Published on Thursday, April 18, 2019
If you need to have your Canadian birth certificate officially recognized in another country you may need to have your birth certificate “legalized”. If your next question is “how do I legalize a birth certificate?” this article is for you. At International Documents Canada we manage the document legalization process for thousands of clients every year. This review of how to legalize a birth certificate will give you the basics and point you to where you can find more information.
About the legalization process
The full name for the legalization process in Canada is document authentication and legalization. This process certifies a Canadian document so that it will be officially accepted in a specific foreign country. There are three steps to the document authentication and legalization process.
The first step is to prepare the birth certificate for processing. The good news is that birth certificates issued within Canada typically require no or minimal preparation. The requirements for preparing a birth certificate for authentication and legalization are set by Global Affairs Canada and the embassy or consulate that will be legalizing the document (see Steps Two and Three below).
The second step is to present the birth certificate for authentication at Global Affairs Canada. They will ensure the birth certificate meets their requirements and will put a large red stamp directly on the document.
The third step is to present the birth certificate for legalization at the embassy or consulate of the country where the birth certificate will need to be recognized. The consular staff will ensure the birth certificate meets their requirements. If satisfied, they will add a stamp or sticker directly to the birth certificate, certifying that it has been legalized.
Important – you will need a long-form birth certificate
You can only legalize what is known as a long-form birth certificate. Various provinces issue different types of long-form birth certificates, all of which are acceptable. Wallet-sized birth certificates are not acceptable for authentication and legalization. The good news is that the vast majority of birth certificates that are issued are long-form. If you are not sure if your birth certificate is long-form, feel free to contact our friendly staff. We would be happy to help you identify the type of birth certificate you have.
What if I don’t have my birth certificate?
If you don’t have your birth certificate it is usually a straightforward process to order a new one. Again, our friendly staff can point you to where you order birth certificates in each province. Contact us for more info on ordering birth certificates.
Is “apostille” and “attestation” the same as document legalization?
You may have been told that you need to “apostille” or “attest” your birth certificate and are wondering how these terms relate to the legalization process? The simple answer is that in Canada, the terms “apostille” and “attestation” both refer to the document authentication and legalization process. So if you have been told that you need to apostille your birth certificate, what you will actually be doing is authenticating and legalizing this document.
How can I get more information?
Our website has a wealth of information on the Canadian authentication & legalization process. Or contact our team of friendly specialists directly. We’d welcome the chance to explain the legalization process and answer all your questions. Phone us toll-free at 1-888-433-1011 or complete an online request form.