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New E-Apostille: How Does it Work

New E-Apostille: How Does it Work

New E-Apostille: How Does it Work

December 11, 2023 apostille-online Comments Off

There has been some very exciting news for those in need of document legalisation or apostille services. The UK Legalisation Office, a division of the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, has recently introduced a cutting-edge digital submission process, allowing anyone who needs to have a document verified to access electronic “e-Apostille” certificates. This new approach promises a faster, more cost-efficient, and streamlined service for potentially millions of individuals globally.

Under the previous paper-based system, applicants had to either go in person to the Legalisation Office, sent physical documents through the post or by courier, or get a third-party agent to deliver documents to the UK Legalisation Office. This process took several days before the return of their documents with a paper Apostille certificate. The new e-Apostille initiative now allows users to upload their digital documents from home, significantly saving time and effort.

Security Concerns

Although the E-Apostille cuts out some of the postal delays involved with sending documents to and from London, documents must still have either an Advanced Electronic Signature or a Qualified Electronic Signature to ensure the system remains secure. In order to get these signatures, applicants will still have to deal with a solicitor or notary public. The Apostille is then digitally attached to a PDF, signed by the Legalisation Office at the FCDO to ensure integrity, while preserving the customer’s electronic signatures. The apostille is then returned to the customer digitally.

Advantages of New System

This digital solution has numerous advantages. The main bonus for anyone wanting to get a apostille will be quicker processing and simplified record-keeping. While most documents are accepted in the e-Apostille process, a few, such as police records, still require paper-based Apostilles for security reasons. Other documents which cannot be processed electronically include birth, marriage and death certificates issued by the General Register Office (GRO), ACRO police certificates for England and Wales, Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) certificates for England and Wales, disclosure certificates for Scotland or Northern Ireland, fingerprint certificates, and some membership certificates for the accounting industry.

One of the biggest categories of documents which go through Apostille is academic certificates from schools, exam boards or universities, and this group of documents can be verified more quickly online in future. Another benefit of sending documents digitally concerns the environment, with no more need for printing out documents, sending them back and forth in the post nationally and internationally.

Recognition of E-Apostille

The UK is at the forefront of this move to issuing Apostille electronically. Other countries such as Italy, the Netherlands, Panama, and the Philippines are also already acknowledging Apostilles issued in this way. 80 further counties which are part of the Apostille Convention are expected to accept e-Apostilles in the near future. However, this still leaves many other countries which are part of the Apostille Convention, but which have no plans to accept digital apostilles. Users are advised to check specific country requirements before starting the process in order to avoid wasting time and money.