WHAT IS LEGALISATION?
Generally, your document may not need to be legalised or apostilled if your document is required in a country which is currently or was previously part of the British Commonwealth. Some part of the United States of America may not require legalisation as well. However, it is recommended that you check with the intended recipient of the document or your lawyer in that country before you embark on the journey in preparing your documents to be sent overseas.
Many individuals and businesses have had documents returned to them by the receiver requesting that they legalise the document. This wastes time causing potential delays to the purpose of sending the documents and would like waste additional funds through unnecessarily couriering the documents to the receiving jurisdiction before they are fully ready.
WHAT IS AN APOSTILLE?
For countries which are a party to the Hague Convention, the notary’s certificate and seal will require legalisation by the UK government via the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). The certificate that is affixed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is known as an apostille.
The Hague Conference has currently 83 Members: 82 States and 1 Regional Economic Integration Organisation (the European Union).
A-Z OF COUNTRIES THAT ACCEPT APOSTILLES
NOT ALL COUNTRIES ACCEPT APOSTILLES
If the country you need to send documents to is not listed above, consular legalisation at the relevant embassy, consulate, or high commission may also be required. This depends on the requirements of the country the document will be sent to. Some countries require the document to be legalised by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) first and then their country’s embassy, consulate or high commission.
Woodcock Law & Notary Public are here to help guide you through this process and can arrange the full legalisation of your documents directly or through agents.
WHAT HAPPENS IF MY DOCUMENT IS NOT LEGALISED APPROPRIATELY?
Failure to legalise the document as required is likely to invalidate the document or make it unenforceable in the country where it is required to be used. It is vital to obtain appropriate advice from the lawyer in the receiving country and Woodcock Law & Notary Public when you need to legalise a document. The huge variation in the requirements for different types of documents in each jurisdiction can be confusing and some requirements may not make any sense at all.
If you are unsure about the legalisation requirements for your document you can always ask Nathan Woodcock, our Notary Public of England and Wales. He will discuss your legalisation requirements with you and provide the most cost-effective approach to have your documents notarised and legalised. You will have a clear understanding of what the costs will be within your initial free consultation before any costs are incurred.
You can arrange the legalisation of your documentation yourself with our guidance, however Nathan Woodcock will be happy to provide this service for you should you wish.