Documents, certificates, letters and notes available at the British Embassy and Consulates in China.
Change in visitor access due to Covid-19
Our consular offices in China operate in commercial buildings. Many restrict access to those holding a Green Health Code (sui shen ma) and comply with temperature checks.
Consular Office Access
For everyone’s safety, Embassy/Consulate-General security personnel may conduct further temperature checks. Visitors must wear a face covering throughout their appointment.
Where fees are applicable, payment should be made via credit/debit card during an appointment.
You will be required to send some of your documentation electronically and in advance of your visit. Originals must be brought to your appointment.
Appointments are subject to cancellation for visitors who do not follow the above procedures.
Public access to the Embassy and Consulates-General continue to be by appointment only.
The British Embassy in Beijing and the British Consulates General in Guangzhou and Shanghai provide a limited range of notarial and documentary services for British nationals in China.
Access to Embassy or Consulates General are by appointment only. Use the booking links in each service to make an appointment. Before booking or applying for a document, you must make sure you have selected the correct service and that the document will be accepted by the relevant receiving authority.
You should use a local notary or lawyer, if there is no specific requirement for a notarial service or certificate to be provided by British Embassy or Consulates General.
Services we provide in China
Consular staff can provide the following services only:
- Making a certified copy of a British passport
- Issuing letter for adoption in China
- Administering affirmation or affidavit for the purpose of marriage under Chinese law
- Performing a consular marriage or a civil partnership for same sex couples
You need to attend in person for the notarial service. The Consular Section reserves the right to cancel any appointment if it is a service we cannot offer.
How to apply for a notarial service or certificate
Making a certified copy of a British passport
This service is for British nationals who need a certified photocopy of the ID page of their valid British passport. The letter we provide can only be in English. Please note we do not verify your identity, nationality, or the authenticity of documents.
To make an appointment at one of our consular offices, please click the location where you’d like the service performed: Embassy in Beijing, Consulate in Guangzhou or Consulate in Shanghai. Please note the links are only to be used for booking a service to make certified copy of a British passport.
What you need to bring:
- your original valid British passport
- proof of residency or immigration status in China
- a letter or written statement from the requesting authority, or a link to the relevant page on their official website, explaining in full why they need this document, the purpose for which it will be used and confirmation that the document can only be issued by the British Embassy/Consulate. The requesting authority does not include your agent or employer
- proof of physical residential address, such as a utility bill or a tenancy contract (if these are in your company’s name, please bring a letter from your company to say where you reside)
- the Consular Fee
Issuing letter for adoption in China
For adoption in China, the British Embassy and Consulates General are able to issue you a Letter of No Objection and a Letter of Introduction. We can also witness your signature on our template, which is for adoption purposes only.
What you need to bring:
- your and your partner’s current and old passports that contain your current and previous Chinese residence permits
- your sworn statement witnessed by your lawyer that states: “I confirm that I have received independent legal advice and with reference to all circumstances of my particular case and in light of existing UK law, I can confirm that I am not habitually resident in the British Islands”.
Please refer to the Adoption in China guide for detailed information on this.
To make an appointment at one of our consular offices, please click the location where you’d like the service performed: Embassy in Beijing, Consulate in Guangzhou or Consulate in Shanghai. Please note the links are only to be used for booking a service to obtain letters for adoption in China.
Opposite-Sex Marriage in China: Administer an affirmation or affidavit of marital status
We can witness affirmations and affidavits for the purpose of getting married under Chinese Law. Please read Getting Married Abroad for information on how to apply for these documents.
Same-Sex Marriage: Consular Marriage or Civil Partnership
This service is for same-sex couples who wish to get married or enter into a civil partnership. Please read Same-sex marriage in China for information on how to apply for the service.
For the cost of all our services, please visit our fees page.
You can pay using any of the following credit cards: Visa, MasterCard and Maestro. Please note for Credit cards issued outside of the UK you may incur a fee from your card provider for a transaction made in GBP. If you do not have access to one of the cards mentioned please let us know when you make the online appointment.
Services we do not provide in China
British Embassy and Consulates in China are unable to authenticate, notarise, verify or legalise any document, issue letters confirming multiple passports belong to you, witness life certificates to claim State Pension abroad, or issue certificates of good conduct/criminal records.
If you cannot find information you need, you can use our Online Contact Form to submit your enquiry.
Legalisation of UK documents
Order a copy of UK Birth/Death/Marriage Certificates
You need to register on the General Register Office (GRO) website to get a copy of a birth, adoption, death, marriage or civil partnership certificate in England and Wales. Please read How to order a copy of Birth/Death/Marriage certificate.
Legalisation of foreign documents
Please note, British Embassies and Consulates in China are unable to legalise foreign documents because the UK does not require foreign documents to be legalised for use in the UK. If the document is to be used in another country (including China), you should contact the legalisation authorities of the country where the document will be used for advice.
Passport Numbers change upon renewal or name change
British Embassies and Consulates are not the passport issuing authority and we are unable to issue letters confirming the change of passport numbers upon renewal or name change. You can download a free copy of an Information Note below which may serve in place of such a letter.
- Information note issued by the British Embassy in Beijing
- Information note issued by the British Consulate-General in Shanghai
- Information note issued by the British Consulate-General in Guangzhou
If you need a letter providing details of multiple passports belonging to you, you can request information under the Freedom of Information Act by submitting a Subject Access Request to HM Passport Office, asking for confirmation that you were the holder of your previous passport(s). Please visit HM Passport Office for further information and contact details. The British Embassy and Consulates in China cannot answer any queries on this subject or the application process.
Life certificates to claim State Pension abroad
If you are claiming a British pension abroad, including those required by the Department of Work and Pensions. Please refer to the list of people working in a recognised profession who can witness your life certificate.
Certificates of good conduct/criminal record checks
The British Embassy and Consulates General in China have no authority to conduct criminal record checks. Please refer to our Living in China guide for information on how to obtain a criminal record check in the UK and in China.
The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office holds and uses data for purposes notified to the Information Commissioner under the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018 (which may be viewed at www.ico.org.uk). Such personal data may be disclosed to other UK government departments and public authorities.
This information is provided as a general guide and is based upon information provided to the embassy/consulate by the relevant local authorities and may be subject to change at any time with little or no notice. Accordingly the FCDO and the British embassy/consulate general will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information. For all notarial services, it is the responsibility of the customer to ascertain the precise requirements of the person requesting the notarial service and to satisfy themselves that the service provided by the embassy/consulate will be accepted.