Having arranged for your documents to be “notarised”, the second part of the authentication process is to confirm whether the documents need to be authenticated by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (the “FCDO”) or at the Consulate or Embassy of the jurisdiction in which the document is to be used. Most Commonwealth countries do not require notarised documents issued in England and Wales to be legalised but this should always be checked with the recipient country to avoid any mistakes and delays.

Apostilles – most legalisation of a notarised document for use overseas can be done by way securing an “Apostille” on each document at the FCDO. An Apostille is an official certificate that the FCDO will add by way of a supplemental certificate, which is attached to the notarised documents before they can be used overseas. The FCDO make a charge for applying an Apostille to a notarised document and they can provide various options for a Standard or (depending on the urgency of the matter) a Premium service. For more information on this please visit – The Legalisation Office.

Consular/Embassy legalisation – where the notarised documents are to be used in a country which is not a party to the 1961 Hague Convention, then it is most likely that the documents will require formal legalisation at the consulate or embassy of that country (an Apostille will not be appropriate, although in some cases an Apostille is still required before the Consular legalisation is attached to the document).

This requirement for legalisation by a consulate or embassy needs to be checked early on so that appropriate steps can be taken to ensure the correct legalisation is applied to avoid mistakes and delay. Consulates and/or embassies will make a charge for such legalisation work and these costs will form part of my disbursements and will be advised to you as soon as possible. As this is, potentially, a complex area to deal with, I tend to use specialised agents who deal regularly with consulates and embassies requiring legalisation on notarised documents before they are issued overseas for both private individuals and business clients. These agencies will make a charge for their work, and I will advise you of these costs as soon as possible and in advance of them being incurred.