, making it a worthwhile investment for many people.

Yes, you can get documents attested yourself. Doing it yourself requires knowing each government body’s proper process and requirements.

You must find and pay for the solicitor’s or notary’s, postage, and FCDO fees and ensure your documents are shipped back securely.

Then, make an appointment with the embassy and follow all their instructions, post the documents (or go in person), pay the fees, and collect your documents from the embassy.

You could also avoid the back-and-forth by choosing an agency to handle the attestation procedures. As a registered agency, our service aims to ease the process for you.

Allow our team to take care of the procedures — saving you time, effort, and money, and you get your documents attested – guaranteed.

British embassies and consulates can certify documents but can not attest to them. If a consular official certifies a document and you need to obtain a UK apostille, the consular official signature must be registered with the FCDO to get an apostille. Otherwise, you will need a UK FCDO registered notary or solicitor to provide the certification.

The most common documents we attest with embassies are:

Personal documents

  • Certificates (birth, death etc)
  • HMRC letters
  • Police letters
  • No impediment certificates
  • Court documents

Business documents

  • Incorporation certificate
  • Company letters
  • Minutes & resolutions
  • Financial documents
  • Non-disclosure agreement

Educational documents

  • Degree, masters, diploma
  • Professional qualifications
  • Training certificates
  • School letters
  • GCSE, CSE, O Level

An attestation service that you can rely on.

Experience

Knowledge of rules and procedures ensures we avoid delays and rejected documents.

Professional

Preparing documents to meet both embassy and governmental office requirements.

Trust Worthy

We guarantee that your documents are attested or we refund our fee.

Embassy attestation - country flags

Why use our London embassy attestation service?

We are experienced, we will save you time and money and we guarantee our service or your money back.

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For corporate enquiries call 0207 0500 692 or email hello@apostillelondon.com

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