What in goodness name is Apostille? You are perplexed and wondering when all these bureaucratic drills will end. You’ve been requested to get your documents apostilled, but you haven’t even heard the word before talk more of knowing what it means.
Don’t fret buddy, getting documents apostilled is not as scary as it sounds once you get a handle on how to go about it. By the way, Apostille is a French word for certificate.
What Does Apostille Certificate Mean?
An Apostille is a certificate issued by the relevant department in a country who is a signatory to the 1961 Hague Convention which aims to streamline the process of documentation between member countries. It simply means the official confirmation of documents to be valid, genuine and belongs to the possessor. This makes it easy for such documents to be used outside the country of issuance.
When Do I Need An Apostille Certificate?
If you ever have any dealings outside the UK that require you sending official documents then be ready to get an Apostille certificate for those documents.
Where Do I Obtain An Apostille Certificate
In the UK, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) legalisation department is the office saddled with the responsibility of issuing an Apostille certificate to documents originating from the UK.
What Documents Can I Get Apostille Certificate For?
There are several documents an Apostille certificate can be applied for, some of them include;
- Birth certificates
- A Notarised University Degree Certificate
- A notarised Power of Attorney
- Death Certificate
This is not an exhaustive list. However, it is advised that you consult an agency who will be in the best position to advise you on what to do.
How Does the Apostille Certificate Look?
The certificate is a small paper attached to the back of your documents. The paper has the embossed seal of the FCO and contains certain information which ascertains the authenticity of the said document.
Steps To Getting Your Documents Apostilled
In getting your documents certified, there are two routes you can take either;
- By doing it yourself
- By contracting an agency to help you get your documents Apostilled.
Choosing to go with any of these options should be informed by your personal situation and budget. In any case, here are the steps to take.
- Get the relevant documents notarised by a UK recognised Public Notary.
- Send Documents to FCO for certification.
- The FCO will verify the seal of the public notary to check if they are recognised and approved to practice.
- If authenticated, an Apostille certificate will be attached at the back of your document.
It typically takes between 2-3 working days to get a document apostilled. However, there’s the same day delivery in which you get your documents apostilled within hours (2-3 hour).
As you can see, getting documents apostilled is not as scary as it sounded earlier. If you are unable to visit the FCO due to time constraints, hiring an Apostille Service provider is your best option. With their wealth of experience and contacts the process can be a breeze for you.
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