Here we aim to answer some common queries about Certified Copies and Legalisation. Please scroll down and read through carefully.
What is a Certified Copy?
A ‘certified copy’ is the more commonly used term describing the formal or legal process of certification of original or photocopied documents. In most countries the certificating process is generally reserved to be completed by a legally qualified professional or other recognised public official or department. In the UK, Practising Barristers, Practising Solicitors, Notary Public’s and Practising Legal Executives are all qualified legal professionals able to provide a reliable certification service for documents to be used formally or for legal purposes within the UK. Documents certified by professionals other than fully qualified lawyers with current practising certificates may not be accepted by some services particularly most government departments both in the UK and overseas. The cost of certifying copies can vary depending upon the service required. Our service fees are reasonable for the service we provide by practising barristers and solicitors who are also commissioners for oaths here in the UK, which mean your documents will usually be accepted without question unless you should have had them notorised. You should always check first before ordering our services.
What documents should I certify?
There are many personal and business transactions that may require you to have a document ‘certified as a true original document’ or ‘a true copy of a document (’a certified copy’). Most formal institutions or government departments will NOT accept as reliable proof of any assertion an ordinary photocopied document purported to have come from an original. You should always check with the service provider as to whether you need your document certified. Now let me Order
Examples of documents that usually require certifying if photocopied!!
1. *Land and Mortgage deeds
2. *Change of name (deed polls)
3. *Wills and Codicils.
4. *Powers of Attorney’s
5. *Statutory Declarations
7. *UK Court documents including court orders
8. *Companies House documents
9. *Export certificates and documents
10. *Bio data page of passports
11. *Employment documents, offer and confirmation letters
13. *Medical documents
14. *Foreign language translations of UK documents only
15. *Religious certificates or documents
16. *Education certificates or documents
Examples of services that may require certified copies from you are!!
2. *Universities and Colleges
3. *Government Departments,
4. *Land Registry
6. *Passport Service,
7. *Her Majesty’s Court Services,
8. *Companies House,
9. *Foreign and Commonwealth Office,
10. *Immigration and Nationality Department
11. *And many more you should always check first.
Is it a good idea to have a certified copy of my passport?
It always makes sense to have at least one certified copy of the bio data page of your passport safely tucked so that you have a reliable source of proof in the event that your passport is lost or stolen. Particularly if you are traveling overseas. Being able to produce a certified copy should help to speed up the processing time for a replacement or the issuing of a travel document to get you back safely to your country of residence. Now let me Order
Can your services help protect me from identity theft?
There are many occasions when you should seriously consider using ‘legally certified copies’ in place of your originals to reduce the risk of your original documents falling into the hands of fraudsters. The more you circulate your original documents the more likely they are to become lost or stolen, increasing the risk to you of identity theft or suffering some other form of personal or business damage. A ‘certifed copy’ of these valuable documents from a UK practising lawyer whose status in the UK can be easily checked, reduces the risk of your originals falling into the wrong hands, or is a reliable source of evidence to support your claims for a replacement if that proves necessary if an original document is lost or stolen. Also bear in mind that a number of original documents once lost or stolen can be extremely difficult to obtain again for a variety of reasons. An example is educational and professional qualification certificates and transcripts and ‘legitimate traveling visa stamps’ inside or attached to passports. A ‘legally certified copy’ is only reproduced from its original document in black and white, and would not provide counterfeiters with the amount of detail that they need to reproduce a replica. Our service is intended to ensure that you invest now in reducing these risks to yourself or your business by purchasing affordable legally certified copies of those documents or certificates that you are most likely to need in the future. Our postal services and electronic services are fast, efficient, safe and easy to use saving you time and money. We strongly advise you in obtaining legally certified copies ONLY from fully qualified legal professionals regulated by an authorised body such as the Bar Standards Board or the Solicitors Regulation Authority, otherwise your certified copies may not be properly certified and accepted by the service requiring you to have your copy certified. Now let me Order
What is the safest way to send documents through the post?
We always send your documents back to you by postal delivery or First Class Recorded Delivery if you request this srvice and are willing to pay an additional £2.50 fee, which means you should sign for them or be able to collect them from the postal depot if you miss the postman. We do not recommend sending valuable original documents such as driving license or passports through the post in this day and age without sending them by recorded delivery. So if you are sending these to us you should order the additional postal services as well otherwise your originals will be sent by normal first class postal delivery and we cannot accept responsibility for any documents that go missing. If you decide not to do this, then we would strongly recommend that when posting to us you pop into the post office or local sorting depot and get them to issue you with a certificate of posting. Now let me Order
What is a Certificate of Posting?
A Certificate of Posting is a free service from the post office. It is your proof that you have posted the item. The Certificate of Posting is issued by the post office counter clerk. He or she needs to date stamp and sign the certificate as having been accepted into the postal network. In the rare instance of your item being lost in Royal Mail’s network you will have to present a stamped and signed Certificate of Posting with your claim for loss. Remember this is a free service so make the most of it. Now let me Order
How many copies should I order?
This depends upon what you would need the document for. It usually makes sense to get a minimum of two copies so that you have one spare just in case. Now let me Order
How do you certify the document?
If there is available space at the head or foot of the document your document will be certificated on the face of it. Otherwise we will certify the other side of the document. We will therefore need to photocopy any double sided document so the copies you receive will be a two one sided stapled certificated document. The certificate will be located at the back of the second page. You will be charged per document not per sheet. So if your document has more then one page we certify the back last page and staple the document together. You should not interfere with the staple otherwise your certificated copy could be deemed unreliable. Attachments or exhibits are separate documents and will require certifying also, you should consider this when calculating the cost of ordering your certified copies. Attachments or exhibits will also be stapled to the document that it accompanies and should not be removed, otherwise your certified copy will be deemed unreliable. Now let me Order
How long will a legally certified copy be valid?
In our experience most formal services will not usually accept a legally certified copy that is older than three months. However this very much depends upon the type of document you are being asked to certify and the purpose for which it is intended. Always check beforehand with the service requiring you to certify your copy. Now let me Order
How does the Foreign and Commonwealth Office legalise documents?
First, they check the signature, seal or stamp on the document against their database. Then if satisfied that those particulars are registered with them they will attach an apostille. This is the legal term used to describe the legalisation certificate. The apostille confirms that it is genuine. Now let me Order
Why do documents need to be legalised?
If you are going to use British documents overseas, for business or personal reasons, you will probably be asked to have your documents legalised before they can be accepted. The FCO stamp of authenticity gives the person you are dealing with complete confidence that it is a genuine UK document. Now let me Order
What documents do I need to legalise?
The FCO does provide a list of documents that they can legalise. Their list is very similar to our list of the types of documents usually required to be certified here in the UK. It very much depends upon the local requirements of the country requesting the legalisation. Only the authority or organisation you are 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 concerned. We can arrange to legalise most UK documents for you but you should always check to be sure.