Overview

You can get certain official UK documents ‘legalised’ by submitting them to the Legalisation Office.

You might need to do this if an official in another country has asked you to provide a UK document and they’ve said it must be legalised.

The Legalisation Office will check the document and see if any signatures, stamps or seals match their own records. If they do match, they’ll legalise the document by attaching an ‘apostille’ (stamped official certificate).

You cannot get documents issued outside the UK legalised using this service - get them legalised in the country they were issued.

Before you apply

Check your documents can be legalised

You can get documents legalised if they’ve been issued by a:

  • court and sealed with a wet ink court seal
  • public registry, such as a birth, marriage or death certificate, or a company certificate issued by Companies House
  • government department and signed by an official, such as a letter of confirmation of tax registration
  • registered doctor, such as a medical certificate signed by a doctor

You can also get other documents legalised, as long as they’ve been certified by a UK ‘public official’, such as a UK notary or solicitor. For example:

  • documents such as a power of attorney, a contract or a qualification certificate
  • copies of documents such as a passport or a driving licence

This is not an exhaustive list of all the documents you can get legalised.

Check requirements for the documents

Contact the person asking for legalised documents. Check if they need to be:

  • the original documents or certified copies
  • signed by any particular person, like a UK notary or solicitor

If you need a UK notary or solicitor to sign your documents, find one using these official lists:

Check requirements for the apostille

There are 2 types of apostille.

They can either be:

  • paper-based - you’ll need to send your documents by post (or submit them in person, if you’re a registered business)
  • electronic - known as an ‘e-Apostille’, you’ll need to upload your documents as PDF files that have been electronically signed by a UK notary or solicitor

You apply for both types online. You can choose which one to get, but you may need to get a paper-based apostille if either:

  • the person who has asked you for the document wants a paper-based apostille
  • the type of document they need is not eligible for an e-Apostille

You cannot get an e-Apostille for:

  • birth, death, marriage, civil partnership and adoption certificates, or any other document from the General Register Office
  • ACRO police certificates for England and Wales
  • Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) certificates for England and Wales
  • disclosure certificates for Scotland and Northern Ireland
  • fingerprint certificates
  • membership certificates for the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)

Contact the person asking for legalised documents. Check if they need:

  • a paper-based apostille, or whether it can be an e-Apostille (if this is available for your document)
  • a single apostille for a group of documents, or a separate apostille for each document

What it costs

Service option Fee per apostille
Standard (paper-based) £30, plus courier or postage costs
e-Apostille £30
Premium for registered businesses only (paper-based) £75

Courier costs for paper-based apostilles

There are extra costs to get your documents returned if you use the standard (paper-based) service.

Country Price
UK (including British Forces Post Office) £5 per 1.5kg
European countries (not including Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Liechtenstein, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey) £17.50 per 1.5kg
Rest of the world £22.50 per 1.5kg

You currently cannot have legalised documents returned to Russia, Ukraine or Belarus. You can either have the documents returned somewhere else and send them to these countries yourself, or use the e-Apostille service instead.

If you do not want to pay courier fees

If you want the documents returned to somewhere in the UK, you can pay for postage instead of a courier. When you send in your documents, you’ll need to include:

  • an A4 envelope with the UK address you want the documents sent to
  • enough UK stamps to cover the postage cost

How long it takes

Service option How long it takes
Standard (paper-based) Up to 20 working days, plus courier or postage time
e-Apostille Up to 20 working days
Premium for registered businesses only (paper-based) Same day - documents can be submitted in person in central London between 9am and 12:30pm, and collected from 1:30pm to 4:30pm

All these services may take longer, for example if there’s a signature that needs to be verified. The Legalisation Office will let you know if this happens.