A UK Apostille Certificate is an official government-issued certificate that ensures that documents are recognized whenever they are presented for official use in another country. Before applying for an Apostille Certificate for UK documents, you will need to ensure that the receiving country is a signatory of the Apostille Convention or Hague Conference as it is also known. Documents issued in the UK often have to be apostilled or legalised when they are intended for use in a foreign country.
The UK is a member country of The Hague Convention, which means that Apostille Certifications are often required before legal UK documents may be used abroad. Under The Hague Convention’s rules, member countries facilitate the verification and exchange of documents, but it is still your individual responsibility to find out whether you require an apostille or authentication on your document.
Which documents have to be apostilled?
Some documents that might require Apostille Certification include:
- Birth Certificate
- Marriage Certificate
- Death Certificate
- Affidavits witnessed by a solicitor
- Power of Attorney witnessed by a solicitor
- Criminal Record Checks (CRB)
- Signed Basic or Enhanced Disclosures
- Signed Disclosure Scotland
- ICPC (International Child Protection Certificate)
- Access Northern Ireland
- ACPO – ACRO – NPCC Certificates
- Police Letters
- Last Will & Testament stamped by a court or signed by a solicitor
- No Impediment Certificate
- Doctors Letters
- Subject Access Reports
- Divorce Documents (Decree Absolute or Nisi)
- Vet Documents
- Deed Poll of Name Change signed by a solicitor
- Certificate of Good Standing
- Companies House Documents signed by the Registrar
- HMRC Certificate of Residency
- Certificate of Free Sale
- Rural Payments Agency Documents
- Solicitor signed documents
- Notary Public witnessed documents
What does a UK Apostille Certificate look like?
The UK Apostille Certificate is attached to another document that is required for legal use abroad. The certificate is glued to the back of legal documents and is embossed with the FCO apostille stamp.
Do I have to notarise and apostille my legal documents?
In some cases, you will need to have your UK documents notarised before they can be Apostilled. If the country where you intend to use the document is also a member of the Hague Convention, certification by Apostille is sufficient. In order for the foreign country to accept your UK documents as valid, the authentication process is used in order to prove that the seals and signatures upon the documents are legitimate. The type of certification required largely depends on whether or not the country you intend to use the document in is a member of the Hague Convention or not.
The country I want to use my documents in is not part of the Hague Convention, what happens now?
Since not all seals and signatures used in the UK are known to all other countries abroad, the Apostille process is used as a process of indicating the authenticity of documents. Consular notarial services are offered to UK citizens that require official documents to be legalised for use abroad. When documents are certified with an Apostille, they can legally be used outside of the UK.
If the country you intend to use your documents in is part of the Hague Convention, they are affixed, sealed and signed with an Apostille Certificate. In the case where the country you want to use your documents in is not part of the Hague Convention, an Embassy Attestation might be required for authentication purposes.
What information does the UK Apostille Certificate contain?
All UK Apostille Certifications follow a prescribed format and include the following information:
1. Country of issue
2. Details of the person that signed the document
3. Capacity in which the person has signed the document
4. Details of any seals on the document
5. Place and date of issue
6. Issuing authority
7. Apostille Certificate number
8. Stamp of the issuing authority
9. Signature of the representative of the issuing authority