If you intend on trading overseas, you may be required to give legal evidence of your company details by providing an apostille stamp on your certificate of incumbency.

At Notary.co.uk, our team of professional and expert notaries can assist you with authenticating your document.

Find out more about what a certificate of incumbency is and our process for legalising this document.

Jump to…

  1. What Is a Certificate of Incumbency?
  2. Why You Might Need an Apostille for a Certificate of Incumbency
  3. What Documents Are You Required to Provide When Applying for an Apostille Certificate?
  4. Process to Apostille a Certificate of Incumbency

What Is a Certificate of Incumbency?

A certificate of incumbency is a document that is issued to confirm details about a company. It can be issued for both UK-registered and foreign companies.

There is no set rule on what information is included on a certificate of incumbency. The certificate tends to include information about the following details:

  • The company name
  • Company registration number
  • Company office address
  • Place of registration
  • The directors’ and shareholders’ details

In many countries, a certificate of incumbency is a common legal document outlining the company directors and their role within a company. It will be commonly issued by the company itself or by a registered agent.

In the UK there is no official document called a certificate of incumbency. It can be prepared and signed by a director of the company, or another legal professional. A notary public can prepare a certificate having verified the information from Companies House.

If a UK company has been requested to provide a certificate of incumbency, it is common to submit a Certificate of Good Standing as this will cover many of the details needed.

This can be ordered from Companies House and confirms the existence of the company, its registered office address and company number, that it is currently in good standing, a list of directors and secretaries, and the company objects.

It will not confirm the shareholders of the company, and a separate document may be required from Companies House to outline this information.


Why You Might Need an Apostille for a Certificate of Incumbency

You may be asked to apply for an apostille certificate for one of the following reasons:

  • Trading overseas
  • Setting up an overseas bank account
  • Opening an office overseas

An apostille provides reassurance to the recipient of the certificate of incumbency that it is an authentic document. The certificate of incumbency will need to be notarised by a notary public first, and the apostille will confirm the signature and seal of the notary public.

The Hague Convention in 1961 introduced apostille stamps as a form of legalisation for different types of documents such as a certificate of incumbency.

Apostille certificates are accepted by over 120 member countries of the Hague Convention.

If it will be used in a country which has not signed up to the Hague Apostille Convention, the certificate will need to be further legalised by the Embassy of the country in which it will be used.

What Documents Are You Required to Provide When Applying for an Apostille Certificate?

To apostille a certificate of incumbency, you will need the following:

  • A certificate of incumbency notarised by a UK notary public
  • An original Certificate of Good Standing issued by Companies House

Process to Apostille a Certificate of Incumbency

To obtain an apostille, you will need to submit your certificate of incumbency document to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Legalisation Office (FCDO).

There are two Legalisation Office counters – one in London (Premium Service) and one in Milton Keynes (Standard Service). We offer a premium same-day apostille service for urgent matters and standard 3-5 working day apostille service if you are not in a rush.

Notary.co.uk can assist you with our fast and cost-effective services and walk you through every step of the process:

  1. Contact us and tell us what you need. We will ask you to complete our online Client Registration Form and explain how we will complete the identification and verification process.
  2. You can book an appointment to deliver the original certificate of incumbency to us, email us a scan at info@notary.co.uk or post the original to our London Victoria office.
  3. If the certificate of incumbency was issued electronically, we will need to verify the authenticity with the issuer.
  4. If issued in a physical copy, you will need to provide us with the original certificate. We will make a photocopy of the original and notarise the copy as a true copy of the original.
  5. If you are using a Certificate of Good Standing then you will need to provide us with the original issued by Companies House.
  6. We will complete the notarisation of the document and then submit the document to the FCDO on either our Premium or Standard apostille service. If you need consular legalisation, we will also complete that process for you.
  7. Once the legalisation has been completed, we will share a PDF of the apostilled document. You can then collect it from our office for free, we can post it to a UK address or we can courier it abroad via DHL.

If you need your certificate of incumbency document notarised or issued with an apostille or consular legalisation, we’ll be able to support you with our exceptional services.

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