Although there are bilateral agreements for mutual recognition of university qualifications between the UK and some other countries (e.g. India, South Korea and Japan) , the UK government does not have a comprehensive register of recognised and accredited foreign universities.
The legalisation office of the FCDO deals with applications on a case-by-case basis. Academic documents from established universities in the EU, EEA, EFTA, USA, Australia and Canada are recognised in the UK .
Suppose you have degree certificates or other academic documents from an overseas university. In that case, you may have to get them authenticated by that country’s embassy or consulate in the UK before they can be notarised by a notary public or certified by a solicitor in the UK.
Additionally, or alternatively, a notary public may need to check your documents with the foreign academic institution that issued them before they can be notarised. Again, this is time-consuming and expensive.
The FCDO will only issue an apostille for academic documents issued by an overseas university when the documents have been notarised or solicitor-certified. Even then, it is by no means certain that an apostille will be issued. (See below)
As previously noted, it is usually quicker, simpler, less costly and more certain to get an apostille from the competent authority in the country where the academic documents originated.
Is it possible to get an apostille for a document that has already been certified by a notary public?
The notary public verifies the identity of the person to whom the academic document pertains and (if necessary) affirms that a copy of the document is a ‘true copy’.
It is not possible to get an apostille from the UK’s Legalisation Office if a notary public has notarised the academic document in a country where public notaries have qualifications and functions that are different from those in the UK.
In the USA, for instance, a public notary is not the same as a notary public in the UK .
The FCDO will check that the details of the notary (name, office address, signature, seal, etc.) are registered in their database of approved and practising notaries before issuing an apostille.
What other documents may be required besides the academic document for which I seek an apostille?
In rare cases, the notary or solicitor may require proof of identity (passport, photocard driving licence, biometric residence permit, etc.).
Depending on the document’s purpose, foreign authorities may also require your birth and marriage certificates .
In some cases, a foreign authority may also ask for documents proving that you have no criminal record.
Documents issued by the General Register Office (GRO), such as:
This article has been written by experts and fact-checked by experts. We only link to high-quality sources like government information & data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. Reputable publishers are also sourced and cited where appropriate to support the facts within our articles.
Search terms used for this article topic:
Academic degree supplement
Academic verification letter
Academic standing certificate
Academic achievement certificate
Academic reference letter
Academic performance record
Academic program certificate
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