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

A Dummies Guide to: Legalisation

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

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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
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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,
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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.
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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.
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Want to retain your EU Citizenship post-Brexit?

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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.