We recently reported two key changes to the legalisation services offered by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (“FCO”). These changes have implications for most notary clients seeking an Apostille. Often clients and foreign lawyers refer to this as Apostillisation. Many of our London notary clients asked for further advice and guidance regarding the FCO’s postal application service. This article sets out the implications for notary public clients using the FCO’s legalisation office in Milton Keynes to obtain an Apostille.
FCO postal service
The FCO has indicated that approximately 60% of customers already submit their applications for legalisation via post. For these customers the new legalisation procedure is intended to provide benefits as the target turn around time for “straight forward applications” is planned to be 24 hours rather than the previous 48 hours. However the experience of a number of our notary clients is that this reduced service time for obtaining Apostilles has not been consistently maintained since introduction at the beginning of April 2011.
FCO Public Counter
As approximately 30% of customers travelled in person to submit their applications via the Legalisation public counter these customers have had this service removed from them. The alternative for these customers is to use a legalisation agent such as M D Pryke Notary Public LLP. Registered legalisation agents still have a business counter service available to them so that documents can be delivered, legalised and collected within the same day.
FCO Premium Service
This service remains unaffected. This service is only open to registered businesses. Therefore individuals looking to take advantage of this efficient service should engage the services of a legalisation agent such as London Notary Public Matthew Pryke.
In addition to increasing the legalisation fees the FCO are also encouraging on-line payments as a more convenient and cost-effective method. Notary clients applying to the Milton Keynes office will still be able to pay by bankers’ draft, postal order and business cheques. However if the amounts are incorrect or a document within a batch of documents are not entirely correct then the whole matter will be rejected by the FCO and returned to the client.
Given the changes which have been introduced by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office many more notary clients are taking advantage of the cost effective legalisation services offered by London notaries. The ability for Notary Public practices to provide certainty regarding timings and cost is not only appealing to most clients but absolutely essential.
For further details of the legalisation and notarial services offered by London Notary Public practice M D Pryke Notary Public LLP or for further information on how to get documents legalised please refer to the website at www.mdpryke-notary.com.