Guidance on Original or Copy Document UseMike Harris
At the Embassy Legalisation service we process thousands of documents of year. They range from Powers of Attorney to Birth Certificates and everything in between. A lot of the orders will arrive without any prior contact with the customer. Our order form provides all of the information you will need to apply for an Apostille on a standard document. But when a client does contact us before sending the documents, there is one question we are nearly always asked. “Do I have to send my original document or can you process a copy?” And the answer is normally “that depends”.
The UK government has strict rules on the processing of documents that we must adhere to. Any document issued by a Register Office must be the original or an official copy. Some documents don’t allow copies to be made and others don’t allow the originals to be amended. However, if you have an academic certificate, the answer really is “that depends”. It depends on the people offering you the job overseas. The organisation sponsoring your Visa, the agents helping you get that position. Whoever you need to show the document to are the ones who should tell you is you need to get the original document legalised or if a copy will be accepted.
We are allowed to process academic certificates and transcripts as either copies or originals. The advantage of certifying a copy is that your original doesn’t get damaged and can’t get lost by the person you are submitting the document to. However, if your employer or agency insists on the original you can get replacement versions from your university. This will usually be at a small cost and with a short waiting period.
Organisations in certain countries will usually ask for the originals due to the procedures they have in place and cannot normally be persuaded otherwise. For example, in our experience Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador want originals in the majority of all applications. Conversely, South Korea, Poland and Russia don’t reject applications because they have a certificated copy certificate. However, our advice should be read as guidance and a definitive answer can only be given by the people who want to see the document.
No matter where in the world you are using your certificate, we are here to help. Please contact the embassy legalisation service for information and support.