An Apostille is a one-page document issued by the Government that acts as a certificate of authentication to support and prepare legal paperwork [Notary Certificate, Educational Qualification –Degrees etc.] for international acceptance.

Many countries require your important English legal documents to be authenticated within their country of origin [England] before they can be accepted as valid. If you are asked by a foreign organization or Jurisdiction to provide proof of authenticity for a document, an Apostille will help to simplify the process. The Hague Convention of 1961 created the concept of the Apostille Stamp to give its member states the ability to accept and easily recognize documents as authentic and allow for their use with no further legislation required; you may have heard the term “Hague Apostille” used in the same sense.

The Apostille certifies the identity and authenticity of the person who has acted as the signatory; in our case it assures that they are a qualified Notary in possession of the necessary professional insurance.

Documents that may require an Apostille include birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, adoption certificates, passports, identity documents, power of attorney documents, Wills, and college or university transcripts.

If a foreign organisation has requested any kind of official document from you then please speak with us about our Apostille Service.


If you have been asked by an overseas organisation to provide formal documents of any kind, then you will more than likely require this document to be Apostilled.

Having legal documents Apostilled will speed up the process of having your paperwork recognised and accepted as genuine when presented to overseas officials. A Notary Public is ideally placed to assist you with this – in many jurisdictions indeed, ONLY a Notary can do this.

Once a document has been Apostilled by a Notary Public it can be accepted as legally sound in most countries. If you are sending it to a Country which is not a member of the Hague Convention, get I touch – we will be able to authenticate it direct with the necessary legalizing Embassy or Consulate.

Apostille Stamp

The ‘Stamp’ - or certificate - includes ten features relating to the document that it supports, namely:

  • Country of issue
  • Signatory - Name
  • Signatory’s capacity (eg - Notary Public)
  • Details of the seal
  • Place of issue
  • Date of issue
  • Issuing authority
  • Apostille Certificate Number
  • Stamp of issuing authority
  • Signature of representative of issuing authority

Apostille History

An Apostille is a one-page document that acts as a certificate of authentication to support and prepare legal paperwork for international use.

The Apostille Convention, also known as the Apostille Treaty – is, in full, the Hague Convention of 5th October 1961. In French, the “Convention de La Haye du 5 Octobre 1961.

The Convention was born from the desire to create a method of authenticating legal signatories [such as Notaries Public, or Notaries] to allow for the easy recognition and acceptance of their documents and Certificates for use overseas. The Apostille process was developed so that all member states who have signed the Hague Convention can use this relatively easy method of authentication.

Current Hague Convention member states include: Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, European Union, Finland, Former Yugoslav Republic of, Macedonia, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America, Uruguay, Venezuela, Vietnam and Zambia.

Countries that have not signed the Hague Convention have their own process for accepting foreign legal documents and do not adhere to the Apostille method of authentication.

Apostille Service

Being asked to process your own important documents for use internationally can seem like a challenge.

Atkinson Notary offers its clients an Apostille Service that is both efficient and straightforward. It provides the peace of mind that everything is being looked after in the appropriate manner. Quite simply, you can feel confident that you can leave your paperwork with us and within a matter of days your documents will have been Apostille-stamped ready for use overseas.

We offer two levels of Apostille Service. Our Standard service, which includes posting your documents and certificate directly to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, typically takes around five days. We also offer a Priority service, whereby we obtain your Apostille within 48 hours. In this scenario, we work with our London agents who, upon receipt of the documents, hand deliver your paperwork to the Foreign Office and obtain the stamp immediately. Our agents have to be security-checked in order to perform this role. No members of the general public may enter the building.

Our Apostille Service fees are as follows:

Standard service

Atkinson Notary fee of £65 plus VAT
Postage fee of £8 plus VAT
Foreign and Commonwealth Office fee of £30 per Apostille [plus £5.50 return courier fee]

Priority service

Atkinson Notary fee of £85 plus VAT
Foreign and Commonwealth Office fee of £75 per Apostille
London Agent fee of £42 plus VAT
Postage fee of £22.40


Please note that in appropriate cases I will work outside usual office hours including weekends and I will see clients either at my office (which has a large free car park and also is on the Leeds CityBus loop bus route), or at their own office or home.



Christopher Atkinson
Notary Public


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