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.

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.

How is the service limited?

Private individuals and companies are not allowed to access the Apostille service at the moment. As a registered business client to the FCO, you can send your documents to Vital Consular for Apostille legalisation and we can submit on your behalf.

The FCO is allowing registered businesses to drop batches of documents on a Monday to Thursday, with Fridays being used to allow for any catch-up needed. It is expected that existing client orders will be processed within the first few days after the service resumes, and Vital Consular is processing new document receipts on a first-come, first-served basis beyond that.

The business counter drop-off service has only been reinstated at the FCO Milton Keynes office – the London business counter remains closed until further notice.

Certifying Documents for UK Apostille

For documents that need to be certified before Apostille submission, our solicitors can arrange for a certified copy, or statutory declaration, to be created for legalisation. Most documents will require certification in one form or another. Common examples include:

  • Personal Documents
    • Educational qualifications
    • Medical certificates and prescriptions
    • Certain police clearance certificates
  • Company/Commercial documents
    • Certificate of Incorporation / Memorandum & Articles
    • Export Documents
    • Commercial Invoices

Who can certify documents?

Solicitors and Notary Publics are able to provide certification of documents that require this. In order for the FCO to accept the document certification, the individual that has signed the document must be registered with the FCO on their signatories database. Our solicitors and notaries are all pre-registered to prevent any delays.

Documents Requiring Additional Embassy Legalisation

For any country that is not part of the Hague Convention Apostille agreement, legalisation of the document by the relevant Embassy or Consulate will usually be required. Due to movement restrictions and staff shortages, a number of the London consular offices remain closed. The most popular of these are:

  • Qatar Embassy
  • Saudi Arabian Embassy and Cultural Bureau
  • Chinese Visa Centre

Where additional legalisation is required, your documents will be held for processing until such time as the service resumes.

For more advice on your specific circumstances, please get in touch and our advisers will be able to provide you with the most up-to-date information.

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Melanie Clarke
Melanie is a Digital Marketer and TEFL Specialist at Vital Consular. Before taking up a Marketing role, she spent 3 years building up a rich knowledge of global legalisation processes on the operations team. When she's not working, Melanie enjoys attending music events and pursuing many creative interests including screen printing and merchandise design.
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