From 1 April 2011 the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Legalisation Office will only accept applications received by post and will process all straightforward applications within 24 hours (excluding postal times).

A majority of customers already send their applications by post – they will see the turnaround time halved. A third of customers come to the office in person – they will now need to submit their applications by post.

Julian Braithwaite, Director of Consular Services said: “We constantly look to improve the services we offer and make them more efficient. A postal only service will halve the turn-around time for the vast majority of our customers.”

Legalisation is the official confirmation that the signature, stamp or seal on a UK document is genuine. The legalisation does not certify the authenticity of a document or give Foreign and Commonwealth Office approval of its content. Legalisation is usually required by foreign authorities before they will allow a UK document to be used for official purposes in their country.

Source: UK Foreign Office