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UK legalises the use of electronic documents

On Friday the Government announced that the UK Legalisation Office will now be able to receive digital documents and issue electronic ‘e-Apostille’ certificates. These changes will enable a faster, less expensive, and more efficient service for thousands of users across the globe. Following the first UK e-Apostille issued on 15thDecember 2021 as part of a pilot programme, the option for customers to apply for an e-Apostille will soon be available on a wider scale.

Legalised documents are often required during the process of international transactions, such as foreign property management and overseas work visas. Traditionally, customers send and receive physical documents which are accompanied by a paper certificate, known as an Apostille. Now, applicants will be able to upload and sign their digital documents via a Qualified Electronic Signature (QES) or an Advanced Electronic Signature (AdES) to ensure higher levels of identity validation. Ash Finnegan, VP of product strategy and transformation at Conga, welcomes these changes and outlines how businesses will benefit:

“Digital is the future. By validating electronic signatures for everyday legal documents, the UK Legalisation Office will drastically improve turnaround-times for international transactions. Not only will it establish a far more efficient user experience, as applicants will be able to quickly upload digital documents in real-time, but overall record keeping will be far simpler. By embracing digital, it will be easier for people to communicate and proceed with everyday trade and commerce, ensuring vital business processes go on uninterrupted.

“Electronic signatures must meet industry-recognised physical and technological security standards that guarantee secure transactions. In time, this will significantly reduce the risk of fraud, especially when handling or approving documents at a global scale. This is a huge step in the right direction, as it eliminates the use physical paper or the need to post or courier hard copies of documents around the world. The UK Legalisation Office has led by example, minimising unnecessary waste and significantly reduced its overall environmental impact, encouraging businesses to do the same.”

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