The requirements, fees and lead times for consular legalisation vary according to the country. It is common for consulates to distinguish between commercial and personal documents and the fees and requirements will differ according to the type of document.
Welcome to our Express Consular Legalisation Services, designed to meet your document authentication needs swiftly and efficiently. Our dedicated team ensures that your legalisation requirements are seamlessly fulfilled, providing you with the necessary expertise to navigate the complexities of international document validation.
Serving Your Legalisation Document Requirements
Navigating the intricacies of international document validation is a crucial aspect of cross-border transactions. Our Express Consular Legalisation Services are tailored to address these needs promptly, ensuring that your documents gain the necessary recognition and acceptance in foreign jurisdictions.
What are the Requirements for Consular Legalisation?
Consular Legalisation Meaning:
Consular Legalisation, also known as attestation, is the process of authenticating a document at the Embassy/High Commission of the country where a document is going to be used. Legalisation is mostly carried out by the consular section of an Embassy or High Commission.
This is the third and final stage in the authentication process. The first stage is typically getting the document notarised. The second stage is getting an apostille from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
We provide express consular services to individuals across the UK.
Why it's needed?
Consular legalisation is required if a country has not signed up to the Hague Apostille Convention.
In 1961 the apostille was introduced. This abolished the need for consular legalisation between contracting member states. Since then, 124 countries have become contracting parties to the convention. The most recent being Senegal.
Although some countries have not signed up to the Hague Apostille Convention, those countries still require a document to have an apostille before their Embassy/High Commission will legalise it.
What we offer
We are a one-stop shop and can help you with all requirements to get your document legalised by an Embassy/High Commission. We can do the notarisation, obtain the apostille, arrange a translation, and get the document legalised by the consulate.
Our location in the heart of London’s diplomatic enclave, together with key embassy contacts built up over the years, means we can offer a fast, discreet and smooth process for getting your documents attested.
For consular legalisation, we don’t charge per document. We charge a fixed handling fee to complete the job. Each consulate will charge its own fee which can vary depending on the type of document. We will pass on the exact cost charged by the consulate as a disbursement.
Certain consulates require additional administrative paperwork to be submitted together with the document. We will advise you at the outset of what we need and provide templates if required. If there is any issue with the document raised by the consulate, we will work with you to resolve it as quickly as possible. If we need to make multiple trips to the consulate to complete your job we will do so without extra cost.
Once everything is complete, we will share PDF scans of the document with you. We can then post, bike or courier the document to an address of your choosing.
The Difference Between Consular Legalisation and Apostille
The main difference between consular legalisation and apostille services lies in the process of document authentication and the countries for which they are applicable:
- Consular legalisation is a process used for countries that are not part of the Hague Apostille Convention.
- It involves a multi-step authentication process where the document is notarised by a notary public, then certified by the competent government authority, and finally, authenticated by the consulate or embassy of the destination country in the issuing country.
- Consular legalisation adds an extra layer of verification, often requiring the document to be translated into the official language of the destination country.
- This process can be more time-consuming and involves multiple authorities and steps.
- Apostille services are used for countries that are parties to the Hague Apostille Convention.
- The Apostille is a standardised certificate that confirms the authenticity of the document and is attached by the competent government authority in the issuing country.
- Apostille services simplify the authentication process by eliminating the need for consular legalisation.
- The process is generally quicker and more straightforward, as it involves a single authentication step and is universally recognised among convention countries.
In summary, consular legalisation is a broader authentication process used for countries both inside and outside the Apostille Convention, while apostille services are a specific method of authentication streamlined for countries within the convention.
Country legalisation guide
For more information on individual country requirements and current consulate fees, check our Country Requirements List
What countries currently require consular legalisation?
Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Bangladesh, China, Cuba, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Kurdistan Region, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mozambique, Nepal, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Sudan, Sudan, Taipei (Taiwan), Thailand, UAE, Vietnam, Uganda.
What countries will I need to translate the document for?
Angola, Cuba, Libya and Mozambique.
What countries require a stamp from the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce?
Iraq and Saudi Arabia require all commercial documents to be stamped by the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce prior to being submitted at their embassies. We can handle this step for you.
Commercial documents going to all other Arab states do not require a stamp from the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce but can be obtained on request.
Why has the document taken longer than estimated?
We try our best to provide accurate lead times based on our experience. However occasionally lead times can differ. This can be for a number of reasons, including the consulate suffering technical difficulties, being short-staffed, or due to national holidays.
Consulates regularly change the fees and processes. This can sometimes be at short notice. We do not have any control over this, and will advise you of any changes as soon as we are aware.
Will the consulate accept bundled documents?
Each consulate has their own rule on bundled documents. Whilst acceptable for many consulates, others will not legalise more than one document bundled under one notarial certificate.
Notable consulates that do not accept bundled documents include Qatar and the UAE.
Can I get my document legalised quicker than estimated?
This is at the discretion of the consulate. We can make a request on your behalf however we cannot guarantee that the consulate will oblige.