Get Documents Legalised – Why it’s never too late to ask for help

Moving overseas for a new job, or dealing with bureaucracy in a foreign country is usually a time-consuming and difficult task. You'll be bombarded by a number of new terms, such as "legalisation", "notarisation", "attestation" and "authentication", and it can be quite confusing to navigate your way through the maze to simply get documents legalised. What do you do if you've started the process yourself but come up against issues, delays and further complications?

Is it really that difficult to get legalisation right?

It’s not surprising that many of the people who come to us for legalisation services do so after coming up against obstacles in the process. This can be made more of an issue if they are outside of the country their documents were issued in, or on a tight deadline to have the documents completed.

In general terms, legalisation can seem a straightforward process, but with so many variations such as the issuing and destination country, qualification level, document length and even issuing body, it’s all too easy to make a mistake.

Even if the destination country is the same, the issuing country has an impact on the process. For example, 3 applicants from the US, New Zealand and the UK, all going to the UAE with their documents, will each need to complete different verification stages even though their destination is the same.

Some of the most common queries we deal with include:

  • Certified copy or notarised copy? – These are often confused and are very different processes. We have had customers request the much more expensive notarised copy from a Notary Public, only to find out that a cheaper certified copy was sufficient. A notarised copy can even in some cases make the document unusable and must be re-processed.
  • Education documents for Qatar – Certain levels of qualification require supporting documents, including a letter from the education centre where the award was studied. This letter must meet very strict guidelines in order to be accepted at the Qatar Embassy. Colleges and Universities must be instructed to produce the letter to a checklist.
  • Placing a legalisation order without advising that the document is not UK-issued. These must always be quoted and checked on a case-by-case basis and this can cause delays in processing.
  • Sending photocopies of documents instead of the original. In the case of personal documents, such as birth, marriage and death certificates, legalisation must always be performed on the original.
  • Having a certified copy made at a non-FCO registered solicitor. This can cause delays if the solicitor’s signature is not on the FCO database, as they will be required to send sample signatures to be verified.
  • Chinese Application forms – the Chinese Embassy will not accept any application which is not supported by a correctly completed official application form. This is a very common point of confusion to our customers as personal and company documents have different requirements. We provide help sheets to guide you in completing the forms.
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Here are just a few of the real-life case studies based around customers we have assisted in the past, who have come to us for help after facing problems with their documents. You can check out each case by destination country to find out more about their situation, what problems they faced and how Vital Consular were able to help rectify the issues.

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Qatar Education Letter

In this first part in our Legalisation Fixers series, we are looking at the most common issue we receive queries about. As Qatar require supporting documentation to legalise education certificates, this can cause confusion and delays. This is due to the very specific guidelines which these documents must meet in order to be stamped at the Qatari Embassy. Here is a recent case study of one such order we processed, where the customer had attempted to process the documentation themselves only to have the letter rejected. You can read about this case study here.

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Education Documents For The UAE

In this second instalment, we are looking at a lesser known pitfall  our customers have experienced. As this case entails one of the most common confusions in the legalisation process, namely the differences between certification and notarisation, we felt this would be an excellent example to share with you. We have also included information on the the two processes to give better understanding to how this mistake can often occur.

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Documents Legalisation for China

In this final part in our Legalisation Fixers series, we are focusing on the complex process of Chinese document legalisation. As a destination with one of the most exacting list of requirements, it’s not surprising that we offer a lot of support to customers travelling to China. Each case is different and depends on various things as to how the documents are handled. Here we look at a recent case which is very similar to a lot of people’s experience during this process.

Is it too late to ask for help if I’ve started the process?

It’s never too late to ask for help to get documents legalised. As legalisation specialists, we will look at your individual circumstances and work out the quickest and most cost-effective way to have your documents processed. If there are any stages you have already completed which can be re-used, we will do so. It’s not always necessary to start from scratch.

We also give a 100% guarantee that your documents will be accepted if we handle them on your behalf, even checking them in person at the Embassy if necessary before submission. Don’t spend more time and money attempting to re-submit documents only to have them rejected again, Consulates and Embassies aren’t always the most descriptive when stating reasons for rejection!

How can I get advice on my documents?

Wherever your documents were issued, and wherever you’re planning to move to, you can get documents legalised with us. Simply visit our site and request a personalised quotation based on your requirements. You can also give us a call directly on +44 (0) 330 088 1142, send us a text message via WhatsApp, use our live chat system, or e-mail us at Our friendly team of specialists are on hand to answer all of your queries.

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Ashraf Vachhiat
Ashraf Vachhiat

Ashraf is the Marketing Technologist at Vital Consular, which means he handles all the technicalities involved in bringing this blog to life! He also enjoys creating in-depth articles around current affairs which impact the travel and relocation industry. In his free time, Ashraf relishes travelling as much as possible, and is always looking for quirky spots to take some great photos.

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