What is an Apostille Certificate?

An Apostille Stamp or an Apostille Certificate is an official affirmation that the document is genuine and that it can be recognised and used in another country.

When is an Apostille needed?

Usually, the lawyers in a foreign jurisdiction will specifically state that an Apostille is required. Sometimes they assume that one will be affixed and do not mention it specifically. Commercial documents will very often need Apostilles and Powers of Attorney. 

Which countries accept an Apostille?

The following countries recognise and issue Apostilles for the international legalisation of documents. These are collectively known as ‘member countries of the Hague Apostille Convention’: Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, China (Macau & Hong Kong), Colombia, Cook Islands, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Republic of, Latvia, Lesotho, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Republic of, Monaco, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niue, Norway, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia and Montenegro, Seychelles, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, FYR of Macedonia, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States of America, Venezuela.

Can the Apostille Certificate be applied to any document?

Nearly all documents can have an apostille. It is the norm for documents to be executed in the country of origin. A UK document gets a UK apostille (there are exceptions to this so please contact us for more advice). There are a few documents that simply cannot be issued with an apostille. For example, a home office letter relating to your right to work in the UK is solely for use within the UK and cannot be processed.

What services do you provide?

We can arrange a full range of legalisation and notary services. Whether you require a notary, an Apostille or need your documents legalised by a UK consulate, we can make the appropriate arrangements for you. Our service is straightforward and cost-effective. Our legalisation services are very flexible so don't worry if your requirements are a little out of the ordinary. Please get in touch with us to discuss your specific needs. 

I don't have all the information. Can you still supply a copy certificate?

The required information depends upon when the birth took place. For events within the past 60 years, we require that all sections are completed on the application form. For events before 1958, we only require the full name (or at least forename & surname), date or year of birth, and location. For more popular names, additional information may be required to ensure that the correct certificate is reproduced. With any order, we will check up to 5 years. Should a wider search be required, we will contact you to arrange the necessary details.

Do you have your own notaries and solicitors?

No. We have no notaries and solicitors working for us and are not authorised or regulated to provide the services of a notary or a law firm. We are a service provider who can arrange for the legalisation of documents on your behalf. We do, however, have close working relationships with notaries and law firms. These relationships enable us to offer a fast, efficient and seamless service to our clients.

Can you arrange for documents to be legalised without using your external Notary?

Yes. It may be that no notarial intervention is required, and a solicitor or other official can sign the document. 

Can I send my application to you electronically?

Unfortunately, no. We can only arrange for an apostille to the hard copy of a UK public document. The document must bear the original signature or seal of a UK public official. We cannot arrange for an apostille against a scanned, printed, or photocopied signature. This includes e-mails, photocopies, and facsimiles.

What happens once you receive my application?

Providing your application is in order, we will then check that we can arrange for the legalisation of your documents by comparing the signature, seal or stamp with an example held on our database. If we do not hold an example of the signature, seal or stamp, we will verify that it is genuine by contacting the relevant body or person. This may extend processing times. Once the signature, seal or stamp of the UK public official on your documents has been confirmed, we will arrange for the attachment of an apostille to your document. The apostille will be signed by a legalisation officer and embossed with the seal of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Your documents will then be dispatched back to you.

Can you send my completed document to someone else?

Yes. We can send your document to anyone in the world. Simply give us your instructions in writing when you send the documents to us. We will, of course, send you a copy of the completed document for your records.

To find out more about our legalisation services please call +44 203 872 760, email legalisation@vistra.com or make an enquiry.

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