The postal strikes are having an effect on the delivery of notarised documents sent to my consular agent for apostilles and consular legalisation and return to UK addresses. Where appropriate, I am using courier services, although these are also now stretched and are taking longer than usual – and at increased cost.
I am often asked to authenticate police checks for use overseas. In the United Kingdom these can be obtained from the ACRO Criminal Records Office, from Disclosure Scotland and the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS). Generally, for the purposes of authenticating and attesting such documents, the ACRO police certificates are easier to work with and you can ask for them to be signed in “wet ink”. In contrast the Disclosure Scotland documents are not signed and therefore more difficult to process.
SAUDI ARABIA – LEGALISATION
Saudi Arabia has joined the 1961 Hague Convention Apostilles. Previously, to legalise documents for this country, an apostille, an Arab-British Chamber of Commerce stamp and Saudi consular legalisation were all needed. Now, joining about 121 other countries, only an apostille from the United Kingdom Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office will be needed. This will mean a significant saving in time and costs for documents going to Saudi Arabia.
When a child is travelling overseas with only one parent or with someone who is not a parent, it is sometimes necessary, and usually advisable, for the adult who is travelling with the child to have an original travel consent document. This will be signed by the non-travelling parent or parents or the legal guardians of the the child. Sometimes the rules of a country through which the child will travel, or the airline or cruise or ferry company, require the document to be signed before a notary public.
The starting point is to check if the countries or airline or other travel company require the consent to be on a specific form. If not, I can assist with drafting a travel consent declaration. This should be checked as being sufficient with the relevant immigration authorities, airline or travel company – I cannot perform that task. Also, you should check whether the notarised document needs an apostille or legalisation (please see information on this on this website).
In all cases, I need to see the non-travelling parent or parents sign in person and I need to see the child. I need to see the original passports of all parties and the child’s original birth certificate, which names the parents. Depending on circumstances, other documents may be needed too.
Travel consent documents need careful preparation and it is recommended that plenty of time is allowed to complete the process before travelling.
APOSTILLES ON UK BIRTH, MARRIAGE & DEATH CERTIFICATES
The FCDO has recently updated its policy on providing apostilles on UK birth, marriage certificates.
An apostille is a Government certificate certifying the signature/seal of a public official, in this case a Registrar of births, marriages and deaths. In the past, the FCDO’s Legalisation Office would make checks to verify the registrar’s signature. This will no longer happen. Certified copies of the entry of birth, marriage or death must bear a General Register Office seal in order to be accepted for an apostille.
As before, apostilles will not be affixed to photocopies of such certificates.
To save time that would otherwise be lost where birth, marriage or death certificates are rejected by the Legalisation Office, customers are advised to a obtain a certified copy of the respective entry from the General Register Office – which will have the necessary seal.
Please see: http://www.gov.uk/order-copy-birth-death-marriage-certificate
If you have any questions about documents that need notarising or legalising for Ukraine, please let me know. I will do my best to help support Ukrainian citizens who have notarial requirements during the current invasion of their country.
Documents for Russia & Belarus
The United Kingdom Government’s Legalisation Office has informed notaries that it will continue legalising (issuing apostilles on) documents destined for use in Russia and Belarus at the present time. No doubt this could change.
Notaries are required to comply with the Government’s latest sanctions regulations: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/russia-sanctions-guidance/russia-sanctions-guidance.
ID – home address evidence
Increasing levels of fraud in this country and overseas are causing many financial services providers to tighten their anti-money laundering procedures. Sometimes this involves a request for a copy of evidence of an individual’s home address to be notarised. This will often take the form of a copy of a utility or council tax bill linking the person to an address. It is common for there to be a requirement that the document is dated within a specific period, say the last three months. Since United Kingdom driving licenses can be up to 10 years old, they are of limited use as evidence of address.
If I am asked to notarise a copy of a utility bill or similar, I will need to see either the original document, if it was issued in paper form, or the original electronic document on the website of the issuing body. To verify an electronic document, you will need to (a) bring a printed copy of the electronic document and (b) when we meet, have access to a device on which you can enter the relevant website with your log-in details so that I can compare the printed copy with the original electronic document. (To be clear, I do not wish to have access to your login details.)
Sending documents overseas
Documents that are authenticated by a notary public are almost always for use overseas. This raises the question of how to send them to the destination. The options are ordinary airmail, Royal Mail “Tracked and Signed” and courier services such as FedEx and DHL, which deliver to the addressee. If I am instructed to send a document overseas for a client, I will only use FedEx or DHL. This is because they reliable and fast. Sadly, each year a number of of my clients send their documents by some form of mail which fails to deliver and causes the client, delay, extra cost and sometimes consequences of missing a deadline. All systems are fallible, but the courier services very rarely fail to deliver and the cost is usually much less than having to repeat the document formalities.
Philippines – Legalisation update
Until recently, legalising a document for the Philippines was a two-step process, involving an apostille from the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and then consular legalisation from the Philippine Embassy in London. The Philippines has recently joined 117 other countries with accession to the 1961 Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents. Accordingly, documents originating in the United Kingdom that are going to the Philippines only require an apostille issued by the FCO.