The Apostille is an official government issued certificate added to documents so they will be recognised when presented in another country. This is issued by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) to verify which legal official has signed this document and the capacity in which they have done so.
As part of this process, we submit documents to the FCDO who will then compare the signature of the legal official against any signature they hold on their secure database containing signatures of legal officials they have previously verified. Do not worry, only 1 to 2% of documents are delayed. In the event that a signature is not already held on their records, they usually aim to contact this person with a request to verify their signature on the document.
We have received correspondence from the FCDO today advising they will not be able to do this for the foreseeable future.
The guidance we have received is as follows –
“We have reviewed the feasibility of our current operations today in the light of increasing volumes across the service and the resourcing available to us.
We regret, we will not be able to complete signature queries on Business applications for the foreseeable future. Any document with a signature query will be rejected and refunded, with advice issued for the document holder on how to have the signature verified.
If you have a birth, death or marriage certificate come back as a query, please ask the customer to obtain a certified copy from the General Register Office www.gro.gov.uk, this will then be issued with a GRO seal.
If you are able to seek the signature verification please ask the signatory to email from a business address to the FCDO. (We will provide the email address if a document is rejected) please ask them to reply using the following format in the subject line: Signature Verification - date application made/company application made through/name of signatory. They will need in include a scan of their original wet ink signature and/or seal, the capacity in which they have signed under, their official membership number i.e. SRA, GMC. We are unable to accept electronic signatures at this time.”
If we are processing your document and this is rejected because of a signature query then we will tell you exactly what needs to be done by the legal official who has signed your document so that we can then proceed with obtaining the apostille. In the event we are unable to obtain the apostille for your document we will refund the apostille fee.