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

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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.