Interested in certifying a document? Such as getting a certified copy of a passport, power of attorney, or marriage certificate?
MSC Notaries certify documents in London to ensure your documents are fit to use for personal or business purposes. If you require certified copies of an important personal or business document, for a small fee we are able to certify a document so it’s ready for use.
Find out more about how to get a document certified and the cost of certifying documents in London with our team of UK solicitors below.
Why is certification of documents needed?
Document certification is the process of validating a copy of a document to prevent fraud. Certifying documents means you can provide a certified true copy of your passport or important personal documents, without having to hand over your original. You wouldn’t want to risk losing an original copy of your will, birth or marriage certificate for example.
A certified document means that a professional has checked that it is the same as your original copy of the document. You may need a certified copy of a document for personal or commercial reasons, for example, to apply for a mortgage, bank account, or a job abroad.
What does getting documents certified involve?
There are several different types of certification depending on the document and what actually needs to be certified.
1. Getting a signature certified on an original document
You may have a document which you need to sign, on which your signature needs to be ‘certified.’ In this instance, you need to sign the document in front of a person who can verify your identity and certify that you signed the document in front of them.
2. Getting a certified true copy of an original document
Alternatively, you may have an original document, such as a passport, driving licence, power of attorney, birth or marriage certificate, utility bill or degree certificate; of which you need to provide a ‘certified’ copy. In this instance, you need to take the original document and a copy of it to a person who can certify that the copy is a true copy of the original. Then you don’t have to hand over your original.
3. Getting a certification that a document is authentic
Another possibility is that you have an original document and you need someone to certify that the information on that document is true or that the document is authentic. This could apply to degree certificates, police certificates, employment contracts or letters, GP letters or reports, accounts, P60s and pension letters. You may need to get an original document certified for an application.
4. Notarial certification for use of documents abroad
If you need a document certified for use abroad, you will need to obtain a notarial certification from a licensed notary public in the UK. Notaries are internationally recognised so having a document certified by a notary is the highest degree of certification you can obtain in many countries. For this type of certification, the notary will certify a copy of a document by attaching a notarial certificate to it or writing on the photocopy with a seal impression that is unique to their notary.
Who can certify documents in London and the UK?
Different countries and end-users have different requirements for getting documents certified and who can carry this out. As a general rule, if the document is to be used in the UK, then often certification by a UK registered solicitor is sufficient. Alternatively, the document can be certified by the person or organisation who issued it, for example, if it is a bank statement you could ask the bank to certify it was a copy they printed.
Occasionally, certification by an accountant, doctor, or even by the Post Office is also acceptable, but you should always check with the end-user of the documents before choosing these options if a list of acceptable third parties or certifiers is not provided.
Different professions will charge varying prices for getting documents certified by them. At MSC Notaries, we offer certification services for a range of documents at a highly competitive price for London. If your document is to be used abroad, it will often require certification by a notary, rather than by a solicitor or accountant, a service that can also be provided.
Notaries are different from solicitors in that they are specialised in the preparation, authentication, and certification of documents to be used abroad. If you need to send a certified copy of a passport or marriage certificate abroad, we can help with the process.
What does it cost to certify documents with a solicitor?
The costs vary depending on the document certification that is required and who you are asking to provide the certification. Costs vary based on several factors including the expertise of the organisation certifying your document, where they are based, how much time is involved in the process and whether the document is to be used in the UK or abroad. If you intend to use the documents in the UK only and not abroad, then certification by a solicitor, accountant or doctor is likely to be cheaper than certification by a notary public.
As an indication, our fee to notarise a copy of a utility bill, bank statement or driving licence is normally £30 + VAT, whilst a copy of the ID page of a passport would be £40 + VAT. Where we are certifying signatures on a document, fees start from £60 + VAT and where we are verifying the authenticity of an original document like a degree certificate, prices normally start from £60 + VAT.
How to get a certified copy of a document
If you need a copy of an original document certified as a true copy, then you will need to provide the certifier with the original document and a copy of it so that they can compare the two. Alternatively, you may need to provide the certifier with the original document, who will then photocopy it or obtain another copy and certify this. This could apply to getting a certified copy of a passport or marriage certificate. The exact process required to get a document certified will again depend on the document type and purpose of use.
If you need your signature on a document certified, you must sign the document in front of the person who will be certifying your signature. You must also provide an original photographic ID (we usually insist on a passport or a full UK driving licence).
If you need an original document certified as authentic, you need to provide the certifier with the original document. They can then carry out necessary checks to verify the authenticity of the document. In some cases, this can involve contacting the document issuer.
How can MSC Notaries help with certifying documents?
Certification of documents is often important if you are sending documents abroad. We can help with getting documents certified, alongside offering a variety of notary services such as witnessing signatures, and further legalisation and apostille services.
We can certify your documents and provide the highest level of notarial certification at our London office. We are able to certify a variety of documents including passports, driving licences, utility bills and bank statements, to name a few. If you are planning to send a certified document to a country outside the Commonwealth, or to a country outside the Hague Convention, you need a few extra steps before it’s ready to be sent abroad.
It can save you time and stress to do the whole certification, notarisation and legalisation process with MSC Notaries.
What happens if you don’t have a copy of the original document?
In the instance that you don’t have the original document that you need to obtain a certified copy of, certification can usually still be completed if you have evidence of the document’s source.
Can you get your documents certified from outside the UK?
If you are not living in or based in the UK but need your documents certified here, in some instances you will be able to have them certified by post or electronically. You can post your documents or scan them and send them digitally for some purposes, where we will be able to verify the authenticity of the document with the issuer and provide certified copies back to you.
What is the best type of document certification to get?
Notarial certification of your documents, like the service that we provide at MSC Notaries, is the highest level you can obtain and the type you will need to certify them for use abroad. A notary public is a qualified professional who has undergone in-depth training on the certification process and has a unique seal to prove this, that they will attach or stamp onto your document and these seals are recognised in many countries worldwide.
How can translated documents be certified?
If your document was not in the current language originally, you will need to have the translation certified by the professional who carried this out before it can be certified further by a notary. For example, the translation professional must write on the document that the translated copy is true and accurate, including the date of translation, their full name, occupation and contact details.
It can be easier to have your documents translated and certified by the same company in one go, which is why at MSC Notaries we offer professional translation services in conjunction with our certification and notary services where needed. This way, you can translate and legalise all your documents in one without having to deal with multiple companies.
How long does it take to certify documents?
The timeframe of document certification will depend on the volume of documents you need assistance with, as well as whether you are based in London or are looking for a remote or mobile service. If you are local and able to pop into one of our London or Harrow offices with an appointment, document certification can take no time at all.