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What is Legalisation of a document or certificate?

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has the function of authenticating documents for use in countries signed up to the Hague Convention of 1961. This allows the documents to have the same authenticity in those countries as they have in the UK.

What must I do to ensure certificates issued by Companies House are acceptable for legalisation by the FCO?

Certificates issued by Companies House are stamped or electronically signed but they will not be accepted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for the purpose of issuing legalisation certificates. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office require that documents must have the original signature or seal of a British public official. To obtain a certificate signed in person by a Companies House official, customers need to request a ‘certified certificate’.

How do I obtain a certified certificate?

Certified certificates’ can be ordered via:

Companies House Contact Centre on +44 (0)303 1234 500; or
Cardiff, London or Edinburgh Information Centres (for more information visit
Companies House Direct (online service)
Certified certificate fees

4 working days service £15.00
24-hour service (if ordered before 2pm) £50.00
Additional fee for faxed copy of 24-hour service document £3.00
For more information about legalising documents please visit