Apostille service overview:
  1. We need the original adoption certificate
  2. Post or hand deliver your adoption paper 
  • 10-12 day service from £79 per document
  • 3-4 days and starts from £87 per document
  • 24-hour service from £97 per document

Prices are per document and include the apostille certificate, all fees, and VAT.

To get an apostille for a UK adoption certificate we need to receive the original papers.

Photocopies cannot be processed, although official replacements from the GRO or local registrar’s office are accepted.

You can deliver in person via post or courier the certificate to our office in Westminster, London.

We can return the legalised adoption record via DHL or Royal Mail (next-day service) or you can collect it in person.

Jump to: How much does it cost? | How long does it take?

The full process explained:

If you have any questions, please call 0207 0500 692

Step one:

Make sure that your adoption certificate can be legalised with an apostille. You need the original ‘full’ version or an official replacement that is stamped by the GRO.

Step two:

Contact our office.

When emailing, please provide the following information:

  • How soon do you need the apostille?
  • Do you also require embassy legalisation?
  • How will the adoption certificate be delivered and returned?

When we have all the information, the team will assess your enquiry and give you a detailed quotation and timeline of the process.

If you accept the quotation the process of getting an apostille starts. We will take of everything.

Final step:

As soon as your UK adoption certificate has been apostilled, we will send you a scanned copy via email.

If you are not collecting your apostilled document from our London office – we will provide you with the tracking number given by the courier.

Note that we return documents by DHL or Royal Mail only. If you want to make other arrangements, please let us know.


How much does it cost?

For personal documents, prices are as follows:

  • 10-12 day apostille service costs £79
  • 3-4 day apostille service starts from £87.
  • 1 day (next business day) service costs £97

The price includes our fees, FCDO fees, and VAT. Business documents incur an additional processing fee.

There could be additional costs, depending on another service you choose and how many documents you wish to apostille. Additional cost examples are:

  • Translations start from £65
  • Notarisation by notary public (+ £96)
  • Return delivery costs (+ £12)
  • Embassy legalisation (from + £75)

How long does it take to get an apostille?

There are 4 options for getting an apostille.

Option one: 10-12 days:

Your documents are “posted” to the FCDO in Milton Keynes and then posted back to our office – or your address. This process usually takes about 10 business days. (currently unavailable)

Option two: 3 to 4 days:

  • If documents arrive by 10:30 am, it will take 3 days
  • If documents arrive after 10:30 am, then it will take 4 days
  • Documents are submitted and collected in person

Option three: 1 day (next business day)

  • Documents must arrive before 10:00 am for the next-day service.
  • Documents can be collected around 3:30 pm the next day.
  • Documents are submitted and collected in person

Option four: e-Apostille 1 to 2 days 

Electronic apostilles are usually completed within 24 hours but can take two working days, depending on the FCDO’s workload.

Do I have to come to your office?

No, you don’t need to attend our office in Westminster. Documents can be sent by courier or by post. We recommend using a tracked service if you send your documents by post. We return your documents in the same way.

You are of course welcome to drop documents off in person. Delivering in-person requires that you have an order number. Please make sure you contact our office first.

Mock-Up of UK adoption certificate with apostille certificates
Mock-Up of UK adoption certificate with apostille certificates (image credit in references below)

When do I need to get an apostille for my adoption certificate?

You will need to get an apostille for your adoption certificate if an overseas organisation requests it, like a government agency, company, or public official.

The purposes for which an apostille of your adoption certificate may be requested include:

  • visa and/or citizenship applications
  • confirmation of identity overseas
  • marriage overseas
  • employment in another country
  • sale or purchase of property abroad
  • registration of a birth or adoption in another country
  • execution of a will or probate overseas

Can I use a photocopy of my adoption certificate to get an apostille?

You cannot use a photocopy of your adoption certificate to get an apostille. You can, however, use an official copy issued by the General Register Office (GRO).

The Legalisation Office of the FCDO does not accept photocopies of adoption certificates for apostilles.

Even when they have been notarised, photocopies are not accepted.

You can get an official copy of your adoption certificate from the General Register Office (GRO).

Should I get the apostille for a short or full adoption certificate?

You can only get an apostille from the FCDO for a full adoption certificate.

A full adoption certificate (also called a long or extended certificate) is necessary for most legal purposes in foreign countries [1].

Always get an apostille for the full version of your adoption certificate.

What is the difference between a short and full adoption certificate?

The short certificate does not mention adoption. Its title is ‘Certificate of Birth.’

The short adoption certificate replaces a short form birth certificate. However, the short adoption certificate does not include the full details of the parents.

The long (full) certificate is a copy of the full entry in the Adopted Children Register. Its title is ‘Certified Copy of an Entry.’

The full adoption certificate records:

  • The person’s full adopted name
  • The date of birth
  • The adoptive mother’s full name
  • The adoptive father’s full name
  • The adoptive parents’ address
  • The occupations of the adoptive parents (optional)
  • The registration district, sub-district, and county of birth
  • The date of the Adoption Order
  • The name of the court which gave the Adoption Order
  • The date on which the entry to the register was made
  • The signature of the appointed officer
  • The date when the certificate was produced

The GRO issues both the short and full adoption certificates in England and Wales (for Scotland and Northern Ireland, see below).

Only the full (long form) certificate can be apostilled for overseas use.

How can I apply for an adoption certificate?

To apply for an adoption certificate in England and Wales, it is necessary to fill in an application form [2] and send it to the GRO.

The completed form should be sent to the General Register Office [3]. The parent agency of the GRO is HM Passport Office.

In Northern Ireland, adoption certificates are issued by the General Register Office for Northern Ireland (GRONI). You can download and print an Application Form [4].

In Scotland, an adoption certificate (also known as an Official Extract) can be ordered from the National Records of Scotland (NRS) [5].

Should I get a translation of my apostilled adoption certificate?

You will not need a translation of your adoption certificate unless it is requested by a foreign organisation, government agency, company, employer, or public official.

If a translation is requested, the translation must be certified as accurate.

Can I get an e-apostille for my adoption certificate?

No. You can only get a physical apostille for an adoption certificate. The FCDO Legalisation Office can not issue e-apostilles for GRO documents.

E-apostilles are only available for documents that have been issued and signed electronically. The GRO only issues physical, printed documents.

Is an apostille for my adoption certificate sufficient for legalisation?

An apostille for an adoption certificate is recognised as sufficient for legalisation in all countries that belong to the Hague Convention on Apostilles [6].

Members and parties to the Hague Convention are also signatories to the Adoption Section [7].

Further legalisation may be required for countries not members of the Hague convention.

We can make all the arrangements necessary for embassy attestation.

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.

[1] The Adopted Children Register – Note for Parents
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/800942/Note_for_parents_Mar_2019__4_.pdf

[2] Adoption certificate application form
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/adoption-certificate-application-form

[3] The General Register Office
https://www.gov.uk/general-register-office

[4] Birth certificate application of adopted child GRO40A
https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/publications/adoption-certificate-application-form

[5] National Records of Scotland
https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/files//registration/form-su3-2016.pdf

[6] HCCH 1993 Adoption Convention
https://www.hcch.net/en/instruments/conventions/specialised-sections/intercountry-adoption

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons