Legalisation Apostille Same Day Service FCO London


The legalisation process is often very confusing. Whilst some countries’ authorities require documents to be simply authenticated, others will request for them to be both legalised and attested. The fact that the legalisation jargon varies from country to country complicates the process even more. As a general rule original documents, such as Degree Certificates, will have to be notarised by a regulated professional (i.e. Notary Public or Solicitor) before they can be legalised by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

To verify the authenticity of the signature the FCO relies on a database of regulated professionals such as solicitors, notaries, religious ministers, doctors, vets etc..

The database contains the scanned signatures/seals of these practitioners. It is therefore highly recommended that before you proceed, you ensure that your chosen professional is on the FCO official list.

Once the FCO have verified the stamp/signature against their database and are satisfied that the signature is authentic, they will proceed and endorse the document with an apostille (legalisation certificate).

As opposed to Degree Certificate, the FCO will only legalise original Birth, Marriage/Civil Partnership, Death certificates. This also applies to certificates of no impediment. Notorised/certified copies will not be accepted. In this instance a new original certificate can be raised for future use.

For corporate documents, such as a certificate of incorporation, articles of association and memorandum, certificate of good conduct, a certified copy will need to be raised with Companies House first, before they can be legalised by the FCO.

When the Hague Convention does not apply, documents may have to be legalised by the FCO as well as by the Embassy of the foreign country where the document is to be used.  

Documents requiring legalisation services often  include: Academic/Degree Certificates, Birth and Death Certificates, Civil Partnership, and Marriage Certificates, Business Contracts, Certificates of Incorporation, Certificate of No Impediment, Certificate of Good Conduct, Documents from British Overseas Territories, Export Certificates Religious Documents.

ECS  can have your documents legalised by the FCO in as little as one day.  The processing time for further legalisation by the embassy will depend on the country the document is to be used in. To proceed please contact us.


We also deal with Export Health Certificate (EHC) for Pets issued by DEFRA/APHA and offer a super premium 72 hour turn around service so that you can meet the stringent shipment deadline.To proceed please contact us.

To find out if we can help you, please contact us NOW!




The Hague Convention

Pursuant of The Hague Convention, an Apostille is the only form of legalisation required for travel between participating countries. These countries are members of the Hague Convention:


Albania Dominica Liechtenstein St. Kitts and St. Nevis
Andorra Ecuador Lithuania St. Lucia
Argentina Estonia Macedonia Samoa
Armenia Fiji Malawi San Marino
Australia Finland Malta Serbia
Austria France Marshall Islands Seychelles
Azerbaijan Georgia Mauritius Slovakia
Bahamas Germany Mexico Slovenia
Barbados Greece Moldova South Africa
Belarus Grenada Monaco Spain
Belgium Honduras Montenegro Suriname
Belize Hungary Namibia Swaziland
Bosnia and Herzegovina Iceland Netherlands Sweden
Botswana India New Zealand Switzerland
Brunei Darussalam Ireland Niue Tonga
Bulgaria Israel Northern Ireland Trinidad and Tobago
China Italy Norway Turkey
Colombia Japan Panama Ukraine
Cook Islands Kazakhstan Peru UK
Croatia Korea, Republic of Poland USA
Cyprus Latvia Portugal Venezuela
Czech Republic Lesotho Romania
Denmark Liberia Russian Federation



ECS can obtain an Apostille on your behalf within a day. The following list of documents can be endorsed with an Apostille:


Affidavits Association of Police Chief Officer, Birth Certificates, Civil Partnership & Marriage Certificates, Death Certificates, Declarations Disclosure Documents, Divorce Certificates Documents from HM Revenue and Customs Export Certificates, Certificates of No Impediment, Certificates of Incorporation, Certificate of Good Conduct, Articles of Association and Memorandum, Change of Name Deed Polls, Documents from British Overseas Territories, Foreign Documents Foreign Language Translations of UK Documents, Medical Documents, National Identification Certificates Notarial Acts, Passports Pet Travel Schemes, Powers of Attorney, Religious Documents, UK Court Documents, UK Crown Dependency Documents, UK Educational Documents, Will.



Document legalisation/attestation requirements can vary from Embassy to Embassy. Some Embassies will insist on only original documents, while others will accept certified copies. For instance, most visa nationals in the UK wishing to travel to France have to obtain a French Schengen visa from a UK based French Embassy/Consulate. In support of their applications, married applicants are required to submit their original/translated marriage certificate. Where Indian passport holders are concerned, the certificate will only be accepted by the French Consulate if the document has been authenticated/legalised by the Indian Embassy in London first. Minor applicants will be required to produce their authenticated/legalised birth certificates. This requirement also applies to certificates issued in China and in an increasing number of other countries. As a general rule, any certificate issued overseas will have to be legalised by their respective Embassy/Consulate in the UK . Some embassies will accept documents notarised by a solicitor, while others will insist on it being performed by an actual Notary Public. It is important that you verify the levels of legalisation/authentication that is being asked of the document’s country of destination. To recap, depending on the document and the country of destination, the legalisation process involves between 1 to 3 stages:


  • Certification/notarization – by a solicitor or notary public
  • Legalisation/apostille – by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO)
  • Legalisation /apostille/authentication – by the Embassy/Consulate of the issuing country in the UK.

ECS can assist with the full Legalisation process except in the following circumstances:

  • - when the document must be sworn in front of a notary (such as an affidavit)
  • - when the Embassy of the issuing country does not allow application for legalisation to be filed by proxy.

Countries that we currently provide legalisation services for certain documents inclulde: Brazil . Argentina . China . Chile. France . Ghana . India. Angola. Nigerian. Qatar. Russia . Taiwan . United Arab Emirates (UAE). Peru and Mexico. If your country is not listed above please contact us for further information.

Marriage birth and marriage certificates issued in India which are to be used in support of most Schengen visa applications must be legalised in India by the Ministry of External Affairs rather than the High Commision of India in London. Documents must be filed via a registered agency or in person at one of the four branch secretariats of the Ministry of Exterior. Some of the registered agencies for legalisation in India offer an express service. For more information please click here.


  • 1 – Confirm the legalisation requirements of the destination country before proceeding – some countries do not require initial notarisation of certain documents, some do not require FCO Legalisation.
  • 2 – Ensure that the signatory’s signature is legible if not accompanied with a formal stamp.
  • 3 – In the absence of a stamp, ask your the signatory to print their name next to the signature to aid the FCO in their search – If the FCO does not hold the signatory on file, they will have to contact them and their governing body before being able to legalise the document, depending on the availability of the parties concerned, this can take several days, if not weeks.


JUNE 2016: UK Degree certificate to be used in Qatar: In addition to the Degree certificate, the Qatar authorities now insist on being provided with an original transcript and a letter from the issuing University.

To find out if we can help you, please contact us NOW!




ECS’s Handling Fees to FCO:
  • 1 – 2 documents legalised: £85 + Disbursements
  • £25  per document exceeding 2 documents + Disbursements.

FCO document legalisation processing fee are currently £75 per document.
The average turnaround time for ECS is 1-2 days when FCO has a record of the signatory.



ECS’s Handling Fees to Notary
  • 1 – 2 documents certified/notarised: £35  + Disbursements
  • £25 per document exceeding 2 documents + Disbursements.

DISBURSEMENTS: Estimated Certification Fees:
Solicitor’s fees: £10 per document
Notary Public fees from £75  per document




ECS’s Handling Fees to Embassies / Consulates
  • 1 – 2 documents legalised/attested: from £85 + Disbursements
  • £25 per document exceeding 2 documents + Disbursements.

Embassy document legalisation/attestation processing fees depend on the type of documents that need to be legalised and vary from embassy to embassy, contact us for more information.


Caveat: As mentioned above fees and processing time depend very much on the type of document and on the country the document will be used in.

- UK Degree Certificate to be used in UAE – Our fees for the entire process (ie certification, legalisation and authentication) would be £205 plus disbursements (£122.50)

The processing time would be 2/3 working days from receipt  if received before 10.00.

For a quote for same day / express  / expedited service please contact us.

- UK Degree Certificate to be used in Qatar – Our fees for the entire process (ie certification, legalisation and authentication) would be £205plus disbursements (£93)

The processing time would be 5 to 10 working days from receipt  if received before 10.00.

For a quote for same day / express / expedited  service please contact us.

- UK Company Certificate of Incorporation to be used in China – Our fees for the entire process (ie certification, legalisation and authentication) would be £205 plus disbursements (£125)

The processing time would be 5 to 10 working days from receipt  if received before 10.00.

For a quote for same day / express / expedited service please contact us.

For further information OR a quote please do not hesitate to contact us.