As my patience continues to be tested, I thought I’d post a slightly more thorough (I think) update with a bit of information regarding the whole school report debacle that I posted about earlier in the week.
Firstly, it has become apparent that it is actually a legal requirement for UK school reports, exams certificates (and other related items) to be legalised so that they are proved to be genuine when given over to the Portuguese schools.
I’d heard about this being asked of people when we first moved over but, as it’d never been asked of us, I’d assumed either it was one of those “some do, some don’t” things or just that, for some reason, it wasn’t necessary or an actual legal requirement.
Now that I know that it’s a legal requirement and that we’re having to go through it, I can explain a bit about the process.
The Portuguese authorities require that the reports/certificates are “stamped” by the Consulate. This is as much detail as they know!
After extensive investigation, it turns out that the actual requirement is for them to be “Legalised” which means contacting the Legalisation Office.
Details of how to do this are at THIS LINK.
Right, here’s where the fun starts(!)
You can’t just send your documents and get them legalised.
Oh no, that would be far too easy!
Before you can get school reports or certificates legalised, you have to get them “certified, signed and dated by a practicing UK Solicitor / Public Notary before submission for legalisation.”
Whatever you do, don’t assume that any solicitor or lawyer can do this either.
Oh no, that would be far too easy!
It needs to be, ideally, someone on a specific register as a Notary, and not all lawyers/solicitors are. You can use someone who isn’t, but this will considerably delay the process as the Legalisation Office will then have to verify that the person is qualified to certify, rather than just checking their signature on the register.
So, you’ll be getting those documents certified first then.
Be warned, it’s also HIGHLY likely that, before you can get them certified, the solicitor may also need to contact the school itself to get proof that the reports are genuine. You see how this goes, right? So you might find yourself needing a covering, official letter from the school, declaring that the reports are genuine and true also.
This is what we are waiting for now. Typically, of course, it’s Easter holidays so the chances of getting any response from the school until after 22nd are slim to none.
On the plus side, often a solicitor will handle the whole Legalisation process for you, eliminating the need to “to-and-fro” a bit.
After all that (school, then solicitor, then Legalisation Office), you might actually get your school documents back in your hands!
But you’re not done yet. Now they need translating!
Some schools/authorities will insist that this is done by an official translator. Some don’t insist this but then come back later on and ask for it, so don’t assume that, because they didn’t ask at the beginnning, it might not necessary.
Now you need to get your stamped and legalised reports to a translator and get them translated and, of course, stamped.
THEN, school might be happy with them!
Fortunately for us, school had asked us for official translations to begin with, so we’d done that.
It’s a costly process: getting all those “stamps”.
Solicitor will probably charge upwards of £100 and to get documents legalised is £30 per document (although what constitutes “a document”, I’m not 100% sure!), then of course, there’s the cost of translation which, if I recall correctly, can be €15-30 per page/document.
Some schools probably won’t ask for it all. Some might require everything doing at the start. Some might come back four years later and then say that it is urgent!
We’re in the process of getting ours certified and legalised now.
It takes as long as it takes.
If it’s weeks, it’s weeks.
School will have to wait. There’s nothing we can do to speed it up.
Meantime, if you can’t find me, I’m under this lot!