How do I legalize corporate documents of my UK company?
Your company is incorporated in the UK. Sometimes your investors, business partners or clients need to make sure your UK company really exists and is not insolvent. For this reason you will need to show authentic and duly certified corporate documents of your UK company.
Corporate documents, such as certificate of incorporation, certificate of incumbency, memorandum and articles of association as well as other documents are needed to evidence that the company has been duly incorporated in a specific country. These documents contain important information, such as name and address of shareholders and directors; date of incorporation; registered address and other details. For the purpose of identity verification as part of AML and KYC procedure these documents are reviewed by companies and individuals before they decide to transact with you.
Though legalization procedure is not commonly required, you may need it from time to time during the normal course of your business. If you have never done this procedure before, then you may think that it is difficult. In reality, it is possible to apply for this procedure online without any hassle.
What is the process of legalization of corporate documents?
Once your UK company is incorporated, you will receive such official documents as certificate of incorporation, a copy of your memorandum and articles of association as well as other corporate documents. All these public documents carry stamps and stickers of the Companies House or other official authorities in the UK. You may need these documents to be presented in another country before governmental bodies, financial institutions or your business partners. They cannot verify these documents as they are issued in accordance with the laws of other jurisdiction. For this reason, the documents should contain certificates that evidence that the documents are legal and authentic.
In general, public documents need to be certified by several instances, including a notary public, ministry of foreign affairs and consular. The general (not simplified) procedure requires several verification steps and is rather bureaucratic. Luckily, most of the countries, including the UK, are part of the Hague Convention (Apostille Convention) that simplified the legalization procedure.
What is an apostille (apostil)?
The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents (Apostille Convention) provides a simplified procedure of legalization for foreign public documents. After the notary public certifies a public document, it is then verified by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Once authorized, the document will be accompanied with an apostille.
Apostille is a legal recognition of outside documents. The apostille sticker contains information about the destination country, date of issuance of the apostille as well as other important information. It is put on the backside of a public document in order to verify that the document is legal and authentic.
Which documents can be legalized and apostilled?
Only public documents can be legalized and apostilled. These are all sorts of corporate documents issued by UK public authorities. Contracts between entities cannot be apostilled.
How do I need to start? Where do I obtain corporate documents?
Firstly, you need to receive originals of your corporate documents from the Companies House, unless you have them. If you are lacking of any hard originals, then you need to file a request for such documents on the official website of the UK Companies House. Thereafter, you will need to make certified copies with the notary public in the UK. Once the certified copies are ready, you can apply for the apostille with the Companies House.
However, as of this day the online form for apostille requests is in a test mode and you need to make a call or visit their office. If you are not able to do it, you can use online services to obtain necessary apostilled documents.
Because all documents are in English, you will probably need to translate these documents in your language and certify the translation with your local notary public. After that, all is ready.
Ecompany.ltd is a professional service provider that has gained an extensive experience with company formation in the UK and other countries. We assist our clients with any matters related to the course of business in the UK. If you are interested in legalization of your UK documents, we can assist you with:
- Obtaining of all public documents in the UK;
- Certification of public documents with a notary in the UK;
- Apostille services;
- Translation services in most common languages.