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Legalisation

Legalisation

Documents are important because it serves as a legal and binding record that serves as proof that might be necessary to be presented to a governing authority for whatever legal purpose it may serve.  There are a lot of different types of documents, most of them government issued such as passports, naturalization documents, visas.  Some are employer issued such as work permits and certificates of employments.  Others are educational certificates that prove the educational and academic attainment of an individual.  Indeed, there are different documents that serve different purposes, but a document is only useful if proven to be legit or genuine.  The British embassy present in all allied countries requires documents to carry Apostille certification so that they can be assured that the document of an individual is genuine.  But what is an Apostille and how does it help legalise a document?

Document legalisation services

So what is legalization and how does it affect an individual’s documents?  Simply put, the legalisation of documents or an Apostille serves as proof that the document or documents containing signatures, stamps and documents are genuine or legit.  It is a very effective method of making sure that all British documents are real so that no further investigation is necessary to make sure that all documents presented to them are real.  It saves the individual and the governing authority demanding such proof of legalization a lot of time involved in background investigation of the documents so that they can proceed to whatever legal matter that is at hand.  It may be for immigration, work transfer from one country to another or simply an application to a school, whatever the case, an Apostille certificate serves as a legal proof that the document is valid and can be used by the individual to prove that the documents that he or she carries is indeed real.

All documents legalised & attested

Do you need ALL of your documents legalised?  Well the short and simplest answer to the question should be yes, only because it will make life easier for the individual who might need said documents to be legalised.  The British embassy present in all allied countries sometimes require all documents to be genuine, and there is no other easier method to accomplish that than to make sure a document carries an Apostille stamp or the individual has acquired an Apostille certification.  There are indeed cases wherein the individual is not required to prove the authenticity of the documents he carries, but for the most part, it will be easier if the individual presents a document proving that all of the personal documents that he or she carries are indeed genuine.  It might be for immigration to another country, work purposes, or even education and marriage in some cases, but it will indeed save an individual precious time doubling back and try to convince the governing authorities that the documents he or she carries is indeed the real deal.

One important thing to note is that even though the legalisation of documents is required outside of the United Kingdom, any and all documents are not required to be legalized or to carry Apostille certification when an individual is inside the United Kingdom.  This does not mean that an individual cannot apply for Apostille services for legalisation of documents however, because an individual can authenticate all his or her legal documents by means of procuring an Apostille stamp or an Apostille certification for whatever purposes he or she might require.

The Legalisation Office of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)

There is only one governing authority that an individual needs to be aware of if they are in need of Apostille services for the Legalisation of their documents, and that is the FCO.  The FCO, or Foreign and Commonwealth Office, is the authority that issues Apostille services in the United Kingdom.  The FCO is considered to be the only competent authority that issues Apostille certification for all documents needed to be legalized.

If you are an individual who has British documents that you need to be legalized because you are going overseas, then let the FCO handle the Legalisation of your documents through their Apostille services.  Below you can find a quick summary of the process:

  • Provide the original or a photocopy of the document.
  • Either mail or provide a digital scanned copy of the document to be legalized.
  • Pay the corresponding fees to the service provider.
  • Track the progress of the legalisation through their provided tracking number or website.

What are the documents that can be legalised?

Legalisation of documents is indeed important, no matter what circumstances any individual finds himself or herself.  There are a lot of consular services that offer Apostille services and Apostille certification for any type of documents that an individual might need, but it is still important to know what types of documents are allowed and required to be legalized.  Below you can find a short and brief list of all the documents that can be legalized through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO):

  • Government Documents such as visa, passport copies, naturalization certificate, customs certificate, birth certificate etc.
  • Corporate Documents such as letters of incorporation, company house documents, certification of incorporation etc.
  • Bank Documents such as statements of accounts, deed of sale, mortgage certificate or any real estate related documents, etc.
  • Civil Documents marriage certificates, civil union certificates, separation documents etc.
  • Religious Documents
  • Medical Documents such as medical reports, doctor prescriptions, medical records, sick note etc.
  • Educational Documents such as certification from the school attended, diploma, transcript of records, certification of completion etc.
  • Personal Documents such as employment certificates, last will and testament, utility bills among others.

It is very important to note that even though the list above can be easily legalized by the FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office), it doesn’t mean that the content of each document is authenticated upon issuance of an Apostille stamp or an Apostille certification.  Legalisation only serves as a confirmation that the document is genuine, and it is therefore up to the individual applying for legalisation of documents to make sure that all of the documents that need to be legalized are authentic and genuine that came directly from the source offered.

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