Legalisation By Foriegn & Commonwealth Office

The legalisation process is often very confusing. Whilst some countries’ authorities require documents to be simply authenticated, others will request for them to be both legalised and attested. The fact that the legalisation jargon varies from country to country complicates the process even more.

As a general rule original documents, such as Degree Certificates, will have to be notarised by a regulated professional (i.e. Notary Public or Solicitor) before they can be legalised by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).


To verify the authenticity of the signature the FCO relies on a database of regulated professionals such as solicitors, notaries, religious ministers, doctors etc..The database contains the scanned signatures/seals of these practitioners. It is therefore highly recommeded that before you proceed, you ensure that your chosen professional is on the FCO official list.

Once the FCO have verified the stamp/signature against their database and are satisfied that the signature is authentic, they will proceed and endorse the document with an apostille (legalisation certificate ).

As opposed to Degree Certificate, the FCO will only legalise original Birth, Marriage/Civil Partnership, Death certificates. This also applies to certificates of no impediment. Notorised/certified copies will not be accepted. In this instance a new original certificate can be raised for future use – click here for more information.

Embassy/Consulate Legalization, Attestation, Authenitcation


Document legalisation/attestation requirements can vary from Embassy to Embassy. Some Embassies will insist on only original documents, while others will accept certified copies.

For instance, most visa nationals in the UK wishing to travel to France have to obtain a French Schengen visa from a UK based French Embassy/Consulate. In support of their applications, married applicants are required to submit their original/translated marriage certificate. Where Indian passport holders are concerned, the certificate will only be accepted by the French consulate if the documentt has been authenticated/legalised by the Indian Embassy in London first. Minor applicants will be required to produce their authenticated/legalised birth certificates. This requirement also applies to certificates issued in China and in an increasing number of other countries. As a general rule, any certificate issued overseas will have to be legalised by their respective Embassy/Consulate in the UK .

Some embassies will accept documents notarised by a solicitor, while others will insist on it being performed by an actual Notary Public. It is important that you verify the levels of legalisation/authentication that is being asked of the document’s country of destination.

To recap, depending on the document and the country of destination, the Legalisation process involves between 1 to 3 stages:

  • certification/notarization – by a solicitor or notary public
  • legalisation/apostille – by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO)
  • legalisation /apostille/authentication – by the Embassy/Consulate of the issuing country in the UK.

WQ can provision the full Legalisation process except in the following circumstances

  • when the document must be sworn in front of a solicitor/notary (such as an affidavit)
  • when the Embassy of the issuing country does not allow application for legalisation to be filed by proxy.

Countries that we currently provide legalisation services for certain documents:

Brazil . Argentina . China . France . Ghana . India . Nigerian. Russia . Saudi Arabia . Taiwan . United Arab Emirates ( UAE ).

If your country is not listed above please contact us for further information.


  • Confirm the legalisation requirements of the destination country
    before proceeding – some countries do not require initial notarisation of certain documents, some do not require FCO Legalisation.
  • Ensure that the signatory’s signature is ledgible if not accompanied with a formal stamp.
  • In the absence of a stamp, ask your the signatory to print their name next to the signature to aid the FCO in their search – If the FCO does not hold the signatory on file, they will have to contact them and their governing body before being able to legalize the document, depending on the availability of the parties concerned, this can take several days, if not weeks.

Check with the UKBA before submitting a new passport to be endorsed with a UK residence permit as some newly issued passports which have not been traveled on will require authentication at their respective Embassy first.

Document Legalisation/Apostille Fees – FCO


WQ’s Handling Fees to FCO

  • 1 – 3 documents legalised: £75 + VAT + Disbursements
  • £25 + VAT per document exceeding 3 documents + Disbursements.

FCO document legalisation processing fee currently £75 per document.

The average turnaround time for WQ Associates is 1-2 days when FCO has a record of the signatory

WQ’s Handling Fees to arrange true copy of original document by Solicitor/Notary

  • 1 – 3 documents notarised: £65 + VAT + Disbursements
  • £25 + VAT per document exceeding 3 documents + Disbursements.

Estimated Solicitor fees £10 per document; Notary Public fees from £75 + VAT



WQ’s Handling Fees to *Embassies:

  • 1 – 3 documents legalised/attested: from £75 + VAT + Disbursements
  • £25 + VAT per document exceeding 3 documents + Disbursements.

Embassy document legalisation/attestation processing fees depends on the type of documents that need to be legalized and vary from embassy to embassy, contact us for more information.

The legalisation of UK issued degree certificates for SAUDI ARABIA takes around 4-5 weeks. Our fees for this service is £150 + VAT for one degree certificate, £25 + VAT for each additional certificate. Please contact us for details as the process for the legalization / attestation of educational certificates is quite complex.

> Contact / Instruct WQ Associates To Legalise Documents