There are two ways to get an apostille for background checks in the UK.

  1. Order an apostille directly from the official UK FCDO website.
  2. Use an FCDO registered apostille agency to take care of the entire process for you.

Ordering an apostille via the FCDO website directly requires you to know the procedures and requirements of getting an apostille. Also, the process can take up to 20 days or longer.

If you want to ensure that the FCDO does not reject your background check, or if you need your apostille fast, use an FCDO registered agent, like us, to take care of the entire process.

How to order:

Step one:

Check which background check you have. Has an officer of the issuing authority signed your background check? Does the requesting authority need the original, or can you apostille a photocopy?

Step two:

If your background check does not have an official signature, the document must be certified or notarised before an apostille can be issued.

If the requesting country (authority) accepts photocopies of your background check, it must be certified or notarised.

Step three:

Contact us to place an order.

When emailing, please provide the following information:

  • Do you need a solicitor certification or notarisation?
  • How many background checks need an apostille?
  • In which country will your background check be used?
  • How soon do you need the apostille?

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

If you accept the quotation, we send an invoice to be paid, and the process of getting an apostille for your documents starts. We will take care of everything.

Final step:

Once your background check has been apostilled, we will send you a scanned copy via email.

Regardless of what return delivery method is chosen (in person, self-addressed envelope, DHL etc.), we will inform you immediately as soon as the documents are ready to be collected or they are on their way back to you.

Assuming that you are not collecting your apostilled documents from our London office – we will also provide you with the DHL tracking number as soon as your forms have been given to the courier.

Note that we return documents with DHL (only). DHL return deliveries – both national and international require the following details:

  • A full name
  • Full return address
  • Contact phone number

How much does it cost?

A standard apostille for a UK background check starts from £79.

Other costs will depend on what service you choose (standard or same-day service), embassy fees if required and what return delivery method is required.

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

How long does it take to get an apostille for a background check?

Our standard processing time for getting an apostille is 2-3 days.

Here is what 2 to 3 days means:

  • If your documents arrive by 10 am, it will take 2 days to process your documents + next day return delivery.
  • If your documents arrive after 10 am, then it would take 3 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 all background checks need notarisation?

Not all background check documents need to be notarised. If the background check bears an official signature, it does not need to be notarised. The document must be notarised before legalisation if it does not bear an official signature.

All electronically issued background checks must be certified or notarised before an apostille can be attached.

How to get an apostille for background checks
ACRO background check (Example only)

Who can request an apostille for a background check?

Any overseas authority can request a background check to be apostilled. In our experience, overseas employers are the ones that most often request that a background check is legalised with an apostille.

Other authorities that can request an apostille are:

  • Governments
  • Solicitors & notaries
  • Universities – Schools
  • Immigration – border control

I am overseas can I still get an apostille for my background check?

Yes, you can get your UK background check apostilled in the UK from abroad. You need to send the original document for the apostille to our office in London.

If the requesting authority allows it, we may be able to apostille a photocopy. If you can use a copy, you can email us a copy and you don’t need to post the original. 

Can an overseas background check be apostilled in the UK?

It is not possible to get a UK apostille for an overseas criminal record check, like an FBI check. Foreign documents should be apostilled in the country of origin. If the country is part of the Huge Apostille Convention, then the apostille will be accepted in the UK.

Can the FCDO refuse to attach an apostille to the background check?

Yes, the FCDO can refuse to issue an apostille for a background check. For example, if the signature on the document is not recognised (in the FCDO database) then the FCDO would reject the document.

All documents submitted to the FCDO must be signed by a public official, solicitor, or notary. If your background check does not have an official signature, it will be rejected.

Other reasons the FCDO might reject background checks are:

  • Wrong certifications
  • Foreign background checks
  • Missing information
  • If the background check has been altered in any way

Different background checks that we apostille are:

  • National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC)
  • Criminal Records Office (ACRO)
  • Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)
  • Basic Disclosure
  • Enhanced Disclosure
  • Disclosure Scotland
  • NIS Certificates
  • Subject Access Reports
  • Criminal Record Check (Northern Ireland)
  • Police Clearance Certificates (Guernsey)
  • Police Letters

Does my certified background check need translation?

A certified background check may need to be translated if the country requesting the legalisation of your document is not a native English-speaking country. The requesting authority would usually request a translation, so it’s best to check with them.

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.

Request a basic DBS check
https://www.gov.uk/request-copy-criminal-record

ACRO Criminal Records Office
https://www.acro.police.uk/About-Us

National Police Chiefs’ Council
https://www.npcc.police.uk/Info/Generalenquires.aspx

Criminal Record Check (Northern Ireland)
https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/services/apply-online-basic-check

Police Clearance Certificates (Guernsey)
https://www.guernsey.police.uk/righttoinfo