Legalisation is the process of authenticating a signature, seal or stamp appearing on a document. The signatures or seal(s) of British Public officials (such as notaries and registrars) or an overseas Apostille (authentication by a federal official) appearing on a document will need to be authenticated and legalised before the documents can be accepted in an official capacity in a jurisdiction that is not party to the Hague Convention.
A benefit of using GLS in London for legalisations is that the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office has a global licence allowing it to authenticate Apostille certificates from most countries in the world. GLS is conveniently located close to over 30 fully staffed embassies in London allowing for reliable and efficient legalisations.
Here are some definitions and stages in order for you to clarify the process:
- Notarisation/Confirmation – This is the attestation by a Notary Public that the signature appearing on a document is true and genuine. In the legalisation process, this is usually completed in the country where the document originates. Alternatively where we are provided original documents, we can arrange for copies of these to be Notarised or Signature Verified by a Notary Public or registered Lawyer in the UK.
- Apostille – A Government Official in the country of origin has to declare the signature of the Notary Public as true and genuine.
- Authentication – The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office has to declare the Apostille is true and genuine prior to Legalisation. In some situations, this process can be by-passed. (e.g. When the documents originate for Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man)
- Legalisation – The embassy of the country where the document is to be presented can now declare and accept the signature, seal or stamp appearing on the document as genuine.