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So, what is Egyptian legalisation?
Legalisation, sometimes referred to as attestation, is the process of making documents from one country legally recognised for use in another country. This process varies dependent on where the documents were issued and the country in which they will be presented, but generally speaking, there are three main steps to legalising a document.
- Authorisation stamp by the government authorities in the country that issued the document.
- Consular stamp in the country that issued the document, applied by the embassy of the country where the document will be presented.
- Legalisation by the appropriate government authorities in the country where the document will be used.
How do you legalise a UK document for Egypt?
If you have a document from the UK that you wish to use for official purposes in Egypt then there are three or four steps required, depending on the document.
- Certification – Unless the document is a birth, marriage, adoption or death certificate, the original document is first presented to a registered UK solicitor. They will make a copy of the document, before stamping and signing the copy to verify that it is a true copy of the original.
- Apostille from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) – The FCDO affix an apostille to the document to prove that it is a genuine UK-issued document. For birth, adoption, marriage and death certificates, this is applied to the original. For all other documents, this is applied to the solicitor certified copy.
- Consular Stamp from the Egyptian Embassy in London – The Egyptian Embassy checks the document and verifies that it can presented officially in Egypt by affixing their Consular stamp.
- Attestation by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) in Egypt – This is usually the final step of the process and your document can then be used legally in Egypt.
Document Language guidelines
In addition you might be required to get the document translated to Arabic; this will depend on who is requesting the documents to be attested. It is always best to ask the question beforehand to ensure there are minimal delays in you being able to use your legalised document. Often Powers of Attorney (POA) are requested in dual-language.
Is this process the same wherever my document was issued?
Although the steps involved are broadly the same wherever the document is issued, there are significant variations based on how the documents should be presented and where you obtain the stamps themselves. Here we have outlined the basic process based on UK-issued documents. If you have paperwork issued elsewhere, the process will be different.
For example, if this is a document issued in the Republic of Ireland or the USA, there are two types of Apostille. They will be issued dependent on whether you are presenting the Apostille within another Hague country, or are presenting it outside of the zone and having another Consular stamp applied alongside it.
In the USA, these two variants are also issued by different departments and carry a different checking process.
How do I know which process I need?
Determining which documents you need to be legalised should be decided by whomever you are dealing with in Egypt. That could be your new employer’s HR Department, government department or legal representative. Once you are aware of which documents you will need to process, our specialist team can assist you with the legalisation itself.
Wherever your documents were issued, we can help, so just get in touch with us to discuss your requirements.
Does the attestation expire?
Generally speaking, once a document is attested for use in Egypt, that attestation is valid indefinitely. That said, there are rare occasions when attestation done a very long time ago may be rejected due to the age or changes in policy since the attestation was done. If you’re unsure, speak to our team who will be able to help.
Can’t I just attest my documents when I get to Egypt?
Documents need to be attested in their country of issue in the manner mentioned previously in order for them to be legally accepted by the Egyptian authorities. Whilst you can wait until you get to Egypt attest them, the documents will still need to be couriered back to their issuing country to be properly processed, therefore taking longer and costing more money.
I’m selling property in Egypt, is the paperwork handled the same?
If you have a Property of Sale (PoS) to be used in Egypt, the Egyptian Consulates will no longer handle these documents. You will need to have a solicitor within Egypt draft this for you and deal with the process within the country itself.
Are company documents for Egypt legalised in the same way?
Yes, though the cost of the Consular stamp at the Egyptian Embassy carries a higher fee than that of any other document type. If you have an Articles of Association and a Memorandum, these can be legalised as one document.
Does it matter how long my document is?
Yes, it can have a bearing on the process. If your document is more than one page long, it will need to be bound together with a cover sheet by a Public Notary before it will be accepted by the Egyptian Embassy. This does not apply to Commercial documents, however.
What language does it need to be in for Egypt?
The Egyptian authorities accept documents in English, however the requirement for an Arabic translation can differ and also depends on the type of document that is being legalised.
If you’d like help attesting your documents, give us a call directly on +44 (0) 330 088 1142, send us a message via WhatsApp, use our live chat system, or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our friendly team of specialists are on hand to answer all of your queries.