Process of Legalising Document for Company Registration in UK

Starting a company in the UK is an exciting venture, but it comes with a string of legal obligations. One of the crucial steps is the legalisation of documents, which confirms their authenticity and is essential for company registration. This article will guide you through the process of legalising documents for company registration in the UK, ensuring you have all the information you need to get started.

Understanding Document Legalisation

Before diving into the legalisation process, it’s important to understand what document legalisation means. Essentially, legalisation is the process of certifying a document so that it will be recognised and accepted in another country. For UK company registration, this is a critical step if the documents originate from outside the UK.

Why is Document Legalisation Needed?

Document legalisation is necessary to prevent fraud and to prove the legitimacy of a document. It ensures that public officials in the UK recognise the signature, seal, or stamp on documents from other countries as genuine.

The UK Company Registration Process

Registering a company in the UK is a process that involves several steps, and legalising documents is one of them. Here’s a brief overview of the UK company registration process:

Choosing a Company Name

Your company name is your brand’s identity, and it must be unique and compliant with certain naming rules.

Deciding on Company Structure

Determine whether your company will be a sole proprietorship, a partnership, or a limited company, as this will affect the registration process.

Preparing Necessary Documents

For the registration, you’ll need to prepare documents such as a Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association, among others.

Submitting Your Application

Once everything is in order, you can submit your application to Companies House, the UK’s registrar of companies.

Step-by-Step Guide to Legalising document for Company registration

Legal document with official seal

The following steps outline the legalisation process for documents needed for company registration in the UK.

Step 1: Verify Which Documents Need Legalisation

Before you begin, it’s important to identify which documents require legalisation. Typically, these include incorporation documents, bank statements, and documents of identity.

Step 2: Get the Documents Notarised

If the documents are from outside the UK, they may need to be notarised by a notary public in the country of origin.

Step 3: Obtain an Apostille Certificate

The next step is to get an Apostille Certificate. This is a form of authentication issued to documents for use in countries that participate in the Hague Convention of 1961.

Step 4: Legalisation by the UK Legalisation Office

For documents from countries not part of the Hague Convention, you will need to get your documents legalised by the UK Legalisation Office. The process might require additional verification by the relevant consulate or embassy.

Step 5: Translating Documents (If Necessary)

If your documents are not in English, you will need to have them officially translated and the translations legalised.

Step 6: Submit the Legalised Documents for Registration

Once legalised, the documents are ready to be submitted as part of your company registration application.

Common Challenges in Document Legalisation

Legalising documents can be a complex process, and it’s common to encounter challenges such as:

Understanding Country-Specific Requirements

Different countries have different requirements for document legalisation. It’s essential to understand these before starting the process.

Dealing with Bureaucracy

The legalisation process can involve a lot of bureaucracy, which can be time-consuming and frustrating.


Managing Timelines

Legalising documents can take time, so it’s important to factor this into your company registration timeline.

Best Practices for Efficient Document Legalisation

Start Early

Begin the legalisation process well in advance of your intended company registration date to allow for any unexpected delays.

Use Professional Services

Consider employing the services of a professional company that specialises in document legalisation to simplify the process.

Keep Records

Keep detailed records and copies of all legalised documents in case they are needed in the future.

Verify Everything

Double-check all details, seals, and signatures before submitting documents for registration to avoid any issues that may arise from errors.

Electronic Filing and Digital Legalisation

With advancements in technology, the UK government has introduced electronic filing systems and digital legalisation processes, making it easier and faster to legalise documents for company registration.

The Benefits of Electronic Filing

Speed: Electronic filing can significantly reduce the time it takes to process documents.

Convenience: Submit documents online without the need for physical visits to government offices.

Security: Digital submissions reduce the risk of documents being lost or damaged.

How Digital Legalisation Works

The digital legalisation process involves verifying electronic documents or digital copies of physical documents. This process is gradually being adopted and may not be available for all document types or countries.


Legalising documents for company registration in the UK is an essential process that ensures your business complies with legal standards. By understanding the steps involved, planning ahead, and possibly seeking professional help, you can navigate the process with confidence.