What is authentication and legalization?

Published on Sunday, March 18, 2012

When you need a document to be recognized in another country, it has to go through a process called “authentication” and “legalization”. The entire process centers on certifying that the official signature(s) on the document are legitimate. There are three steps involved in the authentication and legalization process.

The first step involves signing the document in question in the presence of a notary public, who will affix their seal and signature to the document, certifying that they have witnessed the signature and that it is legitimate.

The second step, called “authentication”, involves having the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFATD) in Ottawa certify that the seal and signature on the document are from a notary public currently in good standing.

The third step, called “legalization”, is done by the embassy or consulate of the destination country. A consular official confirms that the document is prepared appropriately and will confirm the certificate of authentication affixed by DFATD. If all is in order, the embassy or consulate affixes a certificate of legalization to your document.

Each embassy has their own particular rules and regulations concerning the authentication and legalization process, and it is important to note that there are some exceptions to this standard process.

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