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.

A UK document means that it originated or has been executed in the UK. If a UK solicitor or notary public is signing a document they should state clearly what exactly it is they are certifying in relation to the document. They must sign in their own name and not use a company signature. They should clearly print their name and their firm's name under the signature.

We can legalise photocopies of certain types of documents (listed below) as long as they have been certified by a UK solicitor or notary as being true photocopies. If you want to legalise a certified photocopy of a particular document, and we are able to do this (see below), you should also confirm with the end users of the document to ensure that a certified photocopy is acceptable to them.

UK Educational Documents

All educational documents must be signed by a UK solicitor or notary before they can be legalised. The solicitor or notary should either confirm that the document is original if that is the case, or a true photocopy. If you are living overseas it may be possible for the British Council in your country to certify the document instead. You should check with the local British Council office to see if they offer this service.

Educational documents which are not degrees, diplomas, certificates, qualifications or other awards may be legalised if they have been issued by an educational establishment in the UK. This includes school reports and letters concerning enrolling, attendance, fees and grades.

Documents which are degrees, diplomas, certificates, qualifications or other awards can be legalised if they were issued by an educational establishment if it is registered at one of the following websites:

  • 'Register of Providers' or the 'Recognised Degrees' sections of the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) website
  • the Scottish Qualifications Authority website
  • the National Database of Accredited Qualifications website
  • the British Accreditation Council Website
  • the Open and Distance Learning Quality Council
  • the Association of British Language Schools

Additionally, qualifications which are or were issued by OCR, Edexcel, Higher National Diploma, City and Guilds, National Open College Network, GNVQ or the American Study Abroad Programme in the UK can also be legalised.

UK Birth, Death, Marriage and Civil Partnership Certificates

We can legalise original or certified copies of certificates issued by the General Registry Office (GRO) or local Registry Offices in the UK, or British Diplomatic Missions overseas.

We can also legalise original death certificates issued by a UK coroner. Translations of these can also be legalised if they have been signed by a UK solicitor or notary. Please note that we are NOT able to legalise photocopies of these documents, even if they have been signed by a UK solicitor or notary.

UK Certificates of No Impediment (CNIs) or 'No Trace' Letters issued by the GRO

Original CNIs and GRO issued letters confirming that there is no trace of an individual currently being married can be legalised. Please note that we are not able to legalise photocopies of these documents, even if they have been signed by a UK solicitor or notary public. More information on obtaining Certificates of No Impediment and using them abroad can be found at Certificates of No Impediment or Nulla Ostas.

British Passports

We cannot legalise original passports of any nationality. Photocopies of the bio data  page of British passports may be legalised if they have been certified by a UK solicitor or notary public as being true photocopies of the original documents. We do not legalise certified copies of foreign passports or ID documents.

Change of Name Deed Poll

All change of name deed poll documents (originals as well as copies) must be certified by a UK solicitor or notary public as being original, or true photocopies, before they can be legalised.

Religious Documents

We can legalise the following religious documents as long as they have been certified by a UK solicitor or notary public and originated in the UK. The solicitor or notary public should certify original documents as being genuine, and photocopies as being true copies of the original documents:

  • Islamic Marriage and Divorce Certificates issued by UK mosques
  • Jewish Divorce Certificates issued by a Jewish Court
  • Baptismal Certificates of any denomination.

Documents relating to the Hajj or Umrah which originated in the UK must be certified by an official of the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce, or an Arabic speaking UK solicitor or notary public before they can be legalised.

UK Court documents

Original documents issued by UK courts can be legalised. Photocopies of these documents can also be legalised if they have been certified by a UK solicitor or notary public as being true copies of the original documents.

Powers of Attorney, Wills, Affidavits, Declarations and Notarial Acts

Originals of these documents can be legalised if they have been signed in the UK by the individual(s) concerned and the signature(s) witnessed by a UK solicitor or notary public.

The solicitor or notary public should certify this clearly on the document.

Certificates of Incorporation and Other Documents Issued by Companies House

We can legalise originals of these documents only if they have been signed by an official of Companies House. If the originals do not bear an original signature of a Companies House official then they must be certified by a UK solicitor or notary public as being original documents. Photocopies of Companies House documents can be legalised if they have been certified by a UK solicitor or notary public as being true copies of the original document.

Export Certificates

We can legalise export certificates only if they have been signed by an official of the relevant UK Government Department. Photocopies of export documents may be legalised if a UK solicitor or notary public has certified them to confirm that they are true copies of the original documents.

Documents from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)

Original documents from HMRC can be legalised if they are signed by an HMRC official.

National Identification Certificates and Disclosure Documents

Only original documents issued by the National Identification Service (NIS) and signed by an NIS official can be legalised. Original disclosure documents must be signed by a member of the Criminal Records Bureau or a UK solicitor or notary public before they can be legalised. We cannot legalise photocopies of NIS or disclosure documents.

Medical documents

Medical reports and letters issued by UK hospitals and NHS Trusts may be legalised as long as they have been signed by a UK doctor who is registered with the General Medical Council. Letters concerning non-medical issues, eg. job references or letters of employment, can be legalised if they are signed by a UK solicitor or notary public confirming them to be true and genuine. We cannot legalise other medical documents, including Form Med 3 issued by doctors for statutory sick pay and social security purposes.

Pet Travel Scheme

We can legalise documents to export pets overseas. These must be original documents and be signed by a qualified Veterinary Surgeon. Please note that we do not legalise any other documents for pets.

Documents from UK Crown Dependencies

We cannot legalise documents originating or executed in the British Crown Dependencies (Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey). Such documents should be legalised in the relevant Dependency and do not require further legalisation by the Legalisation Office in order to be accepted by foreign authorities.

Documents from British Overseas Territories

Documents originating or executed in a British Overseas Territory can only be legalised if they have already been legalised by an official of the Government in the Territory concerned. The British Overseas Territories are:
Anguilla, Bermuda, British Antartic Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, St Helena and Dependencies, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands.

Foreign Language Translations of UK Documents

We can legalise translations of UK documents issued or executed in the UK. These documents need to be certified by a UK solicitor or notary public confirming that they are true translations. We can also legalise documents certified as true translations by a consular official of the relevant Embassy, Consulate or High Commission in London Please note that we are not able to legalise documents on the signatures of the translators unless they are also a practising UK solicitor or notary public, or a consular official. Please note that we will not legalise certified copies of foreign language documents.

Foreign Documents

If you have a foreign document which requires legalisation you should contact the relevant Embassy, Consulate or High Commission in the UK for advice.

If you have been advised that your document needs to be appended to a notarial cover sheet containing a certification from a practising UK solicitor or notary public, the cover sheet must refer specifically to the document, and the document should be properly bound to the cover sheet.

Update

From 1 February 2008 Notary Publics and solicitors are no longer able to legalise PHOTOCOPIES of UK Birth, Marriage, Civil Partnership, Death Certificates, or Certificates of No Impediment. 

This is because we have been advised that the General Register Office (GRO) or local Registry Offices are the only designated authorities in the UK who can issue certified copies of these documents.

Contact the GRO or your local Registry Office for more information on obtaining certified copies of these types of certificates which will be able to legalise.

Births marriages and deaths

Registration and legal information

Pair of gold wedding rings on wedding register.  © Martin Poole/Getty Images
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