What is legalisation?

Legalisation is the official confirmation that a signature, seal or stamp on a document is genuine. But having a document legalised doesn’t mean that its contents are accurate, and it does not carry any sort of official approval by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

And all we can do is legalise documents – we can’t translate them or offer any other services.

How do we legalise documents?

First we check the signature, seal or stamp on the document against our database. Then we attach an apostille (the legal term for the legalisation certificate) to confirm that it is genuine.

Why do documents need to be legalised?

If you are going to use British documents overseas, for business or personal reasons, you’ll probably be asked to have your documents legalised before they can be accepted. The FCO stamp of authenticity gives the person you’re dealing with complete confidence that it’s the genuine article.

What documents do I need to legalise?

We can’t tell you that, because it depends on the local requirements. Only the authority or organisation you’re dealing with can give you that information. But you may be able to get advice from the Embassy, Consulate or High Commission of the country you’re travelling to.

We can legalise most UK documents, but you should check the details at Documents we can legalise.

For Overseas weddings different countries have their own requirements, so check carefully well in advance.

How can I get my documents legalised?

You can send them to us by post or bring them to our public counter in London. If you’re bringing your documents in person, you need to know that We are moving, so check that you have the right address and opening times.

Documents we can legalise

We can legalise most UK documents as long as they bear an original signature, seal or stamp from a UK public organisation or official.

Applications by post

Information on how to apply to get your documents legalised by post.

The public counter

Information on the public counter office – for standard service -  to legalise documents at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Avoiding delays

Information on how to avoid delays when getting a document legalised.

We are moving

Information on the relocation of the Legalisation Office public counter to Milton Keynes later in 2008.


Business customers only.

Contact us

By telephone:
020 7008 1111

Please note the public telephone lines are open from 10am - 12pm and from 2pm - 3pm Monday to Friday excluding public holidays.

By post or in person:
The Legalisation Office
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Old Admiralty Building
The Mall
London SW1A 2LG

Email: legalisation office