How to prepare non-UK Certificates for a UK-based visa application

How to prepare non-UK Certificates for a UK-based visa application

When it comes to a visa application, Certificates are absolutely vital proof of who you are, and that you meet the criteria for the visa.

The Certificates that are applicable to the vast majority of visa applications are:

The articles in the links above provide general information about each Certificate and how to get yours – but what happens then?

Certify that your document is genuine – legalisation or Apostille of the Hague

The Apostille Stamp – when does it apply?
All non-EU issued Certificates (including the UK) need ‘legalising’ to prove they are the genuine article. With countries who have signed up to the Hague Convention of 1961 this means you need an apostille stamp.

What if your Certificate wasn’t issued in a Hague convention country?
If the Certificate you need legalising was NOT issued in a country that is part of the Hague Convention, then you’ll need to get a Certified copy ‘legalised’ by the country it was issued in. Usually this takes the form of an Embassy Attestation but you’ll need to check the exact requirements with the issuing country.

In the UK, only the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) can issue apostilles and the cost is 30 GBP per document (+ postage charges). However, there are private providers who will organise both apostilles AND attestations, as well as offering “bundles” for groups of documents. While this may cost more than going through the FCDO, it can save a lot of time. 

Note about translations
Wherever your Certificate was issued, if it isn’t in Spanish, you’ll need to get it translated by a Government-approved translator (sworn translator, traductor jurado)


Certificates must be dated within 90 days of the visa appointment.

Always apostille the ORIGINAL GOVERNMENT ISSUED document
 Anything else (e.g. notary letter) simply calls the original into question and causes problems at the application stage.

Good to know

If you were married/born in the EU then no apostille needed
If you were lucky enough to be married (or born) in an EU country, and the marriage or birth was registered accordingly, then you won’t need an apostille on your Certificate. Even better, you may also be able to get a “Multi-lingual Standard form” Certificate too, which means you won’t have to get the document translated. Win-win.

Information correct at date of publishing.
Last updated 10.08.2022

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