Legalisation is the process by which the signature and seal of the notary are authenticated by the Foreign Office and / or the Embassy or Consulate of the country in which the document is to be used.
If a document is notarised in the United Kingdom and is intended for use in another country, there may be a further formality of recognition. The procedure is generally described as “legalisation” although it is sometimes referred to as “consularisation”.
As a general rule, countries which are part of the Commonwealth do not require notarial acts issued in the United Kingdom to be legalised.
Countries which have accepted the international convention on legalisation (the “Hague Convention” of 1961) have abolished the requirement for consular legalisation. It is replaced by a single certification - known as an “apostille”.
An apostille is currently issued in the United Kingdom by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. We arrange legalisation for our clients using both the standard service and a premium service. In either case, the documents are delivered and collected in person by our staff from the relevant government office.
Some countries require notarial documents to be legalised by their own authorities, and the document must therefore in these circumstances be presented to the relevant consulate. We arrange legalisation at all the consulates and diplomatic missions in London. We are also members of all the principal Chambers of Commerce.