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1 February 2022

What is an apostille? Here is your guide

Knowing why and when you need an apostille is important if you have business or personal interests in a foreign country. Here is how we can help.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

A photo of an Apostille Certificate

Apostilles, and when they are needed, can confuse many. However, knowing which documents need certifying is crucial when presenting them in a foreign country.

If you are unsure about apostilles, Woodcock Notary Public can help. 

What is an apostille?

In principle, an apostille is a legal certification that makes a document from one country valid in another. They are a widely recognised method for validating legal documents in a different country.

Several legal documents may need an apostille in different circumstances. The type of documents that may require one include: 

  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage certificates
  • Educational certificates
  • Driving licences
  • Bank statements
  • Tax returns
  • Passports

The apostille itself is a single-page document attached to the document in question. It shows the viewer that the document has been notarised. 

Wondering if you need an apostille?

There are several reasons why you might need an apostille document. They are necessary to use an official document in a foreign country. Some examples of when you would need an apostille are:

  • International marriages
  • Moving to a different country 
  • Applications for studying abroad 
  • Applications for residency/citizenship abroad
  • Doing business abroad
For an apostille to be valid, both of the countries concerned need to be part of the 1961 Hague Convention. The full list of the countries that are part of the agreement can be found here.

How do you get something notarised?

If you want a document notarised, you need to get it seen by a qualified lawyer. This is the only way to notarise a document.  

You need to present your document in good condition. Doing this allows the notarisation process to be done without the need for correction. Below is a list of things we recommend you do before bringing your document to be notarised:

  • Make sure the document is 100% complete
  • Provide official ID (passport/driving license)
  • Make sure the name on your document matches your ID

How long does it take?

Processing your document can take 10 to 15 working days if you use our standard service. Your documents are returned quicker if you use our fast-track service, as it takes five to seven days. 

Please be aware that processing times do not include postage and packing. 

Our apostille and notary services

As a registered Notary Public, we can deal with the notarisation of your documents, so that they can then get an apostille for use overseas.

We can also manage the whole process of getting an apostille from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) for you, as we work closely with them.

Please note, for countries that do not accept apostilles, you will need to go through the process of embassy legalisation instead. We can also manage this process for you.

Contact us

Woodcock Notary are experts on legal documents.

Contact us today if you need our services.


If you have any questions about our notary, apostille or consular services,
contact Woodcock Notary Public today.

Call us on 0330 133 6480 or email

If you have any questions about our notary, apostille or consular services, contact Woodcock Notary Public today.

Call us on 0330 133 6480 or email