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Neil is one of our team of runners and he goes out daily from our central base in the historical area of Smithfield, close to St. Paul’s Cathedral, helping our urgent service tick over as smoothly as possible. The start of his day is the most important, as this is all about planning from the moment he steps foot into the office with the rest of the team.
It starts with a briefing of the day’s submissions, fortunately we have an in-house solicitor who certifies the documents, this helps greatly to speed up the initial process. I then make my way to Blackfriars tube station, at speed, to visit the FCO.
The in-house solicitor completes the first stage of document legalisation. This is required for most documents, except those issued by the government such as birth certificates and some police documents. These are legalised on the original. Having these already certified when Neil is ready to go is a great time saver, and as we use our own solicitor, we know his copies will be accepted at the FCO during the next stage. This is imperative as an incorrect certification or a signature requiring verification could cause a serious knock-on effect in the process. This doesn’t mean Neil can slow down or beat the queues however!
I’m always dashing…the FCO Premium Service has a deadline of 11am for submissions to be collected the same day, but I have my own rule that I have to submit before 10am. It’s an unknown entity when it comes to waiting time at the FCO, so the earlier the better! It can be up to an hour and a half or more at peak times. That has a huge bearing on how my morning pans out, as it really eats away at the time I have to submit the day’s allocated documents elsewhere if it’s required. It can be both frustrating and exasperating!
As there are so many Embassies and High Commissions in London (currently 164) and Vital Consular can handle documents for practically any of them, each day is very different for Neil.
Although I tend to visit the same Embassies regularly, each day is different. A methodical approach is always required and the ability to prioritise is essential. Would you believe some customers fly out on the same day they have their documents legalised? That’s extremely last minute for us and adds extra pressure, hoping everything runs smoothly and there’s no surprises, but we get the job done.
With so many possible variables, timing can be tight. Couple the distance between the FCO and Embassies with the varied submission and collection times at each location. An intimate knowledge of the London transport system and city streets is imperative.
The deadlines are very tight, again waiting time is the main issue. You plan your route accordingly and this is dictated by closing times. I use the tube most of the time, but as some of the Embassies are within close proximity to each other, around 10-15 minutes, it can sometimes be just as quick to walk. Albeit a very sprightly walk, but that’s good for the body and soul… and the waistline!
Waiting around is frustrating for anyone, especially as many embassies require you to pass through security checks and scans, before making your way to the consular desk which operate on a ticketing system. It can be a while until you are even seen.
It’s very welcoming when you enter an Embassy to see separate counters for visa and legalisation submissions. This really speeds up traffic through the Embassy. It’s far more effective, resourceful and reduces time waiting to a minimum . We like that. A lot.
Some allow same-day collection as long as you submit before a certain deadline, whereas others only have 2 submission and 2 collection days per week, so if your chance is missed, it could be several days until you can try again. For anyone who has travelled to process their documents, these delays or errors in their documents could be very costly indeed.
Even with the experience that Neil now has under his belt, some issues with processing documents can’t be avoided, only minimised. Having the expertise of the team back at the London office checking that the correct documents, a valid certification and having any authorisation forms required completed correctly is only the beginning. As each destination country has it’s own guidelines for document legalisation, it pays to have a knowledgeable group of colleagues on hand.
Once Neil leaves the office to begin his day in London, it’s all about being mindful of how, if required, he can shift things around whilst still getting everything completed.
The main issue without a doubt for me is waiting time. Travelling by tube can be a major difficulty. Signal failures, overcrowded trains and platforms all add to delays, not to mention the joy of enduring the crowds of general public at peak time in the capital. And then there’s the weather… Rain isn’t good, wind and rain is vicious. Snow is even worse…
Having previously worked in design and advertising, everything at Vital Consular was completely new to Neil. His knack for adaptation allowed him to get to grips with the role quickly, and he’s built a strong working relationship with the team back at the office which helps him get the job done as efficiently as possible.
We’re a small but very happy and highly effective team. We have a great work ethic, a strong focus on communication and get things done with the minimum of fuss.
Neil’s found many things to enjoy being out and about in the city each day, even though it’s a world apart from his home town of Sheffield. He even manages to have a few laughs along the way!
How do you describe London? You simply have to visit to take it all in. I was born and raised in Sheffield, and will always have wonderful memories of growing up there with the Peak District only 10 minutes away. Being into playing music however, I was offered gigs and tours in London so it was inevitable I would end up here. That was 27 years ago and now I don’t think of it as hustle and bustle, I enjoy the life here. The streets are alive 24/7 and I’ve lived here long enough now to accept the bizarre as the norm. There’s a guy who rides a penny farthing in Clerkenwell near our office, he will always get a round of applause from me. There’s also a sharp-suited guy in Kensington in a top hat who blows fire out of his tuba. Pure entertainment!
Using our urgent legalisation service for your documents
If you have UK documents you need to use overseas, and are pushed for time, get in touch. We guarantee that whichever country you’re travelling to, the legalisation process can’t be done any quicker than we can offer. We have a premium service account at the FCO, which is only available to authorised companies and allows us to attend for a same-day service. Once completed, we can then deliver your documents back to you anywhere in the world via secure courier, which typically takes a couple of days.
For a quotation or to get advice on your documents, you can reach us by visiting our site and request a personalised quotation based on your requirements. You can also give our team of specialists a call on +44 (0) 330 088 1142, send us a text message via WhatsApp, use our live chat system, or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.