Service summary:
  • We can apostille both the original and a certified copy
  • Original with a wet ink signature – no certification required
  • Electronically issued (PDF) – requires certification
  • 10-12 day service from £98
  • 3-4-day service from £120
  • 1 day (next business day) from £130
  • 1-day e-Apostille from £167

The price includes admin fees, solicitor certification, apostille certificate, FCDO fees, and VAT.

Original or copy?

  • Apostille your original Certificate of Free Sale if it has a wet ink signature.
  • For electronic certificates with digital signatures, a solicitor-certified copy is needed.

Solicitors require supporting evidence that electronic versions are genuine. An email from the issuing authority would suffice.

How the process works:

Step one:

Check if you also need any of the following documents legalised:

  • Certificate of origin
  • Commercial invoice
  • Health certificate
  • GMP certificate

Step two:

Contact our office.

  • In which country will your certificate of naturalisation be used?
  • How soon do you need the apostille?
  • Do you also require embassy legalisation?
  • How will the certificate be delivered and returned?

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

If you accept the quotation, we will send an invoice to be paid, and the process of getting an apostille starts.

Step three:

Once your Certificate of Free Sale 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 the courier gave.

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 business documents, prices are as follows:

  • 10-12 day service cost £122
  • 3-4-day service costs £135.
  • 1 day (next business day) costs £152

The price includes admin, solicitor, FCDO fees, and VAT.

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.

Option two: 3 to 4 days:

  • If documents arrive by 10:30 am, it will take 2 days
  • If documents arrive after 10:30 am, then it will take 3 days
  • Documents are submitted and collected in person

Option three: 1 day (next business day)

  • Documents must arrive before 10:30 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.

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:

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

[2] Certificates of Free Sale & Export Statements (biocidal products or active substances)

[3] Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory agency – certificates of free sale

[4] Do Certificates of Free Sale expire?