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Privacy Policy

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

Privacy notice

Date last modified: 23/09/2021

Who we are

The Legalisation Office, Consular Directorate
which is part of the
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office
King Charles Street

What data we process and why

The FCDO works in the UK and overseas to safeguard Britain’s national security, build Britain’s prosperity and support British citizens overseas. In doing so we process personal data.

The Legalisation Office is responsible for legalising UK public documents. Individuals applying to get documents legalised are required to provide personal data which is essential for the delivery of the service. This data includes your name, contact details, details of your documents and the addresses to which you want documents returned.

We use this information to deliver the legalisation service, and you may be contacted by officers from the Legalisation Office about your application. If you choose to create an account for repeat use of this service, you'll have the additional option to store payment and contact details and view recent applications.

This service may contain free-text fields in which you are invited to enter additional comments relating to the selected service. You should not enter sensitive information into these free-text fields. Sensitive information may include, but is not limited to, details of medical history, religious beliefs and financial information.

Contact details such as telephone numbers and email addresses are used to help collect payment and communicate with the customer should the need arise.

Legalisation Office staff are required to validate the authenticity of documents that UK public officials have signed. As signatories to the Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents opens in new window we are required to obtain and indefinitely store copies of signatures of UK public officials.

Legal basis for the processing

We process this data because it is necessary to do so to perform our official function, as a government department, namely legalisation of UK public documents.

What we do with your data

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office uses and retains the personal data of legalisation applicants for the purposes of the reliable and secure provision of this service. In order to process legalisation applications, personal data is stored electronically in a number of areas:

Processing of site usage information

Separately from the information entered by those using this service, we also collect site usage information which allows us to see how the service is being used in order to allow us to improve it. This information does not contain any personal data. It includes:

This helps us to improve the site by monitoring how you use it

Data processors

We use other suppliers to provide this service:

Our contracts with suppliers require them to comply with applicable data protection laws.

There may be other circumstances in which we may lawfully share your data with third parties where, for example, we are required to do so by law, by court order, or to prevent fraud or other crimes. Where we share data, however, we shall do so in accordance with applicable data protection laws.

However, we won’t share your information with any other organisations for marketing or commercial purposes, and we don’t pass on your details to other websites.

How long we keep your data

We are also required to keep, indefinitely, an electronic record of Apostilles issued, including the name of the public official on the document submitted for legalisation. This also includes their signature, the date of issue, the Apostille number, and the name of the Legalisation Officer issuing the document This is an obligation under Art.7 of the Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents. opens in new window

We retain the customer's name and payment made for three whole financial years, in addition to the current financial year, before destruction.

Your rights

In certain circumstances you have the right to:

Keeping your data secure

We take data security very seriously and we take every step to ensure that your data remains private and secure. We use SSL in order to encrypt all data transferred to and received from our server.

How to contact us

If you have any questions about anything in this notice, or if you consider that your personal data has been misused or mishandled, or if you would like to exercise any of your rights, you can contact us at:

You can also contact the Data Protection Officer at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office:

Data Protection Officer
Knowledge Management Department
Knowledge and Technology Directorate
Room K4.02
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office
King Charles Street

Tel: 020 7008 1500


You may also make a complaint to the Information Commissioner, who is an independent regulator. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Cheshire SK9 5AF
Tel: 0303 123 1113

Changes to this notice

We may modify or amend this privacy notice at our discretion at any time. When we make changes to this notice, we will amend the last modified data at the top of this page. Any modification or amendment to this privacy notice will be applied to you and your data as of that revision date. Changes to this Privacy Notice will be published on our website.