Service summary:
  1. We need the original adoption certificate
  2. Post or hand deliver your adoption paper (24 hours)
  3. We get the apostille and return your certificate
  4. The process takes 1-2 days and starts from £79

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 (24 hours) via post or courier the certificate to our office in Westminster, London.

Once we receive the adoption certificate, getting an apostille usually takes 1-2 days, and costs start from £79, including FCDO fees.

We can return the legalised adoption record via DHL courier (next-day service) or you can collect it in person (24 hours).

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 DHL tracking number given by the courier.

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

How much does it cost?

The cost of getting an apostille for an adoption certificate starts from £79.

Other costs will depend on additional services you choose (standard or express service) if you need embassy attestation, and what return delivery method you choose.

Additional cost examples are:

  • Same day or express service (+ £123)
  • UK return delivery costs (+ £18)
  • Notarisation by notary public (+ £90)
  • Embassy attestation/legalisation (from £75)

How long does it take to get an apostille for an adoption certificate?

Our standard processing time for getting an apostille is 1-2 days.

Here is what 1 to 2 days mean:

  • If your documents arrive by 10 am, it will take 1 day to process your documents + next-day return delivery.
  • If your documents arrive after 10 am, then it would take 2 days to apostille your documents + next day return delivery.

We also offer a same-day apostille service.

  • Documents must arrive before 10 am for the same-day service.
  • Documents can be collected around 4 pm the same day.

Same-day service assumes you can drop off and collect your documents on the same day at our London office.

If a mailing or courier service is utilised, the same day becomes a 24-hour service.

Read the full same-day apostille service explanation.

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

[2] Adoption certificate application form

[3] The General Register Office

[4] Birth certificate application of adopted child GRO40A

[5] National Records of Scotland

[6] HCCH 1993 Adoption Convention

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons