Since 15 December 2021 the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office have begun issuing e-apostilles as a further method of legalisation under the Hague Apostille Convention.
Implementation of the e-apostille was initially investigated in 2012 but a call was made to put the e-apostille itself on hold. One component however, the e-register, went live in 2014. This is the register where, by inputting the apostille number and the date it was issued in the Verify Apostille website, you can obtain information on whether the apostille itself has been validly issued to that government official.
The e-apostille project was revisited in 2019 following attendance at the 11th e-APP forum in Brazil and, following an active trial phase where valid e-apostilles were issued to those notaries in the trial, the system is now live.
Larianae Notaries is happy to confirm that we were part of this trial and can still obtain e-apostilles on your behalf.
The electronic documents are issued as a complete pdf file including a cover sheet with instructions, like the one below:
You can simply double-click on the paperclip icons next to the description under the letter “2” to access the attachments.
Both attachments to the pdf are also found under the paperclip icon on the left-hand side, or by double clicking the paperclips on the instructions itself. Selecting the paperclip icon will show you the documents that are attached:
The “public document” is the notarised document, which would contain our notarial certification with digital signature in respect of the underlying document as well as the underlying document itself, just as with paper copies.
The e-apostille will confirm all details as per the Hague Apostille Convention requirements and will contain a digital signature, like so:
Additionally, the reference in box 8, which is currently also quoted on the cover sheet, can be used to verify if the apostille is genuine by visiting the Verify Apostille website.
Please note that printing a digital apostille would invalidate it – it is only valid when presented in its original digital format.
It is important to note that, as this is a new project, it may be that recipient countries, even if signatories to the Hague Apostille Convention, are unfamiliar with it and so may (initially) not accept an e-apostille.
Larianae Notaries has had e-apostilles successfully accepted in various jurisdictions including Italy, Brazil, Spain and Panama.
You can read more from the FCDO direct here.
Due to the novelty the FCDO continue to issue standard paper apostilles, in the usual format, and these will have the wet-ink signature of the issuing officer and the embossed seal of the FCDO and be affixed to documents with the wet-ink signature and official embossed notarial seal of our notaries. We can, as always, also obtain these on your behalf quickly and at reasonable costs.