What is Legalisation?


What is an FCO Apostille?


“The Notary authenticates the document.  The FCO Apostille authenticates the Notary!”

Once a document or documents have been signed and sealed by a Notary they will also require a certificate from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.  This certificate is known as an Apostille and it confirms that the signature and seal of the Notary is genuine.

Your document will not be legally recognised abroad without an Apostille, so it is an important part of the notarisation process.

This process is often known as legalisation.

The FCO itself will charge an Apostille fee and a Notary will often charge a handling fee for getting an Apostille for you.  Or you can use a legalisation agent to carry out this service on your behalf.

What does an FCO Apostille cost?


The FCO charges depend on whether you use their standard or premium service.

Standard service

The standard FCO Apostille service is via the legalisation offices in Milton Keynes.

  • £30 for each document as well as postage or courier fees.
  • 2 to 10 days to be returned.

Premium service (registered businesses only)

The premium FCO Apostille service is via the legalisation offices in Central London.

  • This is a same day service for registered businesses only.
  • £75 per document for this service.
  • Documents must be taken to and collected from the Premium office in Central London.


What is Consular Legalisation?


  • A notary has certified your document
  • You have got an FCO Apostille
  • Do you need Consular legalisation as well?

Once your document has been signed by a Notary and got an FCO Apostille, it may also need further Consular legalisation from the embassy of the country where it is to be used.

This will depend on the country itself and is not decided by the Notary or British government.

For many countries an FCO Apostille is sufficient.

For countries outside the Commonwealth, they may require a further certificate of authentication from their own embassy.

The fees they charge can vary greatly.  Search our comprehensive guide to countries requirements here.

Case study

Jane has recently got a job to work as a Primary School teacher in an international school in Dubai.  The school has asked her for a certified copy of her teaching degree certificate.

Jane uses the findmy Notary location search to find George.  He has provided her with a fixed fee quote and appointment time.

Using our Notary appointment checklist Jane attends George’s office and he notarises the document.  George then arranges an FCO Apostille for Jane’s document using the standard service and she receives it in the post 5 days later.

Using our country requirements search Jane realises that she also needs Consular legalisation from the Dubai Embassy.

Using the findmy Notary legalisation search, Jane finds a legalisation agent to collect her document via courier, obtain the required legalisation certificates from the Dubai embassy and return the document to her.  Time is pressing and Jane opts to do this in their same day service.

Jane is now ready to enjoy her new job in Dubai.