General principles of document legalisation


There are several layers of legalisation required depending on the type of document which you need legalise, and in which country it is intended for use. The process may sometimes appear complicated, but DocsBase Apostille & Consular Legalisation Services offer a complete service for all of these Legalisation steps, from receiving your document to promptly returning it to you once all appropriate authentications have been taken place and the document is ready for use. Below is a brief outline of the various legalisation layers which documents may require.


The client may request a duplicate of an original document, which is required when they don’t have access to the original document – if it has been misplaced or lost – or if they don’t want to use the original document.  In this case  DocsBase Apostille & Consular Legalisation Services can arrange for a new original copy to be issued by the relevant issuing authority such as a University, by contacting the authority on behalf of the client and requesting a duplicate. DocsBase Apostille & Consular Legalisation Services can also arrange for duplicates or second copies of Vital Records to be issued. The newly issued document will then be sent for legalisation.


The next step in the process refers to the first layer of certification, which is required in the event that the original documents cannot be legalised straight away  by Apostille. Generally speaking, Vital Records and some official government documents can be legalised directly, however several countries require the first level of certification to be carried out by the Chamber of Commerce, the Company Registration Office, Medical Facilities, Educational Authorities, the Ministry of Education, etc.


In certain cases, people may not want to have a lot of stamps on important original documents such as contracts or educational documents, and in these cases, we can arrange for a true copy of the original.  In order to obtain a true copy of the original, DocsBase Apostille & Consular Legalisation Services will bring the original document to a Notary who will review and verify the document, make a copy of it, and then affix a stamp on that copy, verifying that it is a true copy of the original. Once a document has been verified by a Notary as a true copy it holds the same value as the original document and can then be legalised in the same way as if it was the original document. Although there is a cost involved for the Notary it is not very expensive, and the client can then rest assured that the original document will be intact and will not be lost or misplaced.


Once the above has been carried out,  DocsBase Apostille & Consular Legalisation Services can submit the original, the certified true copy, or the legalised original from the Ministry of Education or the Chamber of Commerce, etc to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to get an Apostille. This procedure is straightforward, and involves bringing the document to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, dealing with any queries or issues which may arise, and bringing the document back once it has been Apostille legalised. At DocsBase Apostille & Consular Legalisation Services we always use our own agents instead of outsourcing to couriers, ensuring that confidentiality, quality, and promptness are always maintained.


Some countries, particularly those who not members of the Hague Convention, may need a fourth level of certification even though the documents have already been Apostille certified. This is referred to as Consular legalisation and mainly refers to some Arab Gulf countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, as well as China, Vietnam, Thailand and certain African countries such as  Angola. If Consular legalisation is required, DocsBase Apostille & Consular Legalisation Services will submit the Apostille legalised document to the relevant Embassy or Consulate, where the Consular officials will review the document and any other legalisation stamps on it, ensure that the Apostille is legitimate, and then affix an Embassy stamp. This means that when that document is submitted in their own country, only the embassy stamp will be noted, not the authentications and legalisation which took place before.


Certain documents such as criminal records often require all four steps of legalisation. Once the certificate of criminal records has been applied for DocsBase Apostille & Consular Legalisation Services will arrange for it to be legalised by a Notary, after which it can be submitted for Apostille certification and finally Consular legalisation if required. It is worth noting that criminal records are only valid for 3 months or 6 months from the date of issue, and if the document needs to be used after this validity date a new one will need to be applied for. Furthermore, some countries like the UK have different criminal records depending on if they are for internal or external use.  Criminal records which have been issued for internal use only cannot be Apostille legalised, it is, therefore, important to ensure that the client is aware of this and that they apply for the correct type of Criminal Records, or request DocsBase Apostille & Consular Legalisation Services to apply on their behalf.


Certain documents are only valid for a limited period of time, usually 3 to 6 months, and if they are to be used after the validity, a new certificate will have to be applied for. As an example see the references to Criminal Records above. Legalisation of translated documents – Translated documents require three layers of certification as certified translations cannot be Apostilled legalised directly. Translated documents first need to notarised, after which they can be Apostille certified and then legalised by the Consulate if necessary.  In some countries the Apostille certificate is country-specific so information must be provided as to which country the document will be used in, whereas for other countries the Apostille certificate is general and as such the same Apostille-certified document can be used in a few different countries. Please contact DocsBase Apostille & Consular Legalisation Services directly for further information and to receive a personalised quotation.