What is Legalisation?

Legalisation is a process whereby the UK government confirms the authenticity of legal documents and certificates issued in the UK. Legalisation enables foreign countries (or their embassies in the UK) to accept documents such as UK birth certificates and our Deed Poll documents because their authenticity has been confirmed by the UK government. Legalisation overcomes the problem of foreign countries not knowing whether a Deed Poll issued by us is genuine. The legalisation of documents is handled by the Legalisation Office at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire. When a document is legalised, an Apostille (certificate) is permanently attached to the document.

Please note, you only need to get your Deed Poll legalised if you are asked to do so by a foreign country or a foreign embassy situated in the UK. For example, if you are getting married in the Dominican Republic or you are a Danish or Estonian national living in the UK and you want your passport reissued in your new name.

If you live in the UK
When you receive your Deed Poll, you should not sign it immediately but take it to a UK registered and practicing solicitor or a UK registered and practicing notary public who must witness you sign your Deed Poll document. You should expect to pay up to £10 for this but do ask first (a notary public will charge much more). If you have already executed your Deed Poll and had it witnessed by someone other than a solicitor or notary public, you need to take your Deed Poll to a UK registered and practicing solicitor or notary public for authenticating. The solicitor or notary public must write (anywhere) on your Deed Poll document “I have no reason to doubt the authenticity of this document.” It is important that the solicitor or notary public signs and prints his or her full name under this statement because the FCO will check the solicitor or notary public is registered and practicing in the UK. You can then arrange to have your Deed Poll legalised at the Legalisation Office in Milton Keynes. If you would like us to handle the legalisation of your Deed Poll, please request this in the comments box on your application form. Our fee is shown on our Services available and fees page.

If you live outside the UK
For a document such as a Deed Poll to be legalised, it must be executed and legalised in the country of origin i.e. in the UK. Therefore, if you live outside the UK, this appears to be a problem. However, the way we get around this is to create a copy of your original Deed Poll document in our offices and then get the copy certified as a true copy by our solicitor. The FCO will accept the certified copy as being executed in the UK and will therefore legalise it. If you would like us to handle the legalisation of a certified copy of your Deed Poll, please request this in the comments box on your application form. Our fee is shown on our Services available and fees page.