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Chris Langridge, Notary Public
Kent — Surrey — Sussex
Kent — Surrey — Sussex


Ensuring your documents are valid abroad

When a document is notarised in the United Kingdom for use in another country, a further formality known as ‘legalisation’, ‘consularisation’ or obtaining an ‘Apostille’ may be required. Legalisation is the process by which the notary’s signature and seal are authenticated by the UK Foreign Office and sometimes the Embassy or Consulate in the UK of the country where the document is to be used. This means the original signed and notarised document has to be sent to the UK Foreign Office and/or the relevant Embassy or Consulate in the UK. Legalisation makes the signed and notarised document legally valid in another country.

No legalisation

Not all documents need to be legalised because of the type of document they are. Some countries which are part of the British Commonwealth and some parts of the United States do not usually require documents notarised in the United Kingdom to be legalised.

Apostille legalisation

After notarisation of documents many countries require a certificate from the UK Foreign Office called an Apostille and sometimes the Hague Apostille. The Apostille is attached to the original signed and notarised document.

An Apostille is issued in the United Kingdom by the UK Foreign Office which is based in Milton Keynes.  Express services are also available, including a Premium service with a 24-hour turnaround at the UK Foreign Office, otherwise the standard service has to be used which takes longer. We can arrange legalisation for clients using both the standard, express and premium services.

Consular legalisation

Some countries require notarial documents to be legalised with both an Apostille and a certificate from their own Embassy or Consulate in the UK.

We can arrange this but this will take longer as the document must be sent to both the UK Foreign Office and the relevant Embassy or Consulate. We can arrange legalisation at all the Embassies and Consulates in London.

Legalisation costs and timescale

In most cases we will be able to tell you in advance what legalisation is likely to cost and, if at all possible, the likely time it will take.