Overseas governments, authorities and organisations may request a UK apostille to approve using the Certificate of Free Sale (CFS) in their country.

When the apostille is attached to the free sales certificate, it will be accepted outside the UK as a true copy of the original.

We can apostille a certificate of free sale, including the solicitor certification required for electronically issued certificates.

If a UK notary or solicitor has already authenticated your certificate, we can get an apostille in 24 hours.

What it is:

A certificate of free sale (free sales certificate), also known as a certificate to a foreign government or certificate for export, is a document that states that a product can be marketed in the UK and Northern Ireland and that it is eligible for export to other countries [1].

Frequently used for:

An apostilled certificate of free sale is required when exporting active substances, food, or biocidal products outside the UK [2].

Original or copy:

  • Apostilles can be attached to the original certificate of free sale document
  • Apostilles can be issued to solicitor-certified copies (digitally printed certificates)

Good to know:

It is free to get a certificate of free sale in the UK.

Replacement documents:

When applying for the free sale certificate, you are instructed to save a copy on your computer. You can use that copy to get a new apostille if the original has been misplaced.

How much does it cost?

A standard UK apostille for a certificate of free sale starts from £79.

Other costs will depend on the apostille process and other services you may require, such as same-day service, consulate legalisation, notary or solicitor service, embassy fees if needed and what return delivery method you have indicated.

How to order:

A straightforward apostille certificate for a certificate of free sale can be ordered online from our website. You can choose additional apostille service options on the order page. If you are unsure, please call our office and speak to one of our experts.

Call +44 (0) 207 0500 692
Enquire or order a UK apostille

How much does a certificate of free sale cost, including the apostille?

In the UK, applying and requesting a free sales certificate is free. The total cost to get an apostille for the certificate depends on how many documents you have. Digitally issued documents require solicitor certification and the cost of delivery and return delivery.

Why (when) is an apostille required for a free sales certificate?

An apostille for your free sale certificate is required when you sell products overseas. To make sure that your certificate of free sale is accepted in other countries, it must be authenticated and verified as genuine.

This applies to countries that are part of the Hague convention and non-members.

The apostille attached to your sales certificate will be accepted as true and valid without requesting further evidence or proof.

Example of what UK death certificates look like
Example of what certificates of free sales forms look like

Will I require an apostilled certificate of free sale for each shipment of the product?

No. The apostilled certificate of free sale will only be required when registering a new product in a foreign country.

You are required to send the apostilled certificate to overseas customs authorities that you are importing a new product and provide them with the supporting documentation as needed.

Can I use the same apostilled certificate in multiple countries?

No, not every country accepts the UK apostilled certificate of free sale. Some countries (countries that are not part of the Hauge Convention, for example) have their own or additional requirements, so make sure you check with the requesting authority.

How long are a certificate of free sale and the attached apostille valid for?

This depends on which country you use your certificate in, but in most cases, a UK-issued certificate does not expire.

In the UK, the certificates of free sale expiry date will be the earliest expiration date of any Conformity Assessment document of any device included in the CFS order, plus 365 days.

For devices with Declaration of Conformity or Custom-made Statements, the maximum validity will be five years [4].

Once the certificate of sale has expired – the apostille is also invalid and needs to be renewed.

Types of certificates of free sale that need to be legalised

  • Free sale standard

  • Manufacture and free sale (non-alcohol)

  • Human consumption (alcohol only)
  • Free sale alcohol

  • Declaration of origin
  • Manufacture and free sale (animal consumption)

  • Certificate of free sale for plant protection products

  • Certificates for biocidal products (Non-agricultural pesticide products)

  • Certificates of free sale for export

What other UK documents require an apostille service with the certificate of free sale?

When planning to do business outside the UK, you may be required to have other company documents accompanying the certificate of free sale for official purposes. Therefore, we provide an apostille for the following documents too:

Call +44 (0) 207 0500 692
Enquire or order a UK apostille

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] Form: Apply for a certificate of free sale
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/application-for-certificates-of-free-sale-for-export

[2] Certificates of Free Sale & Export Statements (biocidal products or active substances)
https://www.hse.gov.uk/biocides/certificates-of-freesale.htm

[3] Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory agency – certificates of free sale
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1058010/Certificates_of_Free_Sale_Reference_Guide_March_2022_Final_v1.pdf

[4] Do Certificates of Free Sale expire?
https://casusconsulting.com/certificates-free-sales-export-medical-devices/#CFSExpiration