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Apostille Certificates are used to legalise documents for overseas use. They are accepted in any country that is party to the 1961 Hague Convention. If you plan to open a foreign office or branch, or set up an overseas business bank account for a UK limited company, you will have to get certain company documents legalised by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to verify their authenticity. A separate Apostille Certificate will be required for each document.
Almost all public documents can be apostilled. The most common limited company documents include:
- Companies House form IN01 ‘Application to register a limited company’.
- Certificate of Incorporation.
- Memorandum of association.
- Articles of association.
- Share certificate.
- Certificate of Good Standing.
- Change of Company Name Certificate.
- Confirmation Statement (prev. the Annual Return).
- Annual accounts.
Applying for an Apostille Certificate
Apostilles are issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London. Any documents presented to the FCO for legalisation must have a recognisable stamp or signature of a UK public official whose origin can be traced and authenticated. You can apply to the FCO directly, or you can get your documents certified and signed by a UK solicitor or Notary Public and presented to the FCO for legalisation.
Important points to note:
- An Apostille should conform as closely as possible to the Model Apostille Certificate provided by the Convention.
- Apostilles must be attached (by any means) directly to the public documents they are authenticating, or on a separate page called an ‘allonge’.
- An Apostille can only be used to certify the authenticity of the issuing authority (the origin of the document). It cannot be used to certify the content of the issued document.
- An Apostille cannot be used in the country in which a legalised document has been issued. It can only be used to certify documents abroad.
- Apostilles cannot be issued in, or accepted by, any country that is not party to the Apostille Convention. We are unable to offer any assistance or advice in such cases. You should contact the relevant Embassy or a Consulate of the country in which you plan to use the document(s).
Click ‘Buy Now’ and complete the application form with details of the documents you wish to have Apostilled.
Please note: Documents can take up to 14 days to be certified by the FCO.
Frequently asked questions
What does ‘Apostille’ mean?
Why would I need documents Apostilled?
Which countries accept Apostilled documents?
Is there a limit to how many documents I can have Apostilled?
There is no limit to the number of documents which can be legalised at one time.
What documents can be Apostilled?
Any company incorporation documents issued by Companies House or through our own system can be Apostilled, including:
- Certificates of Incorporation
- Memorandum & Articles of Association
- IN01 Form from Companies House
- Certificate of Good Standing
- Any other forms filed at Companies House (such as AP01, CS01 or other)
How does the service work?
Click the 'Buy Now' button above and complete the application form with details of the country in which you intend to use the Apostilled documents.
Once your payment has been made, we will process the documents and have them delivered free of charge by Royal Mail Special Delivery or International Tracked and Signed service. Premium couriers such as DHL are also available at an additional charge.
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