Who can Issue the Apostille?

When applying to legalise a document with the apostille for the first time it can be confusing as to who can actually do this. It is a common misconception that the apostille can be issued by a solicitor, a notary or a registrar. Whilst such individuals may claim to be able to do so this can be misleading.

The UK apostille is issued by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Any individual or organisation obtaining the apostille for a given document will ultimately be submitting this to the FCO.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

As per the terms of the Hague Apostille Convention, the apostille in each country is issued by the competent authority in the respective country. In most cases, this will be the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in that country.

The competent authority in the UK is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. They hold a secure database of legal signatories and seals that is used to authenticate documents. Once the seal or signature on a document is verified the apostille will be issued to confirm this.

A full list of competent authorities for each country can be found here.

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office closed their counters to the general public in 2011. This means that documents can only be submitted by post in most cases. However, certain companies registered with the FCO have the privilege of presenting documents in person.

Independent Companies

As one of the leading apostille service providers in the UK, we are registered with the FCO. This permits us to present documents to the FCO in person each day, facilitating a fast turnaround time of 1-2 working days in the vast majority of cases. There are a handful of similar, independent service providers in the UK like ourselves, some of which will also be registered with the FCO.

If a service provider quotes longer than 1-2 working days to legalise your documents with the apostille it is likely they are simply posting your document to and from the FCO. This would not necessarily represent value for money as anybody can do so for a lower fee if dealing with the FCO directly.

If you need a quick and reliable apostille service then you will find ours to be ideal. You simply need to send your document to us with a completed order form. We then handle the full process from start to finish and return the documents to you in a matter of days all being well. Please contact us today to order your apostille.

About the Author

The Apostille Service are pleased to provide advice on a wide range of document legalisation matters. Our team of advisors contribute to the blog.