What is an Incorporation Certificate?
The Companies House is the sole authority to register all limited companies, LLPs and other subsidiaries, small and inactive companies, in the United Kingdom. All companies need to be incorporated and registered with the Companies House, after which it issues the Incorporation Certificate or Certificate of Incorporation. The Incorporation Certificate provides evidence that all requirements of the Companies Act 2006 have been fulfilled for registration, and that the company is duly registered as per this act. The Incorporation Certificate contains the following details:
- Company name and date of incorporation
- Registration number
- Address of headquarters
- Limited or unlimited company. If the company is limited, you need to state whether it is limited by guarantee or shares
- Private or public company
- Details of registration office and where they are for example: England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland
- Issuing registrar
- Legislation of the Incorporation (Companies Act 2006)
- Official seal of the UK Companies House
- Royal Coat of Arms
This is something similar to a company’s birth certificate, evidence that it has been legally incorporated and will fulfil all the requirements under the Companies Act 2006, such as filing of annual financial statements and annual company returns, which will all be available as public records. The certificate has to be signed by the registrar and authenticated with the official seal of the registrar.
The incorporation certificate is an important document for various purposes. It determines the date of a company’s first annual return statement or confirmation statement, which is usually filed after 12 months from the date of incorporation. Banks require it, along with memorandum and articles of association, to allow companies to open business bank accounts.
It is also important for international business transactions, such as contract negotiations with foreign companies, issuing of shares in foreign exchange markets, participation in legal proceedings in courts abroad, buying of property or land outside the UK and so on. This is why legalisation of the incorporation certificate document is often a necessity for company representatives applying for a business visit visa to travel abroad.
Since the UK is a member of the 1961 Hague Apostille Convention, incorporation certificates need to only be issued with an apostille stamp in order to be recognised by other member nations of this convention. The Hague Convention abolished the requirement of consular legalisation for public documents for use between signatory countries.
The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London is the sole authority to issue this apostille stamp in the UK. Please note that the FCO will only issue the apostille seal if the Incorporation Certificate has been signed by an official of the UK Companies House or the registrar. If such signatures are missing, the certificate will have to be signed and attested by a notary public or solicitor, registered with the UK FCO.
However, if the destination country is not a member of the 1961 Hague Convention, the certificate will need further verification and attestation by the respective Embassy in London.
Please see the process as below that we follow:
Send Us the
We quality check
The document is
solicitor certified and then
Apostilled 24 hours.
If required, we take the
document to the required
embassy for legalisation
Back to you Domestically
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The incorporation certificate is a vital document that authenticates a company’s existence and operations in the UK. It is issued by the UK Companies House, either in electronic or print form (whichever is applied for) and provides important information concerning a corporate entity, such as its name, registration number, registered office, official seal of the registrar and the nature of the organisation (limited or LLP).
Incorporation certificate document legalisation has to be completed whenever the certificate has to be used outside the UK for official purposes. This will include registration of a company in foreign jurisdictions, purchase of property abroad, foreign legal proceedings, negotiation of contractual agreements, filing of patents and trademarks in foreign jurisdictions and various other instances. In that case, the incorporation certificate has to be issued with an apostille certificate by the FCO office in London. The document might need to be attested by a UK notary public or solicitor prior to that. Further, if the destination county does not belong to the 1961 Hague Convention, the document has to be submitted for embassy legalisation, after it receives the apostille certificate.
Legalisation.org.uk has wide experience with document legalisation for countries across the world. Our agents will handle your documents with utmost safety and discretion, and submit them to the concerned offices for stamping. After the process is duly completed, we will ensure that your documents are returned to you safely. Our experts can also guide you through various other types of document legalisation, for use in countries across the world.
We offer translation services as well, since certain embassies require documents to be translated to their official language before legalisation. For our services, we charge a fee of £50.00 + VAT, which includes our in-house solicitor’s fee. This is added to various consular fees and FCO service charges, applicable for document legalisation.
Email us at email@example.com with all your legalisation requirements. You can also call us at 0845 224 9482 for any queries. You can also submit your details in our contact form, and one of our representatives will get back to you quickly.
The Most Common Documents We Legalise
Standard Personal Documents
Corporate Business Documents
Frequently Asked Questions
The first step in the legalisation of the incorporation certificate document is to approach the FCO for the apostille stamp. The document will have to be attested by an accredited notary public or solicitor in the UK, beforehand, if it does not carry the registrar’s seal or is not signed by an official of the UK Companies House.
Legalisations.org.uk can take care of the entire process on your behalf. We work with government and consular officials, solicitors and regulatory bodies to ensure that your documents are legalised within the shortest possible time. We complete the incorporation certificate apostille process through the following steps:
Step 1: Tell us about your document legalisation requirements. You can send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 0845 224 9482. Our team will guide you through the further steps and inform you about the fees and turnaround time.
Step 2: Send the certificate and any other documents to us, either personally by visiting our office or through courier. UK citizens residing abroad can send their documents to us via DHL or UPS international delivery.
Step 3: We will submit the documents to our in-house solicitor for verification, ratification and attestation, where needed.
Step 4: The documents will then be taken to the legalisation office of the FCO in Milton Keynes for the apostille certificate. Our agents will collect the documents after the process has been completed.
Step 5: Your incorporation certificate will be delivered to you safely after the apostille, either in-person at our office or through courier. We will keep you updated regarding the status of your document throughout the process.
Legalisations.org.uk offers one of the most competitive rates for document legalisation, along with the fastest turnaround time.
The FCO office charges a legalisation fee of £75.00 per document. Our service fee is £105.00 + VAT for the standard package and £135.00 + VAT for the express package. The standard package ensures delivery within 6 business days, and the express package enables that within 2 business days.
The service charge is inclusive of our in-house solicitor’s fee, for document notarisation prior to the FCO apostille certification. A postage special delivery fee might be also applicable.
You can submit the documents personally at our office in London, or you can send them through courier or Royal Mail special delivery services to our office address. We will send back the incorporation certificate document after legalisation through the same route.
Yes, you can send us documents from anywhere in the world, for legalisation in the UK. Courier the documents to our office address through DHL or UPS international delivery services. We will send these documents back to you through the same means; after legalisation.
Kindly send us a scanned copy of the incorporation certificate beforehand, so that we can verify it with the original document, upon receipt. This will save time and reduce any chances of miscommunication. We would also recommend that you check whether your document requires embassy legalisation. If your destination country is not a member of the 1961 Hague Convention, the incorporation certificate will need to be submitted to the respective embassy in London, after receiving the apostille certificate.
The UK is a member of the 1961 Hague Apostille Convention, which means that UK-issued public documents that need to be used abroad will require an apostille stamp, issued by the FCO. The 1961 convention abolished the requirement for further consular legalisation of documents to be used across signatory countries.
The London FCO office is the designated authority to issue apostille certification to documents intended for foreign use. Please note that the FCO will issue an apostille certificate only if the document has been issued by a recognised authority. Thus, if your incorporation certificate does not bear the seal of the registrar or the UK Companies House, it will have to be attested by a Notary Public or a Solicitor in the UK.
For countries that do not belong to the 1961 Hague Convention, incorporation certificate document legalisation will only be complete after consular legalisation.
Different nations have different designs for the apostille stamp. In the UK, the apostille certificate is a 15cm2 or A5-sized certificate that is permanently glued to the reverse of the original document. This certificate contains 10 sub-sections:
- Country: The United Kingdom; which is the issuing nation
- Has been signed by: Solicitor or UK FCO official
- Acting in the capacity of: The official’s capacity as an authorised signatory
- Bears the seal/stamp of: Can be blank
- At London; the place of issuance
- The date of issue
- By Her Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
- Number: The number of apostille registration
- Seal/stamp: The red embossed apostille seal is attached here
- Signature: The issuing officer will put their signature here.
Further, on the top of the certificate, a red seal, bearing the crest of the UK Government, will be affixed to the document through an embossing mechanism. This embossed seal is the apostille seal or the apostille stamp. The figure below is a representation of the UK-issued apostille certificate: