The first step to have your document notarised (UK spelling for ‘notarized’) is to send a scan or Microsoft Word draft of your document to us by email at [email protected]. We will quickly review the document and provide you with a quote, process and estimated time frame, and we will let you know which supporting documents we will need to process your documents and if we need to schedule an appointment.
In most cases, the client needs to meet one of our notaries in person (either at one of our West End, City of London or Victoria offices or externally at your office, residence, or other agreed location)and show the notary their original passport and proof of address (not a photocopy). Once we have seen your drafts, we will confirm the exact process and exactly which documents you will need to show us. If you would like to meet one of our notaries outside of our office, we will provide you with a quote for this once you provide the postcode for the meeting and the proposed meeting time and date.
If we need to verify your document, such as an academic certificate, this may take a few weeks while we wait for the issuing institution to confirm the genuineness of your document to us.
Meeting Stage 1: identification, due diligence and payment
At the meeting, the notary will ask for your consent to take a copy of your passport and proof of address* and will see you sign your document. The notary will take payment by cash or card if you are a new client, or send you an invoice if you are a returning client. If your document needs to be apostilled or legalised, your appointment will not last more than 20 minutes and we will retain the hard copies of your documents so that we can notarise them and take them to the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office in person to be apostilled, or to the relevant foreign Consulate in London to be legalised for use in that country.
Proof of address can be an original photo card driving licence, or an original bank or credit card statement, utility bill or council tax bill which was received by post and which is dated no more than three months before the appointment. If a bank or credit card statement is used as proof of address, this must show more than a £0 balance.
Meeting Stage 2: notarisation
The “notarisation” process refers to the notary writing a certificate confirming how the notary identified the signatories and witnessed the signatures, or how the notary verified the documents; such certificate is then signed by the notary and affixed with the notary’s professional seal and stamp, and this certificate is either written directly onto your document or printed on a separate piece of A4 high-quality certificate paper and permanently bound to your documents using a hole punch reinforced with a metal eyelet which is then tied with ribbon and secured by another of the notary’s embossed professional seals as shown in the example photographs:
If your document does not need to be apostilled or legalised, only notarised, your appointment will take around 20-60 minutes, depending on the number of your documents, and the notary will immediately prepare a notarial certification which will either be written or typed onto your document or which will be permanently bound to your document by metal eyelet, ribbon and the notary’s professional seal, which helps protect you and your document, preventing tampering and fraud. You will be able to take this with you after the appointment. Documents for use in Commonwealth countries such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand are often accepted without any apostilles or legalisation stamps.
Apostille and Legalisation Stage
If your document needs to be apostilled for use abroad, we need to first take it to the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) which issue and affix the apostille. An apostille is a sticker affixed to the underside of the notarial certificate, sealed and signed by an officer of the FCDO, which confirms the Notary’s seal, signature and current practising status of the Notary and validates the document to be used abroad pursuant to the 1961 Hague Convention.
If you need to use your document in a country which has not ratified the 1961 Hague Convention and which is not part of the Commonwealth, you may need to have the document stamped by the Embassy or Consulate of the country where your document is to be used, to supplement the apostille, e.g. for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, China or the United Arab Emirates. The process for legalisation differs for each country, please send us the draft of your document by email and we will revert with the full process as quickly as possible.
Electronic Document Notarisation Process
If you would like to notarise electronic documents remotely, please email us the PDF scan of these documents, and the DocuSign/HelloSign certificate of completion, if available, we will then confirm the full process and any supporting documents we may need.