UK Apostilles And The Hague Convention

If you are using a document outside of it’s country of origin, it will require a process known as legalisation. UK Apostilles are a step of the legalisation process for documents issued in countries which are part of the Hague Convention Agreement. The Apostille itself can differ in appearance and application dependant on the country of issue, but wherever its origin, it will always contain the same 10 points of information.

Different official authorities are also charged with issuing the Apostilles dependant across the Hague member states. In the UK, only the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FDCO) are authorised to issue Apostilles, but in other countries they are dealt with by local government offices or even courts.

To find out more about Apostilles, see our collection of blog articles below where we cover a range of topics around this subject. If you’re in the UK and want to read the complete guide to getting an Apostille, you can see our main article here.

Help guides on Apostilles and Hague Convention Countries

FCDO rejection

Need a UK Apostille? What to check to ensure your document will be accepted by the FCDO!

With more and more people seeking to use their documents overseas, either for work, residency or to enable someone abroad to act on their behalf in a legal capacity, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) are getting hundreds of documents through their doors on a daily basis for the purpose of apostille application. But be aware - the FCDO are stringent in their checks and if your document doesn't meet all the necessary requirements it will be sent back to you without the all-important apostille. So what reasons could your document be rejected by the FCDO and what can you do to prevent this?
UK Apostille stamp

UK Apostille – Everything You Need To Know About UK Legalisation

Legalisation can be a complicated procedure. With various terms for what is essentially the same process, and a range of factors affecting the process depending on your personal circumstances, things can get stressful. Apostille process can be full of pitfalls for the uninitiated, so we've created this definitive guide which covers everything you will need to know.
non lucrative visa letter spain

Medical Letters For Residency Visas – Step-by-Step Guide on Legalisation

As COVID restrictions begin to ease, migration is on the rise now that travel is becoming possible again. With Brexit causing paperwork nightmares for many expats, gathering necessary medical documents for the move has become a stressful task for many. Here we explain why, as well as how you can get your paperwork through as quickly as possible if you're making the move abroad.
Apostille Scam UK

The Latest Scam – How To Check Your Apostille Is Real

During the pandemic, many processes have been more difficult than usual. This has included legal, as well as access to consular services. Some procedures have been adapted where possible, to allow some progress, but others are unable to be by-passed due to their official nature and importance. Because of the difficulties, there have been scams creeping up in order to take advantage of people unaware of complex procedures, desperate to get things moving.
apostille figures 2020

Did Apostille Figures Drop in 2020? – Official Statistics

Due to the travel restrictions, lockdown measures and widespread reductions in workforces across the globe for the majority of the year, you would be forgiven for assuming that the need for Apostilles would have dropped drastically in 2020. We requested official figures from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and compared them to our own customer data, to see what it revealed.
apostille legalisation

Essential differences between Apostilles and Legalisation in the UK

There are a wide variety of terms within the world of legalisation which can cause a lot of confusion for those needing to present documents overseas. If you're in the UK and you're not sure whether you need to Apostille or Legalise your documents, this blog post will answer all of your questions for you.
apostille guide uk

UK Apostille Service – FCO Restarts Limited Functionality

Following a closure of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) UK Apostille service in March 2020 due to staff shortages owing to the recent Coronavirus outbreak, Vital Consular has now been notified that a limited UK Apostille service will be reinstated from Tuesday 7th April 2020.
brexit uk citizenship

Want to retain your EU Citizenship post-Brexit?

With the prospective Brexit date of March 29th creeping ever closer, many British citizens are gearing up to try and claim citizenship in one of the remaining EU member states. Recent data shows that the number of British citizens successfully acquiring citizenship for another European Union country has more than doubled since 2016, the very year the Brexit referendum took place. If ensuring you retain your status as a citizen of an EU state is part of your plan, what do you need to begin the process?
Uk Export Trend Graph

UK Apostille Stamp Figures Released

In a report published this week by the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), following a Freedom of Information Request back in May, the FCO has released details of its Apostille activities for the last financial year. Incredibly, between April 2014 and March 2015, there were 471,796 Apostilles issued from the Legalisation Offices in Milton Keynes and London. The last published figures on the volume of UK Apostilles stamps issued was released in a questionnaire response to the Hague Conference on Private International Law in 2012. In this report, the FCO reported the following Apostille numbers: The current figures show more…

Apostille FAQs

  • Documents can only be Apostilled in the country they were issued in. If you have a UK-issued document, such as a birth certificate or a degree award, this will need to be Apostilled within the UK. If however you were born in the UK but now live in France, for example, even though Apostilles are issued in France as part of the Hague Agreement, they will not apply this to your UK document. Wherever your document is from, we can help. We have a unique global network allowing us to handle document from any country, so you don’t have to make any unnecessary trips.
  • In some cases, yes. If you are using it within another Hague Convention country, only an Apostille could be required. If however you are using it outside of that zone, additional steps will be required. See our complete guide on Apostilles to see a table of countries within the Hague Agreement to find out more.
  • An Apostille itself does not expire. However, some destination countries place time limits on when an Apostille, or the document itself, must have been issued before they will accept it. For example, China will only accept documents for a consular stamp which hold an Apostille issued within the last 6 months. France also have restrictions on some personal documents and when they have been issued, which can in effect void any Apostille applied to it. It is always best to check your personal circumstances with a specialist if you are thinking of legalising your documents, to avoid you losing time and money having to re-process them.
  • No, that isn’t possible. The Apostille is applied to a document after stringent checks have been carried out on that particular document by the FCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office). There is also an embossed seal applied through the document and the Apostille itself, to prevent the document seal being swapped.
  • This differs by country. In the UK, only the FCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) are authorised to issue them, but in other Hague Convention countries, they can be issued by local government offices and in some cases even courts. If you have a non-UK document you wish to have processed, get in touch and we can assist with obtaining this for you.

  • It can, yes. Again, this differs by country, but in the UK the document itself must be in English, dual-language with one language being English, or supplied along with an accurate English translation.

  • Yes, there are official online services where an Apostille can be verified. Each Apostille will have a unique serial number which can be authenticated online, though the site you will need to use will depend on where it was issued.