Document legalisation in the United Kingdom refers to the process of authenticating UK public documents with a UK apostille. The UK FCDO attaches the apostille certificate which makes the document legally accepted by countries that are part of the Hague treaty [1].

Document legalisation is a two-step process in the UK: 

  1. Make sure that the signature on your document is recognised by the FCDO (a public official or solicitor, notary signatures are accepted)
  2.  The FCDO authenticates the signature on the document and attaches the apostille certificate, which legalises the document.

The legalised document shows that:

  • The document was issued by an official authority in the UK
  • That the signature, seal and/or stamp on the document is genuine and has been authenticated by the FCDO.
  • That the document’s format is correct

Additional legalisation steps are required when the requesting authority (country) asks for the apostille certificate from the UK FCDO and that documents are also certified with their own Embassy in London.

Read our full article on What is document legalisation

Legalisation without an apostille

Legalising a document without an apostille is possible (outside the UK) and is a two-step process if both or one country is not part of the apostille convention.

  1. Country ‘A’ authority checks that the document has been signed by the relevant authority. A stamp or sticker is placed on the document.
  2. Country ‘B’ verifies Country ‘A’ stamp or sticker and legalises the document.
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