Monday, September 5, 2011

Trial period for legalising marriage and birth certificates


In September 2011 the British Embassy in Cairo will work with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on a trial basis to make it easier for British nationals in Egypt to legalise the signature and seal of British birth and marriage certificates issued by the General Registrar’s Office. 
This trial is the first of its kind, and if successful may be adopted by British Embassies worldwide.
Why are we doing this?
We are looking to find alternative options for customers who are already in Egypt and find it difficult to access the service overseas.
Why is legalisation of GRO certificates needed?
Having accepted a job offer to work in Egypt, many British nationals bring their families with them to live here.  Local requirements need certain administrative tasks to be completed in order to obtain residency visas for your spouse and children. One of these is to get your marriage certificate and children’s birth certificates legalised. 
What does legalisation involve?
Legalisation of GRO documents is when the signature and seal of the certificate is checked against a vast UK-wide database in order to confirm the document is genuine.  That signature and seal is then formally confirmed through a process called legalisation.
The Embassy does not have access to this database, so currently the documents have to be returned to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) Legalisation Office in the UK.
So what happens during this trial process?
Instead of your returning the document to the UK, you will bring it to the Embassy.   We will scan the signature and seal on the document and send it to the FCO’s Legalisation Office, who in turn will check the UK database and confirm to us whether or not the signature / seal is genuine.  Upon confirmation, we will then legalise the signature and/or seal for you.
How will this work in practice?
Step 1
You bring the original birth or marriage certificate to the British Embassy in Cairo.  (Please visit our website for current payment and fee details –
You will need to tell us the name of the signatory on your certificate and the district in which it was issued.
Step 2
We will scan the relevant part of the document to the FCO’s Legalisation Office. 
Step 3
The Legalisation Office will check the signatures and respond to us within 5 working days.  
When the document is ready for collection we will try to either send you an e-mail or call you. Alternatively, after seven days, you can call us on 27916000.
And then what?
After we have legalised your document and you have collected it, you will need to take it to the local Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who in turn will legalise our signature and stamp.  Here are their details:
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ahmed Orabi St, Mohandessin, Giza
When can you come to see us to try this out?
We are open to the public from 1000 - 1300 Sunday through to Thursday.  Further information, including directions to the Embassy, the cost of this service and information on any closures for public holidays etc, can be found on our website,
- We cannot legalise the document if we are not able to get confirmation from London.
- We are not able to provide certified copies of these documents.
- We are not able to provide a refund.
Disclaimer: The British Embassy accepts no responsibility if the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Egypt does not notarise the certificate without the Foreign and Commonwealth Office legalisation.

British Embassy

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