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What is an Apostille?

An Apostille is a legal certificate that needs to be attached to certain documents so that they can be used in another country. It is a form of ‘legalisation’ of your documents by a public official so they can be recognised internationally.

 

When do I need an Apostille?

An Apostille is needed for the use of any documents that are to be used in a foreign country that requires an Apostille certification in order to officially recognise the document as a valid or authentic.

The types of documents that require an Apostille include:

  • Court Documents
    • E.g., last Will and Testament, Grants of Probate, Court Orders and decisions, Court Judgements, Bankruptcy documents, Decree Absolute & Decree Nisi from a divorce which already bear the seal or signature of the court.
  • Administrative Documents
    • E.g., Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificates, Death Certificates
  • Notary Documents
    • E.g., some documents require certification by a Notary Public before the Apostille can be attached. The notary will be required to verify the authenticity of the document or, where a document to used abroad is being signed in another country, the notary will need to verify the identity of the person who is signing the document and ensure that the legal formalities are adhered to. Notarised documents could be almost anything but typically include Powers of Attorney, Letters of Authority, Declarations, Sworn Statements, copies of passports or other ID documents, copies of qualification certificates, criminal record checks, company documents/ records.

Where do I need an Apostille?

Not all countries require an Apostille for UK documents to be authenticated for use abroad. Those countries that do, are the 118 that are party to the ‘Apostille Convention’ of 1961. All members of the European Union are party to this convention, and therefore you may be required an Apostille to accompany documents to be used there.

How do I get an Apostille?

An Apostille is issued in the UK by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). In most cases, documents that require an Apostille must be submitted by post to the FCO. However, certain companies that are registered with the FCO can present the documents in person which can expedite the process.

Each country will have their own authority who are empowered to issue Apostilles.

If you would like further information about whether you need an Apostille, and how to get an Apostille, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to provide a free, no obligation assessment. Contact us on 01244 470 339 or info@worldwidelawyers.co.uk