Legalising your documents with the apostille can seem very confusing. After all, there are so many websites quoting different information, how do you know what to believe? We look at some of the most common myths when legalising your documents.
Foreign documents can be legalised in the UK
This is true in some circumstances. If your document was issued by a British Overseas Territory (e.g. British Virgin Islands) and requires embassy attestation then the document can be attested in the UK. The first step is to have the apostille issued in the country of origin. The UK apostille can then be issued before the document is attested at the relevant embassy.
Documents must be signed by Notary
There is a common misconception that documents can only be signed by a Notary Public before the apostille is issued. This is incorrect. As part of the apostille regulations a document must be stamped by a government office or signed by a legal official such as a solicitor or notary public. The only time a notary must sign a document is if it specifically references a Notary Public. This is sometimes the case with power of attorney documents or legal declarations.
Originals or copies?
The decision to process original or copy documents will depend on the type of document and the authority overseas. Certain documents must be processed as originals which includes birth certificates, marriage certificates and criminal record checks whereas others such as education certificates can be processed as originals or copies. In this case, it will depend on the authority overseas to clarify which version is required.
All documents require certification
As mentioned above the apostille regulations require a document to be stamped by a government officer or signed by a legal official such as a solicitor or notary public. If your document has been signed by a government official which can include a Companies House officer, Registrar or HMRC tax officer you will not require solicitor certification.
The apostille takes two weeks to complete
If documents are posted directly to the government office in Milton Keynes it can take approximately 2 weeks to complete the apostille process. Any service provider who is registered with the FCO will be able to complete your documents within 1-2 working days as they attend the office in person to deliver and collect documents.
The UK embassy can issue the Apostille Certificate
The UK apostille can only be issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office who are based in the UK. It is not possible for the British Embassy in any country to issue the apostille certificate.
Your legalised documents must contain a red seal
A lot of authorities overseas are presented with documents which contain a red seal or sticker attached and this is often considered to be part of the apostille. This is a common misunderstanding, the red seal is often added by a solicitor or notary public when certifying the document. Some legalisation service providers may add a red sticker to your document, however, this does not change the legal standing of your document. In short, this is not required on every document which is legalised with the apostille.
These are some of the common myths surrounding the apostille legalisation process. If you have any further questions please contact us.