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.
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.