Many clients telephone me saying, ‘I need to get a document ‘apostled’, ‘apostlised’ or ‘stamped at the Foreign Office”. What is actually required is that following notarisation, further formalities are required to be satisfied before the document will be accepted in the country in which it is to be used.
Many countries around the world require the identity and authority of the Notary Public to be certified by the State. In the United Kingdom the Foreign and Commonwealth Office issues a signed and sealed Apostille for this purpose. Countries that apply this convention are members of the Hague convention. The Apostille is a certificate that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office attach to the document following the document having been dealt with by the notary public.
Other countries require an additional level of verification in that they demand consularisation and the document, with Apostille, must go the the consulate of the receiving country so that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s signatures and seals are verified. This process is commonly known as legalisation.
Legalisation can add complications to the process as all consulates have different procedures and costs. It is a good idea to ask the recipient authority where the documents are to be used what their exact requirements are. As a notary public acting on behalf of clients in the Lancaster and Harrogate areas, I have broad experience in dealing with embassies and consulates of various countries so it is likely I will be able to provide the service of legalising documents for you.