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Certified copies of documents for £7

I was recently sent a letter from a company I have an account with telling me that I needed to provide them with certified copies of two documents in order to verify my identity.

A certified copy is a photocopy of a document (such as passport, utility bill, birth certificate) that has been verified as being true by a person who holds a certain position of responsibility. This person could for example be a solicitor, notary, teacher, bank manager or post master.

Certified copy document statement

I’d heard that it is possible for solicitors to do this service for about £2. However when I contacted three local solicitors (all in London) for quotes they all gave me a price of £70-£80 for certifying two A4 copies. Anyone know where those £2 solicitors are? Not in London it would seem.

Instead of paying these rip-off prices I found out about the Post Office Identity Checking Service. For a fee of £7 they will check up to three different documents and certify the copies of them.

Not all Post Offices offer this service so I checked online and went to one that did. When I got to the counter and asked for the service it seemed obvious that they don’t provide it very often. The guy behind the counter had to study the application form carefully before he worked out what to do.

They check your documents, write “this copy is a true likeness of the original” on the copies (you need to bring your own photocopies), sign the document, and then stamp it with their standard Post Office ink stamp.

The copies are now certified and ready for whatever purpose you needed them for.

This is a useful service that I hadn’t heard of until now. You may be able to certify your copies for free (if you happen to know a teacher or doctor who would be willing to do it), or for as low as £2 (if you can find a solicitor who will do the service for such a low price). However it is convenient to know that you can get this done in the Post Office without an appointment for a fixed fee.


Reader Feedback

46 Responses to “Certified copies of documents for £7”

  1. Sam G says:

    Very helpful, thanks for the information

  2. Phil says:

    A very useful post. It has saved me a lot of legwork and money!

  3. Mark says:

    Fantastic – thanks for the info. I was expecting to have to shell out bigtime!

  4. Claudine says:

    Very very helpful, thanks for sharing!

  5. Mark Barrow says:

    Hey all, I have just returned from Australia and needed to get copies of my Passport Certified in order to receive my Super Annuation back. I found a free and easy way to get your copies officially certified. I went into my bank (Halifax) and they were more than happy to copy, certify, stamp and sign them all for no charge. They were willing to help as I would be paying my cheque into my account with them, however they did not want a personal guarantee I would do this! So if you have a bank this is a good cheap way of doing this. I hope that this information helps! Mark

  6. Suzy says:

    The banks seam to vary form branch to branch. I am working my way through about 10 certified copies of my marriate certificate and have found that some banks will certify one copy if it’s for something related to them but others (inc. my local Halifax) will take a copy for their records but won’t give out copies at all :o(

    I’m stuck with the final 3 (not related to any banks) so will definately give the post office a go!

  7. Ian says:

    Excellent post, very useful indeed, this helped me a lot!
    You’re a total star!

  8. Kirsty says:

    The fee to certify a document by a solicitor is £5 the £2 is charged per exhibit attached to the document so you’ll never find a solicitor who will do it for £2, sorry. Not sure why you were quoted £70 – £80 that is the sort of fee for a notary. Hope that clarifies it for you.

  9. admin says:

    I think that £70-£80 is what solicitors in London think they can get away with! Maybe in other parts of the country they charge less.

  10. stan says:

    I am banging my head against the same problem to close my dead mothers accounts where proof of identity is required. My bank (alliance and Leicester) used to certify copies but now refuse for external use, and my mother’s bank won’t certify unless they know me personally. The assurance company will check through Experian who check things like register of electors, but I have just moved, so the register is not up to date for me.

    I spoke to the assurance company who are asking for the certified copies, and it turns out that they are quite happy with originals, but at my risk. So as the card part of my driving licence is ok for them, it is on its way, recorded delivery. Sorted!

    A few tips. The Post Office will certify – it is a standard service. However, print off the web page which says that they do it, and take it with you, otherwise you will meet with blank faces and an absolute assurance that they cannot certify copies. Also, find out if the requestor has a local agent who can certify the copy for you – that should be free. Try approaching the solicitor who did the conveyancing on your house – worked for me, and it was free. However, rest assured that the whole process is frustrating in the extreme.

  11. Fizzlepops says:

    Very very helpful – Thanks. Post office charges £6.85 and they will certify up to 3 documents.

  12. thankful says:

    Thanks a lot for posting, It has saved me a lot of time and money!! thank you.

  13. Mike says:

    Just a note of caution re the post-office ID-check service… depending on what you’re doing, it might not be good enough.

    I’ve used it successfully a few times, and thought I now had a reasonably easy way to provide certified ID whenever necessary.

    However, I’ve recently sent a set of post-office-certified copies to a distant solicitor that we’re dealing with, and it’s been rejected as not meeting the requirements.

    Apparently the current money-laundering legislation has very preicse requirements, and the post-office ID service doesn’t meet these. It has to be done by solicitor or similar. Think this is because it has to be someone that is trained/registered for this legislation, also they have to provide individual name and contact details so it can be tied back to them (and it has to be possible for the recipient to contact them if necessary). A stamp and initials from post-office counter isn’t enough.

    It seems ridiculous that we have this strict legislation but apparently no provision for how “normal” people are supposed to satisfy it – and a post-office service that isn’t good enough to satisfy the rules.

    Anyway, I’m now hunting for a local solicitor that is willing to do it and won’t charge too much.

    This is all proving to be hugely frustrating.

  14. Sarah Wusu says:

    Mikes posting is an accurate lay summary of the issue. Any legally qualified person can certify these copies for you, or alternatively take copies along to the local county court offices, where they you would be possibly assist, for the prescribed fee £5.00 and £2.00 for each attachment. Be prepared for a possible queue, county court office staff are underpaid and overworked.

    As a practising barrister I do provide this service through the post at
    Berwyn House Chambers
    151 Tennyson Road
    bedfordshire
    LU1 3RP

    You an check me out on the legal publishers Sweet & Maxwell legalhub website under Bar Directory.

    Simply post docs along with instructions, SAE and Check with guarentee number with exp date, on the back for the total amount due. The charge is the prescribed fee for each doc requiring original certification, and any cost to you for posting and the SAE;
    eg, Qualification cert, and a transcript is two original docs in their own right.

    My Clerk always gets copies out in the post at close of business on the day received.

    Sarah Wusu
    Barrister

  15. Bill Ryan says:

    As a Commissioner for Oaths I provide a range of services including swearing affidavits, certifying copies of documents and statutory declarations.

    I do not charge exhorbitant fees and I can provide a postal service.

    My website is http://commissionerforoaths.co.uk and you can find more details there.

  16. Anna says:

    Thank you SO much for posting this. I was about to tear my hair out – the solicitors around here are asking £125 per document!

  17. anon says:

    Thanks a lot. I used to go to my bank but the were more and more reluctant to do it. You saved me 70-7=63 GBP

  18. Jenny says:

    I think everyone is getting confused here about this “solicitors for £5/£2″ item.

    Solicitors are obliged to charge a fixed fee of £5 for administering the oath when you swear and affidavit and £2 for each exhibit to that affidavit. These fees only relate to this activity only, not to anything else.

    You are talking here about CERTIFYING whether a copy is a true copy of an original. For that activity, solicitors can charge whatever they like.

    Of course, the Post Office cannot administer oaths on affidavits/exhibits, but if you can find a cheaper option than a solicitor to certify a copy, then of course you are welcome to do so!

    There’s a great summary of all this here:
    http://www.bris.ac.uk/secretary/legal/certify.html

  19. Christa says:

    I have just had my Post Office certified ID document rejected by an overseas bank so the PO is not always acceptable. I am now back to searching for a cheap alternative- very frustrating! Another badly thought through requirement

  20. Chris Newland says:

    The Post Office service complies with the anti money laundering regulations ie if you need this service for say opening / transferring a share ISA or other bank account. Of course they operate ISAs etc themeselves. The form is stamped and signed and complies with the regulations. The second post above neatly provides the answer in this useful thread. Its a pity the financial institutions which demand certified copies, don’t give out this useful and clear information themselves. As regards the electoral roll – there are two versions (1) open to everyone and (2) a version not open to everyone which you can request to be on. If you are on the second, when you try to transfer an ISA or open a bank account, you may run into this problem, even if your address / name already verified by the first institution has not changed. It is a pity the Electoral Roll is misused in this way eg by BBC Television Licencing and junk mailers, credit reference companies. It should simply be used for one thing – an electoral roll. The Government should keep a central register of names / addresses to comply with anti money laundering regulations instead of all this palaver.

  21. Brett Collins says:

    I am trying to open an account with Barnsley building Soc. They say that copies must include the wording “certified true copy” the Post office say they will write “this copy is a true likeness”. I have spoken to Barnsley Building Soc and they say this is not acceptable. I do not know if I can get the Post Office to change the wording, but I doubt it.

  22. Helen Colegate says:

    I’ve found a £2 solicitor in Twickenham:

    http://www.merronywall.co.uk/

    They charged £2 for each page signed. It was quick an easy (and cheap). The solicitor I dealt with was charming. I might use them for the conveyancing on my property so they’ll get something nice out of it too.

  23. Piya says:

    Great post.. I think that the exhorbitant fees are charged by the firms in London.. I found solicitors charging two pounds per copy in Hampshire..

  24. billyh says:

    Good practical post squire. That’s your good deed done. Now, have a bun.

  25. netster says:

    I’m a Solicitor and believe we can charge what we like for certifified copies. I never charge because I only ever certify for friends (or friends of friends etc). The process takes a very short time so if I were you just pop in to your small local high street Solicitors and ask, many will be happy to do it on the spot. If you are quoted a higher fee then haggle with them and go elsewhere. If you use a postal service you will want to pay for recorded delivery both ways.

  26. Sarah Wusu says:

    I would also agree that when posting personal and valuable documents it is safest to send by recorded delivery. Alternatively you should always request a certificate of posting, this can then be used as proof of postage.

  27. Sadiq says:

    Thanks for sharing this information! Very helpful.

  28. Tiara says:

    Thank you for writing this post…I’ve just come back from Royal Bank of Scotland where they declared they could only certify me if I was applying for a mortgage- no matter that I had an account with them!

    One quick internet search & your post came up. Thanks!

  29. Rosh says:

    Much obliged & thanks for the info, as I had already phoned around and had difficulty to get a soilicitor in B’ham where I live who does this. Finally booked an appointment with one who was going to charge £10 per doc. Hence a great saving of £23 by going to the post office.

  30. Jennifer says:

    Thanks so much, super helpful…I am bookmarking your blog now!

  31. Pinar says:

    Thank you for the information. Saves a lot of time especially when you have no idea to ask to.
    Kind regards.

  32. Hasan says:

    Thanks for the info.
    As per today certifying 3 documents at the post offices offering “ID checking service” costs £7.15. And a document could be composed of more than 1 page, i.e. passport.

    You can easily find out which branch near offer the service by checking “Branch finder” on Post website specifying service above.

  33. Stephen says:

    Applying for an Amex card. Their requirements are absurd. Not only must the copy state that it is a true copy of the original but that the photographic image on the document/original is a true likeness of the actual person. The solicitor I went to refused to commit to that and would only certify the copy of the passport I had. Sending that in but half expect to be turned down despite having a perfect credit rating. What can you do? Anyone else have this problem?

  34. Lynda Johnson says:

    Need to apparently send in a certified copy of my Passport to the National Insurance People so that they can age verify me so that they can issue an Age Exception Certificate so that I do not have to pay NI any more and the specifically stated they willl NOT accept a postmasters signature but I culd go into a Job Cemntre and get any old tom dick or harry to verify it !!! Or pay for my Doctor /solicitor to do it.

    I notice they never wanted this proven when they were taking the money from me !!!

  35. melanie English says:

    Thank you for this post – really helpful and has probably saved me a lot of £

  36. Robin says:

    Very useful. Thanks a lot for your valuable information

  37. astra says:

    Thank you very much for sharing! You just saved me over £200! :) I needed my university certificates (x2) and a transcript copy certified and notary in London quoted me as £60 each certficate copy, or £90 if 2 done together and £135 for transcript! Local post office just done all 3 of them (x2 copies of each, so 6 copies) for £14.30! Great service!

  38. Talita says:

    Is there any solicitor out there who do ID certification service by post, I was told by the building society my Id must be certified by a solicitor. i need to passports certified.
    Thanks

  39. reviewmylife says:

    Hi Talita, there are probably solicitors that will make a certified copy by post, but would you really want to send a passport in the post? It would be a big hassle for you if it got lost.

    There is one person advertising a certified copy by post service in the comments above.

  40. t.mAN says:

    I just did it at the post office in aldwich in london wc2b 4jf and they charged me £7.15.
    WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO?
    1. bring into the post office your original identity documents.
    2. and a clear and legible photocopy of each of the original documents you would like to have certified.
    3. and then simply complete the details on the form and pay the £7.15 fee.

  41. James says:

    I just got off the phone with American Express; they will accept copies certified by the Post Office.

  42. Jan says:

    I had my passport and council tax bill certified by Ola Leslie Solicitors in London Bridge, they charged me £5.00 per document. I also called up a couple of other local London firms who quoted quite a bit more. This was really convenient as I only work a few doors away from their office. I needed a solicitor to certify my ID as the Foreign Office would not accept certifications from the Post Office.

  43. Gordon says:

    Went into my solicitors and they refused to (do such a menial task?) for an existing customer.
    Couldnt understand them giving me a list of alternatives almost like telling me thier competitors and where to take my future business.
    Our ID certify is for possible gain from a will.
    Letter states it has to be a solicitor to sign the copy.
    .

  44. Just to let you know that Merrony Wall Solicitors (see post from Helen Colgate above) has now merged with Morrisons and moved from Twickenham to Teddington.

  45. David says:

    This is such useful info! I was looking for a solicitor to make me a certified copy when your article came up in my search. The Post Office service is called “Document Certification Service” these days, here is a current link http://www.postoffice.co.uk/document-certification-service?intcampaignid=MNidentitydoccert
    Still £7.15 for 3 docs.

  46. David says:

    visit a notary public, and pay the fee (which isn’t actually permitted but that’s another story altogether) by way of a correctly indorsed promissory note in accordance with Bills of Exchange Act…

    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Vict/45-46/61/enacted

    Voila! you now have a notarized (wipes floor with Commissioner or Solicitor… or the Post Office for that matter) document without handing over any of those Bank of England debt notes! FREE! :)

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