certifying documents in the UK

Table of Contents

What type of document can be certified?

A certified document is one that has been signed by a professional or an authorized person to confirm that it is a “true copy” of an original document. The type of documents that can be certified include:

  • Personal identity documents (e.g., passport, photocard driving license, etc.)
  • Letters from a government department
  • Letters from a hospital/doctor
  • Statements from bank/building society
  • Credit card statements
  • Bills such as gas, electricity, or council tax

Individuals or parties that can certify a document in the UK

To have your document certified, you must first understand who can certify these documents.

Though government agencies/officials generally hold the highest authority when it comes to verifying your document, they’re not the only legal bodies in charge of notary commissions. There are also separate consortiums/cohorts that take on this role within their own professional circles.

For example, several entertainment forms in the UK require a “Premises License” that’s been verified by a Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) who holds a Personal License. But unless you’re among these individuals, you’ll likely be making trips to the embassy or consulate most of the time.

Finally, the person that you ask to certify your documents MUST NOT be:

  • Related to you
  • Living at the same address as you
  • In a relationship with you

Also, remember to check with the organization that requires you to submit the certified document to see if there are any requirements or restrictions on who can certify it.

How to get a certified document

You’ll need to provide the copy and original document and ask the person to certify the copy. The procedure may vary depending on your type of document, we’ve summarized a list of common

Documents without photo

When certifying the document without a photograph, such as a passport, driving license, or ID card, the certifier must:

  • Write ‘Certified to be a true copy of the original seen by me’ on the document
  • Sign and date the document
  • Print the name of the certifier under the signature
  • Provide information such as occupation (e.g., role and position), address, and phone number

Document with photo

For documents with photos, the certifier will do the following:

  • Write ‘Certified to be a true copy of the original seen by me’ on the document
  • Write the following phrase: ‘I confirm that this is an accurate copy of the original and the photo is a true likeness of the person concerned’ on the document
  • Print the name of the certifier under the signature
  • Provide information such as occupation (e.g., role and position), address, and phone number


The certifier that you contact for the certification should do the following:

  • Write their names in block capitals
  • Write or stamp the names of their company

Translated documents

If you need to certify a translated document that is not written in English or Welsh, ask the translation company to confirm in writing on the translation the following:

  • the translated document is a ‘true and accurate translation of the original document’
  • the date of the translation
  • the full name and contact details of the translator/representative of the translation firm

What if you don’t have the original document to complete the certification?

If you do not have the original document with you, the documents can still be certified if you can provide evidence of the source of the document to the certifier.

For example, if you need to certify a bank statement bill, you will need to show the certifier the process of logging in to the application, website, or portal of the bank and then downloading the PDF file of the document. In the case that the document was issued to you via email, you will need to show the original email where the file is attached.

Note that the certifier may then also need to contact the issuer of the document to confirm and verify that the document was issued by them originally.

How do non-UK residents apply for document certificates in the UK?

The UK maintains a multilateral network of embassies and consulates to accommodate its citizens with a variety of services including emergency passport issuance/renewal, tax filing, and documents notarization, among others. For an exhaustive list of notarial and documentary services in each country, please visit their consular service section here.

You’d generally be asked to provide some required documents along with payment for any fees in your appointment. Though the specifics may vary depending on where you’re from, the denominator is usually a proof of address and identity.

Alternatively, you can expedite the entire process with our UK notary and certification services for a hassle-free time. We can witness and authenticate a wide variety of legal documents, certificates, and declarations. Whether you need to retrieve a Certificate of Good Standing (CGS) or register a name for your newly established business, drop us a line at service@bbcincorp.com to get it done fast.


During the preparation for any applications, document certification is really critical. Getting to know the process of certifying documents in the UK, who can certify it, and how to get it done is essential.

If you need further assistance or are not sure how to certify and prepare documents, BBCIncorp can help you. Simply drop a message or chat with our consultant for practical advice.

Disclaimer: While BBCIncorp strives to make the information on this website as timely and accurate as possible, the information itself is for reference purposes only. You should not substitute the information provided in this article for competent legal advice. Feel free to contact BBCIncorp’s customer services for advice on your specific cases.

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