Apostille

Apostille Cambridge, Cambourne, Ely, Royston HuntingdonApostille is from the French word for certification/annotation. See below for a fuller explanation. Some countries require additional certification for notarised documents. So, after I’ve notarised your document, you may have to legalise it. Legalisation means the Notary Public’s (my) signature and seal is authenticated by the:

  • UK Foreign Office, by apostille; and/or
  • Foreign Embassy/Consulate of the country where you’ll use the document,

This step is not always necessary, so first check with whoever wants your document.

Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) Apostille and/or Consular Legalisation

Apostille example showing country, who signed it, their stamp and locationThe Foreign & Commonwealth Office and/or the relevant High Commission, Embassy or Consulate may certify your documents.  Countries which seldom require legalisation of documents include:

  • Countries which are, or have been part of the British Commonwealth;
  • Most parts of the United States;

Countries that signed the 1961 Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents accept documents for legal use that:

  • Have been notarised by a Notary Public, and certain other documents, which are then certified by a conformant apostille.

Obtaining an Apostille

Apostille-legalisation-CambridgeI can obtain an apostille or the consular stamp for an additional charge. Usually I recommend clients manage the legalisation themselves, by post. The Foreign and Commonwealth office charges £30 for each document it legalises. This website “get document legalised” is helpful. Note:

  • It is no longer possible to personally take documents to Milton Keynes and wait while the apostille is attached.
  • Consular legalisation fees vary depending on the country concerned.

Register of Apostilles

The UK Government E-Register of Apostilles is now live. Through this Register anyone with the date of issue and the offical number of an Apostille can check a document’s authenticity.

If legalisation is required

If your document requires legalisation, for the proof of documents to be sent outside the United Kingdom, then this table explains:

Where the name of a country appears in capital letters, the Hague Convention of 5th October 1961 is in force there.

Country Form of Authentication
Afghanistan Consular legalisation required.
ALBANIA Apostille.
ANDORRA Apostille.
Angola Consular legalisation required. Documents not in Portuguese must be submitted with a translation.
ANGUILLA Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
ANTIGUA & BARBUDA Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
ARGENTINA Apostille.
ARMENIA Apostille.
AUSTRALIA Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
AUSTRIA Apostille.
AZERBAIJAN Apostille.
BAHAMAS Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
Bahrain Apostille + Consular legalisation required.
Bangladesh Consular legalisation required.
BARBADOS Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
BELARUS Apostille.
BELGIUM Apostille.
BELIZE Apostille.
Benin Consular legalisation required.
BERMUDA Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
Bhutan Consular legalisation required.
Bolivia Apostille + Consular legalisation required.
BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA Apostille.
BOTSWANA Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
Brazil Apostille + Consular legalisation required. All in person consular stamps are dealt with on an appointment basis booked on line. By post £16 but you have to pay by postal order – so £18 cost. SAE required. It can take 3 or 4 working days.
BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS  See Virgin Islands – British
BRUNEI DARUSSALAM Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
BULGARIA Apostille.
Burkina Faso Consular legalisation required.
Burma See Myanmar
Burundi Consular legalisation required.
Cambodia Consular legalisation required.
Cameroon Consular legalisation required.
Canada Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
Cape Verde Consular legalisation required.
CAYMAN ISLANDS Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
Central African Republic Consular legalisation required.
Chad Consular legalisation required.
CHANNEL ISLANDS Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
Chile Consular legalisation required.
China Apostille + Consular legalisation required.
COLOMBIA Apostille.
Comoros Consular legalisation required.
Congo, Republic of the Consular legalisation required.
Costa Rica Consular legalisation required.
Cote d’Ivoire Consular legalisation required.
CROATIA Apostille.
Cuba Consular legalisation required. Documents not in the Spanish language must be accompanied by a notarised translation into Spanish.
CYPRUS Apostille.
Cyprus (North) Legalisation by North Cyprus representative office required.
CZECH REPUBLIC Apostille.
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Consular legalisation required.
Democratic Republic of the Congo Consular legalisation required.
DENMARK Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
Djibouti Consular legalisation required.
DOMINICA Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
ECUADOR Apostille.
Egypt Apostille + Consular legalisation required.
EL SALVADOR Apostille.
Equatorial Guinea Consular legalisation required.
Eritrea Consular legalisation required.
ESTONIA Apostille.
Ethiopia Consular legalisation required.
FALKLAND ISLANDS Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
FIJI Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
FINLAND Apostille.
FRANCE Apostille.
FRENCH GUYANA See France
FRENCH POLYNESIA See France
Gabon Consular legalisation required.
The Gambia Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
GEORGIA Apostille.
GERMANY Apostille.
Ghana Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
GIBRALTAR Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
GREECE Apostille
GRENADA Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
GUADALOUPE See France
GUAM See the United States of America
Guatemala Apostille + Consular legalisation required. The Consulate’s fee is £10 per document.
GUERNSEY See Channel Islands
Guinea Consular legalisation required.
Guinea-Bissau Consular legalisation required.
Guyana Legalisaion of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
Haiti Consular legalisation required.
HONDURAS Apostille.
HONG KONG (SAR) Apostille.
HUNGARY Apostille.
ICELAND Apostille.
INDIA Apostille.
Indonesia Consular legalisation required.
Iran, Islamic Republic of Consular legalisation required.
Iraq Consular legalisation required.
IRELAND Legalisaion of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
Isle of Man: See Man, Isle of Apostille.
ISRAEL Apostille.
ITALY Apostille.
Ivory Coast See Cote d’Ivoire
Jamaica Legalisaion of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
JAPAN Apostille.
JERSEY See Channel Islands
Jordan Consular legalisation required.
KAZAKHSTAN Apostille.
Kenya Legalisaion of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
Kiribati Legalisaion of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
Korea (North) See Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
KOREA (SOUTH) See Republic of Korea
Jordan Consular legalisation required.
Kuwait Apostille + Consular legalisation required.
Kyrgystan Consular legalisation required.
Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Laos) Consular legalisation required.
LATVIA Apostille.
Lebanon Consular legalisation required.
LESOTHO Legalisaion of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
LIBERIA Apostille.
Libya Arab Jamahiriya Consular legalisation required.
LIECHTENSTEIN Apostille.
LITHUANIA Apostille.
LUXEMBOURG Apostille.
MACAU (SAR) Apostille.
MACEDONIA, THE FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF Apostille.
Madagascar Apostille.
MADEIRA Apostille.
MALAWI Apostille.
Malaysia Legalisaion of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
Maldives Legalisaion of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
Mali Consular legalisation required.
MALTA Apostille.
MAN, ISLE OF Legalisaion of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
MARSHALL ISLANDS Apostille.
MARTINIQUE See France
Mauritania Consular legalisation required.
MAURITIUS Apostille.
MAYOTTE See France
MEXICO Apostille.
Micronesia, Federated States of Consular legalisation required.
MOLDOVA See Republic of Moldova
MONACO Apostille.
MONGOLIA Apostille.
MONTENEGRO Apostille.
MONTSERRAT Legalisaion of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
Morocco Apostille + Consular legalisation required.
Mozambique Consular legalisation required.
Myanmar Consular legalisation required.
NAMIBIA Apostille.
Nauru Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
Nepal Apostille + Consular legalisation required.
NETHERLANDS Apostille.
NETHERLANDS ANTILLES See Netherlands
NEW CALEDONIA See France
NEW ZEALAND Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
Nicaragua Apostille + Consular legalisation required.
Niger Consular legalisation required.
Nigeria Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
NORWA Consular legalisation required.
OMAN Apostille.
Pakistan Apostille + Consular legalisation required.
Palau Consular legalisation required.
Palestine Legalisation by Palestine General Delegation in London recommended.
PANAMA Apostille.
Papua New Guinea Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
Paraguay Apostille + Consular legalisation required.
PERU Apostille.
Philippines Apostille + Consular legalisation required.
Pitcairn Island Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
POLAND Apostille.
PORTUGAL Apostille.
PUERTO RICO Apostille.
Qatar Consular legalisation required.
REPUBLIC OF KOREA Apostille.
REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA Apostille.
REUNION See France
ROMANIA Apostille
RUSSIAN FEDERATION Apostille.
Rwanda consular legalisation required.
ST. BARTHELEMY See France
SAINT HELENA Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
SAINT LUVIA Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
ST. MARTIN See France
ST-PIERRE-ET-MIQUELON See France
SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
SAMOA(formerly Western Samoa) Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
Samoa (AMERICAN) See United States of America
SAN MARINO Apostille.
SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE Apostille.
Saudi Arabia Apostille + Consular legalisation required.
Senegal Consular legalisation required.
SERBIA Apostille.
SEYCHELLES Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
Sierra Leone Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
Singapore Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
SLOVAKIA Apostille.
SLOVENIA Apostille.
Solomon Islands Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
Somalia Consular legalisation required.
SOUTH AFRICA Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
SOUTHERN AND ANTARCTIC TERRITORIES (FRENCH) See France
SPAIN Apostille.
Sri Lanka Legalisation of hte acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
Sudan Consular legalisation required.
SURINAME Apostille.
SWAZILAND Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
SWEDEN Apostille.
SWITZERLAND Apostille.
Syrian Arab Republic Consular legalisation required.
Taiwan Legalisation by Taipei Representative Office, London.
Tajikistan Consular legalisation required.
Timor-Leste Consular legalisation required.
Togo Consular legalisation required.
TONGA Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
Tunisia Consular legalisation required.
TURKEY Apostille.
Turkmenistan Consular legalisation required.
TURKS & CAICOS ISLANDS Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
Tuvalu Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
Uganda Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
UKRAINE Apostille.
United Arab Emirates Apostille + Consular legalisation required.The Consulate’s fee for each commercial document is £400.
United Republic of Tanzania Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Apostille (not required in all States).
Uruguay Consular legalisation required.
Uzbekisstan Consular legalisation required.
VANUATU Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
VENEZUELA, BOLIVARIAN REPUBLIC OF Apostille.
Vietnam Consular legalisation required.
VIRGIN ISLANDS – AMERICAN  See United States of America
VIRGIN ISLANDS – BRITISH Apostille advisable.
WALLIS-ET-FUTUNA See France
Western Samoa See Samoa
Yemen Consular legalisation required.
Zambia Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.
Zimbabwe Legalisation of the acts of an English or Welsh notary public unnecessary in most cases.

The requirements set out above are intended as a guide only and are not intended to replace advice from practitioners qualified in the relevant jurisdictions. Where consular legalisation is required, the particular requirements of the relevant consulate should be ascertained.

The word “Apostille” is of French origin. It comes from the French verb “apostiller” which derives from the old French word postille meaning “annotation”, and before it to the Latin word postilla a variation of the word postea, which means “thereafter, afterwards, next”. Usage of the word “apostille” dates back to the end of hte 16th century in France. The first edition of the Deictionary of the Academie francaise in 1694, provied the following definition of apostille:

An addition in the margin of a written document or at the bottom of a letter.

So an Apostille consisited of an annotation in the margin of a document or at the end of a letter.

During the negotiations on the Convention, the term “apostille” was preferrred because of its novelty. The other suggestion having been attestation.

These notes are not exhaustive but are a preliminary guideline only. They interrelate with the accompanying notes: