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Who Can Certify a Document in the UK?

Certifying a document is an essential step in ensuring its authenticity and reliability. Whether you’re applying for a job, submitting legal paperwork, or studying abroad, having your documents certified can make all the difference. But who can certify a document in the UK?

In this blog post, we will explore the ins and outs of document certification, including what types of documents can be certified and why it’s important. So let’s dive in and discover who holds the power to give your documents that much-needed stamp of approval!

What Type of Document Can Be Certified?

What Type of Document Can Be Certified?

Certifying a document involves obtaining a professional validation of its authenticity, typically through the signature and date of a qualified individual, such as a solicitor. This process is crucial when submitting documents for various purposes, such as opening a bank account or applying for a mortgage.

The certification assures the receiving party that the copies presented are accurate representations of the original documents, instilling confidence in the reliability and integrity of the information being provided. This practice helps institutions ensure the legitimacy of the documents they receive, thereby contributing to a secure and trustworthy verification process in various formal transactions.

Examples of documents eligible for certification include:

  • Passports
  • Photocard driving licenses
  • Correspondence from a government department
  • Bank/building society or credit card statements
  • Gas, electricity, or council tax bills
  • Letters from a hospital/doctor

Why It is Important to Certify a Document in the UK?

A certified copy holds significant legal weight as it is a document authenticated by an individual with the legal authority to affirm its accuracy and authenticity in relation to the original. This verification process ensures that the copy is a true and precise reproduction of the original document. In the context of legal proceedings, certified copies play a crucial role in providing admissible evidence.

Presenting original documents in court poses inherent risks, such as the possibility of loss, damage, or tampering. Certified copies serve as reliable alternatives, offering a safeguard against potential complications and reinforcing the integrity of the legal process by providing a verifiable and secure means of presenting essential documentation.

Who Can Certify a Document in the UK?

Who Can Certify a Document in the UK?

When a document needs to be certified, it means that a reputable and trustworthy individual, typically someone considered to be of good standing in the community, must confirm the authenticity of the document. This process is important for various official purposes, such as legal matters or official submissions. The certification is a way to ensure that the information presented in the document is accurate and has been verified by a reliable source.

  1. Bank or Building Society Official: A professional working in a financial institution, often someone in an authoritative position
  2. Councillor: A local government representative who is elected to serve the community
  3. Minister of Religion: A religious leader officiates ceremonies and provides spiritual guidance
  4. Dentist: A licensed dental professional who can certify documents related to personal identification
  5. Chartered Accountant: A certified professional accountant with a recognized designation
  6. Solicitor or Notary: A legal professional authorized to certify legal documents
  7. Teacher or Lecturer: An educator working in an accredited institution

Restrictions on Certifiers:

  • Not Related to You: The certifier should not have a familial relationship with you to maintain impartiality
  • Not Living at the Same Address: Avoid individuals residing in the same place as you to prevent potential conflicts of interest
  • Not in a Relationship with You: Individuals with a personal relationship with you should not certify the document to maintain objectivity

Additional Considerations:

  • Check with the Organization: It’s crucial to verify with the specific organization or institution requiring the certified document, as they may have their own set of rules and preferences regarding who can certify.
  • By adhering to these guidelines, the certification process aims to establish the credibility of the document and ensure that it can be trusted for its intended purpose.

How to Certify a Document?

Certifying a document in the UK involves following certain procedures to ensure its authenticity and validity. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to certify a document:

  • Request Certification: Approach a person who is authorized to certify documents. This could be someone like a notary public, a lawyer, or another professional with the legal authority to verify documents.
  • Certification Statement: The certifier needs to write a statement on the photocopy. The statement typically reads: “Certified to be a true copy of the original seen by me.” This indicates that the certifier has personally compared the photocopy with the original document and can confirm that they match.
  • Signature and Date: The certifier must sign and date the certification statement. This adds a timestamp to the verification, indicating when the certification was made.
  • Printed Name: The certifier should print their name under their signature. This adds clarity to the identity of the person providing the certification.
  • Occupation, Address, and Telephone Number: The certifier needs to include additional information such as their occupation, address, and telephone number. This information helps in identifying and contacting the certifier if needed.
  • Possible Fee: The person certifying the document may charge a fee for their services. This is common, especially if the certifier is a professional providing a formal and legally recognized certification.

Certifying a Translation

Certifying a Translation

When you need to certify a translation for a document that is not in English or Welsh, it is essential to follow a specific procedure. You can achieve this by requesting the translation company to provide written confirmation on the translated document. This written confirmation should include the following information:

  1. Statement of Accuracy: The translation company should affirm that the translated document is a ‘true and accurate translation of the original document.’ This statement emphasizes the fidelity of the translation, ensuring that the content accurately reflects the information in the original document.
  2. Date of Translation: The confirmation should include the date when the translation was completed. This information is crucial for establishing the timeline of the translation process and helps in maintaining the relevance and timeliness of the certified translation.
  3. Translator’s or Company’s Information: Include the full name and contact details of either the individual translator who worked on the translation or a representative of the translation company. This information serves to identify and contact the responsible party in case there are any questions or additional verification is needed.

How Do Non-UK Residents Apply for Document Certificates in the UK?

The UK maintains a network of embassies and consulates worldwide, offering a range of services to its citizens, such as emergency passport issuance/renewal, tax filing, and notarization of documents. For a comprehensive list of notarial and documentary services available in each country, please refer to their consular service section on the official website.

Typically, during your appointment, you will be required to submit necessary documents and make the relevant payments. While specific requirements may vary based on your location, proof of address and identity is commonly requested.

Alternatively, you can streamline the entire process by utilizing our UK notary and certification services for a seamless experience. We are capable of witnessing and authenticating various legal documents, certificates, and declarations.

What if You Don’t Have the Original Document to Complete the Certification?

What if You Don’t Have the Original Document to Complete the Certification?

If you don’t possess the original document, it is still possible to obtain certification by presenting proof of the document’s source to the certifier.

For instance, if you wish to certify a bank statement, you must demonstrate the steps involved in accessing the bank’s application, website, or portal and subsequently downloading the PDF file of the statement. If the document was emailed to you, you must exhibit the original email containing the attached file.

It’s important to be aware that the certifier might additionally reach out to the document issuer to validate and confirm that the document was indeed originally issued by them.


When it comes to who can certify a document in the UK, there are several individuals and parties authorized to do so. These include solicitors, notaries public, doctors, teachers, and certain government officials. It’s important to check with the specific organization or institution requesting the certified document for their requirements.

By understanding who can certify a document in the UK and following proper procedures for certification processes, you can have peace of mind knowing that your documents hold legal weight and meet necessary criteria wherever they are needed.


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