Certified document translation services

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an affidavit?

An affidavit is a sworn legal statement used mainly to support certain applications or as evidence in court proceedings.

What is a decree absolute?

This is the final certificate that legally dissolves a marriage (also known as a divorce certificate).

I have been divorced twice; do I need both decrees translated?

No, only the last one provided that the name on your passport is the name that appears on your last divorce decree.

What is a deed poll?

A deed, or written document that is signed, sealed and delivered, to which there is only one party – for instance, one that declares a change of name and gives a legal proof of name change.

What is a statutory declaration?

A statutory declaration is a declaration signed by a solicitor/notary public which states that there are no impediments for the declarer to get married.

See also What is a Statutory Declaration?

Does each person need to declare a statutory declaration?

Joint declarations are not accepted. Statutory declarations are to be declared per person and must include passport numbers, address and line of employment.

How long are statutory declarations valid for?

Statutory declarations are valid for a period of three months from the date of issue.

What is a single status statutory declaration?

It is a legal declaration in which a person declares their single marital status. The SSSD is per person; it is not a joint declaration.

What is a single status affidavit?

A single status affidavit is a sworn statement that you are eligible to marry. It is also known as single status statutory declaration.

What is a certificate of no impediment?

A Certificate of No Impediment (CNI) is a certificate which confirms there are no objections to your proposed marriage. If you are getting married overseas, you may be asked to prove that you are single or that you are allowed to marry. In most cases, you will be able to obtain a CNI for this purpose.

See also Certificate of No Impediment when Marrying Abroad.

How to get a certificate of no impediment

In most cases, if you are marrying overseas and you live in the UK, you can obtain a CNI from your local register office. If you live overseas, you should contact your nearest British Embassy or Consulate who will be able to provide you with details on how to apply for a CNI.

How do I get a copy of my birth certificate?

You can obtain a copy of your birth certificate from your local register office. Alternatively, just send us the following details and we will find your birth certificate and deliver it to you:

  • Full name of the person
  • Name, telephone number and postal address of the person receiving the certificate
  • Exact date or year of the event
  • Place where the event took place
  • Name and surname of the father
  • Name, surname and maiden name of the mother
  • GRO index reference (if you have it)

What documents can the UK General Register Office issue?

The UK General Register Office can issue documents such as birth, death, marriage and Civil Partnership Certificates, Certificates of No Impediment (CNIs).

For how long are my documents valid?

Validity varies from country to country. Your travel agent will be best placed to advise you. Alternatively, please contact us and we'll be happy to help.

What is a certified translation?

A translation which is accompanied by a declaration as to its accuracy and authenticity.

What is a notarised translation?

A notarised translation is one where the translator must personally attend the offices of a public notary to swear that they are a professionally qualified translator and that their translation is, to the best of their knowledge, accurate.

What is a legalised translation?

A legalised translation is one that has been legalised at the FCO or/and any embassy or consulate.

What is a sworn translation?

A sworn translation is one that has been done and stamped by an authorised sworn translator and therefore is a legally validated document, so no notary is required. There are no sworn translators in the UK, but many countries like Spain require this type of translation for legal purposes.

What is legalisation?

Legalisation is the official confirmation that a signature, seal or stamp on a document is genuine.

Why do I need to legalise?

If you need to use a UK public document in an overseas country, then you may find that the local authorities require FCO legalisation before they will accept it. Each foreign country will have its own legalisation requirements. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office cannot advise on the specific requirements of a recipient country or state.

Who does the legalisation?

The Legalisation Office at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office is the department that carries out the legalisations of all UK documents. They attach an apostille to each document. The apostille itself is signed by an officer and bears the seal of the FCO. It confirms the authenticity of the signature or seal on your document.

The FCO is only able to legalise or provide an apostille service for UK public documents. Personal documents may therefore need to be signed in the UK by a UK practising solicitor or notary public before they can be legalised.

What is certification?

It is normally a legal requirement that a translation is certified by a competent professional to prove its accuracy and authenticity. There are several types of certification depending on where the translation is going to be used. In Spain it has to be certified by an "Intérprete Jurado" or Sworn Translator; in Cuba a notarial certificate is required; for other countries like Mexico or Dominican Republic, a certification by a professional translator member of a recognised association (like ITI or IOL) is needed. In every case, we can help.

What is an apostille?

An official certificate issued by the Foreign Office to certify the authenticity of signatures/seals on a document.

What is a notary public?

A Notary Public is a solicitor who holds an internationally recognised public office. Their job is to to prepare, attest, authenticate and certify documents (e.g. translations), for use anywhere in the world.

Notaries are appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and are subject to regulation by the Court of Faculties.

What documents can the FCO legalise?

The FCO can legalise most UK documents as long as they bear an original signature or seal from a UK public organisation or official practising in the UK. A UK document means that it originated or has been executed in the UK.

The FCO cannot attach an apostille, under any circumstances, directly on to an original document produced or executed in a foreign country. However, they can legalise a photocopy of a foreign document if it has been certified by a UK notary public or solicitor practising in the UK, or if the original is attached to a notarial certificate.

If a UK notary public or solicitor practising within the UK is signing a document, they should state clearly what exactly it is they are certifying in relation to the document. They must sign in their own name and not use a company signature. They should clearly print their name and their firm's name under the signature.

How long are the documents valid for once they have been legalised by the Cuban Consulate?

For legal purposes in Cuba, documents issued in the UK must be legalised by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and by the Cuban Consulate. If the original document is in English it must be accompanied by a Spanish translation. This translation needs to be notarised, legalised by the FCO and by the Cuban Consulate.

If I get married abroad, will my marriage be legal in the UK?

You should consult a lawyer to check as sometimes marriages conducted in other countries aren’t recognised in the UK.

What documents do I need?

Depending on your personal situation documentation requirements will vary. Please give us a call to find out what documents you need or check with your travel agent or with the hotel direct to finalise what your legal documentation requirements are before sending your documents to us as these may vary region to region and hotel to hotel.

Where do I send the documents?

The Translation & Legalisation Company
First Floor, Redwood House
Bristol Road, Keynsham
Bristol BS31 2WB

Can I send photocopies?

No, we need your original documents in order to be able to legalise them at the FCO and the relevant consulate/embassy and attach them to the notarised translations.

Do I need to take copies?

(We don’t know)Your travel agent will be best placed to advise you on any copies you might need to take with you. Any copies of the documents that have been translated and legalised or their translations will need to be legalised as well for them to be valid copies.

How should I send the documents to you?

It is strongly recommended to send the documents by special delivery.

How will you send the documents back to me?

Your documents will be dispatched by special delivery with next day delivery before 1pm.

Where do I send the documents, once you have returned them to me?

You should contact your travel agent and they will inform you whether the documentation needs to be sent to them or to the hotel/registry where the wedding is taking place.

Is there anything else I need to do after what you are going to do?

Once we have translated and legalised your documents they are ready to be submitted before the relevant authorities of the country where you are getting married.

How long will the documents be valid for?

For legal purposes in Cuba, documents will be valid for 6 months once they have been legalised by the Cuban Consulate in the UK.

How long does the whole process take?

Normally you can expect your translated and legalised documents within a maximum of 3 weeks.

How can I pay you?

You can make payment by credit or debit card over the phone or by cheque.We only accept cash from customers attending our offices in person.

Is there an extra fee for urgency?

Yes. For requests outside our standard delivery times, a surcharge will apply.

What other destinations do you legalise for?

Depending on where in the world you are getting married, you might need elements of translation and/or legalisation done before your wedding. If you are unsure if you require legalisation services for your wedding destination and need advice please contact us.

Can I register an overseas marriage in the UK when I return?

No, but you can have your marriage documents deposited with the General Register Office (GRO).

Once I receive the marriage certificate in Spanish, do I need to have it translated into English?

Yes, you will need your marriage certificate translated into English and certified by an authorized translator in order to deposit your marriage certificate in the UK or, for example, change the name on your bank account. We can provide this service for just £93 (including VAT).

Can I get a British marriage certificate if I marry abroad?

No, you will obtain a marriage certificate from the country you marry in, and this will need to be translated into English.

This isn’t compulsory, but it means your marriage certificate is kept by the GRO as an official record and you will be able to easily get copies of it in the future.

Please note: you’ll need to get your documents translated if they’re not in English.

Would I be able to change my name in my driving license, passport and bank account using the translation you will provide of my marriage certificate?

Yes, our marriage certificate translations are always certified by the translator who carried out the work. This certification states that the translator is qualified and the translation is true and accurate. This will be sufficient proof for the authorities issuing your new documents.

Can I use your translations for a Visa application at the Home Office?

Yes, all our translators hold the professional qualifications to be able to sign translations that will be used at the Home Office (e.g. for Visa applications).

Is TLC approved by the Cuban Consulate?

Although the Cuban Consulate does not have a list of approved translation suppliers, we have maintained a close working relationship with them for many years; so you can rest assure the legalisation of your documents is on the most experienced hands.

How do I know I can trust you with my original documents?

As legalisation professionals, we know how important and sensitive your documents are. This is why we attend the FCO and country authorities personally to ensure your documents are treated with the utmost care.

TLC UK is a member of several organisations that reinforce our commitment to delivering the best service; among these: The Association of Translation Companies, GWE Chamber of Commerce, ISO 90001 and the FCO Know Before You Go Campaign.

Do you deal with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as well?

As FCO business customers, we attend their offices in person every week instead of sending any documents by post.

Our experience has shown us how important is to comply with the FCO specific requirements to be able to legalise each document. For this reason, we offer a comprehensive translation and legalisation service which includes the FCO legalisation.

If you are in a real hurry, we can also take your documents the FCO Premium Service offices and speed up the legalisation process.

Other FAQs

Can I have a same sex wedding abroad?

Same sex marriages are now a reality in some countries, among these: Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Portugal, Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, South Africa and parts of the United States.

If you are planning to marry your gay/lesbian partner abroad, the first step you should take is contacting your local registry office as well as the authorities of the country or state where you wish to marry to find out the exact current regulations regarding same sex marriages.

Once you have obtained confirmation that your marriage can take place in the country you wish and it will be legal when you are back home, have a look at the documentation requirements. You may well need some translation and legalisation done and TLC UK will be pleased to help.

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