UPDATEThe Legalisation Office Moves to Milton Keynes as of Friday 8th Augsut 2008
Legalisation is the official confirmation that the signature/stamp/seal on a UK document. Some foreign authorities require UK documents to be legalised before they will be accepted. Customers can send their documents by post to be legalised, or take them to the public counter in the Legalisation Office.
The Legalisation Office will move from the Old Admiralty Building (OAB) in London to Norfolk House (West) in central Milton Keynes on Friday 8 August 2008. In the 7 years the LO has been at OAB it has processed over 2 million (2,130,000) applications. When opened in 2001 it dealt with 192,000 applications. This had grown to 376,000 by 2007. We expect the figure for 2008 to be almost 400,000.
The Standard Service Legalisation Fee of £27 will remain the same for all applications processed at Norfolk House (West). Customers will be able to use the postal or public counter service in the same way as they do at present, but with the following improvements:
* secure online payment of the legalisation fee for postal customers. This means they can avoid sending their debit/credit card details in the post
* all postal applications returned by Special Delivery to customers in the UK, or International Recorded Delivery if they are overseas. (An extra £6 will be charged for this.) Important documents are less likely to go missing in the post, but should this happen, they can be tracked and traced
* the extra space at the new office will provide us with the flexibility we need to respond to demand and deal with enquiries more quickly.
The new Premium Service Legalisation Office opened on 1 April 2008 and provides an express service in central London for business customers with time sensitive documents to be legalised (usually with the hour). To use this service, business customers must register and pay online in advance. The Premium Service Legalisation Fee is £67. For more information, or to register, business customers should email Premium.Service@fco.gov.uk This service cannot be used by members of the public.
Details of the new Legalisation Office in central Milton Keynes are as follows:
The Legalisation Office
Norfolk House (West)
437 Silbury Boulevard
Tel: 01908 295 111
Fax: 01909 295 122
Milton Keynes is 55 miles north of London and has frequent train services to London Euston and the West Coast line to the Midlands and the North. The journey time from London is about 40/50 minutes. Norfolk House is a 15 minute walk or short taxi ride from the station. The M1 also runs past Milton Keynes and Pay and Display parking is available nearby. http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/newsroom/latest-news/?view=News&id=5086922
The Public Counter for legalisation of Documents
Opening times and rules
* our public counter is normally open from 9.30am to 3.30pm Monday to Friday. No appointment is necessary.
* you do not need to bring ID and anyone can present the documents on your behalf
* the Legalisation Office is not a suitable environment for babies or young children. Please try to avoid bringing babies or young children to the Legalisation Office.
• business customers using the Standard Legalisation Service at Norfolk House (West) will be required to deposit their documents and collect them at the same time the following working day. This will apply regardless of the number of documents being presented for legalisation. It is not necessary to queue using the ticket system: after reporting to the reception desk, business customers will be directed straight to the business counter to deposit or collect documents. The legalisation fee will be taken, and a receipt issued, when the documents are deposited. This receipt MUST be presented to collect the documents.
• business customers may wish to be aware that a Premium Legalisation Service is available exclusively for business customers. This service is only available at our central London office. The fee is £67 per legalisation. Documents are normally processed within 1 hour of receipt. For more information on how to use this service, and for directions to the London office, please email Premium.Service@fco.gov.uk. Please note that members of the public cannot use this service.
Members of the Public
• members of the public will still be able to get their documents legalised whilst they wait when using the Standard Legalisation Service at Norfolk House (West).
How much does it cost?
The fee for legalisation of each document is £27. At the public counter payment is accepted in cash or by credit/debit card.
Customers with disabilities
Anyone can present the documents on your behalf so there is no requirement for you to come to the Legalisation Office. However, if you do choose to come the office can be accessed by wheelchair users.Documents we can legalise
We can legalise most UK documents as long as they bear an original signature, seal or stamp from a UK public organisation or official.
A UK document means that it originated or has been executed in the UK. If a UK solicitor or notary public is signing a document they should state clearly what exactly it is they are certifying in relation to the document. They must sign in their own name and not use a company signature. They should clearly print their name and their firm's name under the signature.
We can legalise photocopies of certain types of documents (listed below) as long as they have been certified by a UK solicitor or notary as being true photocopies. If you want to legalise a certified photocopy of a particular document, and we are able to do this (see below), you should also confirm with the end users of the document to ensure that a certified photocopy is acceptable to them.
UK Educational Documents
All educational documents must be signed by a UK solicitor or notary before they can be legalised. The solicitor or notary should either confirm that the document is original if that is the case, or a true photocopy. If you are living overseas it may be possible for the British Council in your country to certify the document instead. You should check with the local British Council office to see if they offer this service.
Educational documents which are not degrees, diplomas, certificates, qualifications or other awards may be legalised if they have been issued by an educational establishment in the UK. This includes school reports and letters concerning enrolling, attendance, fees and grades.
Documents which are degrees, diplomas, certificates, qualifications or other awards can be legalised if they were issued by an educational establishment if it is registered at one of the following websites:
* 'Register of Providers' or the 'Recognised Degrees' sections of the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) website
* the Scottish Qualifications Authority website
* the National Database of Accredited Qualifications website
* the British Accreditation Council Website
* the Open and Distance Learning Quality Council
* the Association of British Language Schools
Additionally, qualifications which are or were issued by OCR, Edexcel, Higher National Diploma, City and Guilds, National Open College Network, GNVQ or the American Study Abroad Programme in the UK can also be legalised.
UK Birth, Death, Marriage and Civil Partnership Certificates
We can legalise original or certified copies of certificates issued by the General Registry Office (GRO) or local Registry Offices in the UK, or British Diplomatic Missions overseas.
We can also legalise original death certificates issued by a UK coroner. Translations of these can also be legalised if they have been signed by a UK solicitor or notary. Please note that we are NOT able to legalise photocopies of these documents, even if they have been signed by a UK solicitor or notary or attached to a notarial cover sheet. This is because we have been advised that the General Register Office (GRO) or local Registry Offices are the only designated authorities in the UK who can issue certified copies of these documents.
Contact the GRO or your local Registry Office for more information on obtaining certified copies of these types of certificates which we will be able to legalise.
UK Certificates of No Impediment (CNIs) or 'No Trace' Letters issued by the GRO
Original CNIs and GRO issued letters confirming that there is no trace of an individual currently being married can be legalised. Please note that we are not able to legalise photocopies of these documents, even if they have been signed by a UK solicitor or notary public or attached to a notarial cover sheet. This is because we have been advised that the General Register Office (GRO) or local Registry Offices are the only designated authorities in the UK who can issue certified copies of these documents. Contact the GRO or your local Registry Office for more information on obtaining certified copies of these types of certificates which we will be able to legalise.
If you are getting married abroad, please also see Marriage Abroad.
We cannot legalise original passports of any nationality. Photocopies of the bio data page of British passports may be legalised if they have been certified by a UK solicitor or notary public as being true photocopies of the original documents. We do not legalise certified copies of foreign passports or ID documents.
Change of Name Deed Poll
All change of name deed poll documents (originals as well as copies) must be certified by a UK solicitor or notary public as being original, or true photocopies, before they can be legalised.
We can legalise the following religious documents as long as they have been certified by a UK solicitor or notary public and originated in the UK. The solicitor or notary public should certify original documents as being genuine, and photocopies as being true copies of the original documents:
* Islamic Marriage and Divorce Certificates issued by UK mosques
* Jewish Divorce Certificates issued by a Jewish Court
* Baptismal Certificates of any denomination.
Documents relating to the Hajj or Umrah which originated in the UK must be certified by an official of the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce, or an Arabic speaking UK solicitor or notary public before they can be legalised.
UK Court documents
Original documents issued by UK courts can be legalised. Photocopies of these documents can also be legalised if they have been certified by a UK solicitor or notary public as being true copies of the original documents.
Powers of Attorney, Wills, Affidavits, Declarations and Notarial Acts
Originals of these documents can be legalised if they have been signed in the UK by the individual(s) concerned and the signature(s) witnessed by a UK solicitor or notary public.
The solicitor or notary public should certify this clearly on the document.
Certificates of Incorporation and Other Documents Issued by Companies House
We can legalise originals of these documents only if they have been signed by an official of Companies House. If the originals do not bear an original signature of a Companies House official then they must be certified by a UK solicitor or notary public as being original documents. Photocopies of Companies House documents can be legalised if they have been certified by a UK solicitor or notary public as being true copies of the original document.
We can legalise export certificates only if they have been signed by an official of the relevant UK Government Department. Photocopies of export documents may be legalised if a UK solicitor or notary public has certified them to confirm that they are true copies of the original documents.
Documents from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
Original documents from HMRC can be legalised if they are signed by an HMRC official.
National Identification Certificates and Disclosure Documents
Only original documents issued by the National Identification Service (NIS) and signed by an NIS official can be legalised. Original disclosure documents must be signed by a member of the Criminal Records Bureau or a UK solicitor or notary public before they can be legalised. We cannot legalise photocopies of NIS or disclosure documents.
Medical reports and letters issued by UK hospitals and NHS Trusts may be legalised as long as they have been signed by a UK doctor who is registered with the General Medical Council. Letters concerning non-medical issues, eg. job references or letters of employment, can be legalised if they are signed by a UK solicitor or notary public confirming them to be true and genuine. We cannot legalise other medical documents, including Form Med 3 issued by doctors for statutory sick pay and social security purposes.
Pet Travel Scheme
We can legalise documents to export pets overseas. These must be original documents and be signed by a qualified Veterinary Surgeon. Please note that we do not legalise any other documents for pets.
Documents from UK Crown Dependencies
We cannot legalise documents originating or executed in the British Crown Dependencies (Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey). Such documents should be legalised in the relevant Dependency and do not require further legalisation by the Legalisation Office in order to be accepted by foreign authorities.
Documents from British Overseas Territories
Documents originating or executed in a British Overseas Territory can only be legalised if they have already been legalised by an official of the Government in the Territory concerned. The British Overseas Territories are:
Anguilla, Bermuda, British Antartic Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, St Helena and Dependencies, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands.
Foreign Language Translations of UK Documents
We can legalise translations of UK documents issued or executed in the UK. These documents need to be certified by a UK solicitor or notary public confirming that they are true translations. Please note that we are not able to legalise documents on the signatures of the translators unless they are also a practising UK solicitor or notary public, or a consular official. Please note that we will not legalise certified copies of foreign language documents.
If you have a foreign document which requires legalisation you should contact the relevant Embassy, Consulate or High Commission in the UK for advice.
If you have been advised that your document needs to be appended to a notarial cover sheet containing a certification from a practising UK solicitor or notary public, the cover sheet must refer specifically to the document, and the document should be properly bound to the cover sheet.