Notarising University Certificates

Martin Astle, Notary at Astle Paterson discusses the common issues encountered by Notaries when Notarising University certificates for their use abroad.

Martin said “We are unusual at Astle Paterson – we have two Notaries, Jean Paterson and me.

As Notaries Jean and I are frequently asked to certify copies of University Degree Certificates as being true copies of the originals.  This can lead to a difficulty and a misunderstanding.

If we are to authenticate a University Degree Certificate for use abroad the process is as follows.

First, we need your written authority addressed to University to supply us with information.

Secondly, we ask the University to confirm the authenticity of the Degree Certificate.  This arises because a number of Degree Certificates have been forged.

Thirdly, once the University confirms the authenticity of the Degree Certificate we Notarise a photocopy.  Kindly note it takes between two to three weeks from requesting authenticity to receiving it.

Where the Certificate is destined for Northern America the Notarisation should generally be sufficient.

Where the Certificate is for use in in Europe, Australia and New Zealand the document – as Notarised – will almost certainly need an Apostille under the Hague Convention issued by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.  An Apostille is a Certificate of Authenticity issued by that office.

Where the Certificate is for use in the Middle East or South America, the document will need to be Notarised, with an Apostille and then Legalised by the Embassy of the Country concerned.   United Arab Emirates and Dubai share this arrangement.”

Martin continued “The cost will vary according to what is to be done.  For example, Legalisation fee of the UAE/Dubai Embassy is £30 for a private document but £400 for a commercial document.

In respect of timing; if the document needs to be Notarised this can be done within 24 hours of our receiving notification of authenticity from the University.

If it needs to be Notarised with Apostille then it should take three or four working days from the time you hand the document to us and we receive the University’s confirmation of authenticity.

If the document needs Notarisation with Apostille and Legalisation by an Embassy (other than the Chinese Embassy) then the timescale is approximately 9 days.   The Chinese Embassy will take longer.”

Finally, please remember that time does not start to run until the University concerned has confirmed the authenticity of the Certificate.”

Should you require the services of a Notary then please contact Astle Paterson on 01283 531366 or by email at

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