Processing Times Explained

“How quickly can my order be processed?” is possibly the most common question we are asked. We have created this article to provide an indication of our expected processing times for each service. Every effort is made to process all orders as fast as possible.

The Apostille Service

The apostille service is effectively completed overnight for eligible* orders received before 11 am on a given working day. Each day we present documents to the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and they are held there overnight whilst the signature checks are carried out. We then collect the documents the following working day and dispatch orders, where appropriate, the same afternoon.

*Not all documents can be submitted to the FCO immediately. We may need to discuss any queries we have with the order before proceeding. If a document is incorrectly certified, for example, or if we require payment we would aim to contact you at the earliest opportunity to discuss this.

If a document is received after 11 am on a given working day it will be submitted to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office the following working day.

Most apostille orders are completed in approximately 1-2 working days. Nonetheless, part of the apostille process involves authenticating the identifiable and verifiable UK stamp or signature on a document. If the legal official who has signed a document has not been through the apostille process before they will be contacted with a request to verify their signature on the document and this can delay the order. Delays relating to signature queries affect, on average, fewer than 5% of orders.

Embassy Attestation

Embassy attestation , when required, often accounts for the majority of the processing time. The typical processing time varies from embassy to embassy. This usually ranges from 5 to 10 working days as an average across all of the embassies we currently work with. Please contact us for a more accurate time frame for a specific embassy.

Return Delivery

Once we have successfully completed your order we can dispatch your important documents to any address in the world. We offer secure, tracked courier options as well as basic economy options both domestically and internationally. Within the UK we offer First Class Post or a next working day courier service. Internationally we offer airmail or DHL.

First Class Post - Royal Mail should deliver your documents within 2-3 working days. This may not be suitable for urgent orders and there is no tracking available with this option.

UK Courier - Items sent via our UK courier service will be delivered the next working day after dispatch.

Airmail - International airmail takes typically 5-10 working days within Europe and approximately 2-4 weeks outside of Europe. This is not recommended for urgent orders.

DHL - DHL is the fastest and most secure delivery option available for international shipments. Most deliveries are completed in just 1-2 working days to most locations.

*The delivery times quoted are estimates. Actual delivery times may vary depending on access to remote areas, the location of the address, regional differences in public holidays and unforeseen delays.

The vast majority of apostille orders are completed in 1-2 working days and many embassy orders are completed in approximately 6-7 working days. Every effort is made to process all orders as fast as possible. Nevertheless, there are some factors outside of our control and, with this in mind, we are unable to guarantee processing times. For this reason, we advise clients to place orders well in advance of when the documents are needed where possible.

About the Author

The Apostille Service are pleased to provide advice on a wide range of document legalisation matters. Our team of advisors contribute to the blog.