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The notarization of documents is a very old and very popular way of making sure that your legal documents are legit and valid.  There are a lot of different reasons why an individual might want to notarize their documents, but a lot of those reasons point towards the validity of their documents to be presented to a governing authority for whatever legal means it might serve them.  Most of the time for local purposes, notarization of documents will be enough to make sure that any authority – could be legal, corporate, private or even government – will be assured that the documents an individual present are genuine and valid.  However, when you need documents to be valid and recognized outside of the United Kingdom for whatever purpose, notarization of documents will not be enough and you need to consider Apostille services to get a certificate of Apostille for the British documents you might carry.  Before you go look for a legalisation office that might help you obtain Apostille certificates, it might be wise to know what is an Apostille certificate first.

Why is it important to legalise your documents?

So what is an Apostille certificate or stamp?  In layman’s terms, the Apostille certificate is a small document or a stamped certificate that can be attached to a legal British document that acts as a claim of validity or genuineness of a document.  the Apostille certificate is obtained through a process of contacting a legalisation office to authenticate a document, presenting them with an original or a copy of the document to be legalized, paying the corresponding fee once the document has been checked and deemed complete and finally being awarded of a certificate of Apostille by the  legalisation office.  Typically, Apostille services require the individual in need of their services to submit an application form either personally or through mail, but thanks to advances in technology and processing speed electronic transactions in obtaining a certificate of Apostille is now gaining intense popularity in the United Kingdom.

How do you obtain Apostille certificates?

As earlier said, there are a two main ways to obtain the Apostille stamp for your documents: by personal application or by mail.  Mail-processed applications are considered to be the main way in obtaining Apostille certificates, especially if you want your original legal documents to be legalized.  But for those individuals who are not very particular with that, electronic assessments and legalisation procedures are now becoming popular.  What this does is allow an individual to electronically submit scanned copies of their documents to a legalisation office, which then investigates and makes sure that the submitted documents are valid.  Once all of the necessary documents are in place and payments for the fees have been settled, the legalisation office mails the authenticated documents back to the requesting party.  This is especially becoming popular not only because of its speed of transition and processing but also because not all of the governing authorities demand original documents for presentation and most of the time allows copies to be presented for the individual’s sake, as long as it is accompanied by a certificate of Apostille.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office or FCO

Now that you know what Apostille certificates are and how they can immensely help you out of any legal concerns when you are transferring a country for whatever reason, it is time to know where to get Apostille certificates and stamps.  There are indeed a lot of different Apostille services readily available out there, but if you want a very reliable legalisation office offers Apostille services, then you need not look further than the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). 

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) offers reliable and fast Apostille services for any individual in need of legal documents to be legalised.  Not only do they provide you with Apostille certificates and Apostille stamp for your documents, they also make sure that they educate you to their proper application procedure first, and make sure that your document is valid to begin with before proceeding to any processes.  Below you can find their easy to follow steps in application for their Apostille services:

  • Step 1.  Is to make sure that the individual in need of Apostille services is aware of the requirements of the requesting authority for the legal documents.  Each different requesting governing authority has certain demands or requests that need to be included or stipulated on the legal documents an individual is presenting, and it is up to the individual to research and make sure that it is indicated upon submission of the documents to get a certificate of Apostille.
  • Step 2.  Fill out the application form and make sure that all of the legal documents and requests are in the proper format accepted by the FCO office.  Further information can be found on their website.
  • Step 3.  Settle or pay the necessary fees.  Fees can either be paid online, UK postal order or bank cheques.  Only online payments are exempt from any additional fees, which covers return sending fees or return special delivery by the legalisation office
  • Step 4.  Make sure to include the application from available for download in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website.  The application form is required to be submitted with the legal documents to be legalised
  • Step 5.  Post all of the necessary documents (Application form, documents, payments n the form of business cheques if the fees are not settled online) to the address indicated on the website

Make sure to double check all of the documents and fees to be submitted before you post it to the legalisation office.  Failure to do so might result to further delay of the processing time of your legal documents and might prove detrimental to the processing of your papers for whatever purpose you might use it.

 

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