Published on Friday, August 16, 2019
In our increasingly mobile and global world there is a growing demand to have documents apostilled. But the apostille process can be confusing, frustrating, and can take a long time to navigate successfully. If you need to have documents apostilled for use in another country, you always have the option of using the services of a company that expertly navigates the apostille process on behalf of its clients. This article explores the advantages and disadvantages of using an expert apostille service, answering the question “why use an apostille service?”
What does an apostille service do for you?
There are three steps to the Canadian apostille process. An expert apostille service will assist you in preparing your documents (Step 1), and then will handle the rest of the process (Steps 2 and 3) on your behalf.
Step 1 – Assisting you with preparing your documents for processing. Global Affairs Canada has a specific set of requirements that need to be met for them to authenticate your documents (Step 2 below). And each embassy and consulate sets its own unique requirements that need to be met before they will legalize your documents (Step 3 below). To meet these requirements, your documents may need to be notarized, have a certified true copy made, and supporting documents may need to be supplied. If your documents are not in English or French, they will need to be translated by a certified translator. An expert apostille service will analyse your specific situation to identify what preparation is required, and will work with you to get everything in order.
Step 2 – Authenticating your documents at Global Affairs Canada. The second step of the Canadian apostille process involves submitting your documents to Global Affairs Canada in Ottawa to be authenticated. An expert apostille service will have a team on the ground in Ottawa to submit your documents to Global Affairs Canada in person. This saves many weeks of processing, compared to submitting your documents by mail. As soon as our client’s documents arrive at our Ottawa office we review the documents to ensure all is in order, and then can immediately submit them to Global Affairs Canada.
Step 3 – Legalizing your document at the appropriate embassy or consulate. After your documents are authenticated at Global Affairs Canada, the expert apostille service will then submit them to the relevant embassy or consulate to be legalized. Some embassies and consulates legalize documents same day and some take as long as several weeks. Your apostille service should have a clear idea of how long this embassy or consulate will take to process your documents. Your apostille service should also have strong relationships in place with the consular staff at the relevant embassies and consulates to ensure smooth processing on behalf of their clients.
When the process is completed and your documents are apostilled, the expert apostille service will forward your processed documents to whatever address is most convenient for you.
What is involved if I want to apostille my documents myself?
We have put together an infographic to answer this question – click here! This infographic gives you a step-by-step flowchart to use when navigating the Canadian apostille process.
What are the advantages of using an expert apostille service?
Using an expert apostille service has the following advantages:
Speed – By helping ensure your documents are prepared correctly the first time, and by personally navigating your documents through Global Affairs Canada and the relevant embassies and consulates, we can return your processed documents to you in as little as one day. By contrast, if you mail your documents to Global Affairs Canada you will wait 3 to 5 weeks just to have your documents authenticated. And then you will still need to get your documents legalized.
Certainty – We are often approached by people who have attempted to apostille their documents and have run into roadblocks and frustration. The three major problems that we hear about when navigating the apostille process on your own are:
- Incorrectly identifying the apostille pathway that applies to your specific situation.
- An inability to find the information needed to legalize a document at the specified embassy or consulate.
- Confusion about what document preparation and supporting documents are required.
Unfortunately, if you make a mistake when attempting to secure an apostille the process will typically need to be restarted. Even getting basic information about why your documents were rejected for processing is often a problem.
An expert apostille company will work directly with you to identify the specific apostille pathway that applies to your documents, and will have up-to-date information on each embassy or consulate’s requirements. Expert apostille companies will also have deep experience in working with clients, Global Affairs Canada, and embassies and consulates to quickly resolve any issues that are encountered. At International Documents Canada we actively track the changing requirements of over 200 diplomatic missions, and our staff will move mountains to quickly resolve any issues in the apostille process that arise. Because we navigate the apostille process for thousands of clients a year we know how to avoid the many pitfalls that can derail getting a Canadian apostille.
Saving your valuable time – Our clients who have previously attempted to navigate the Canadian apostille process on their own report significant frustration in trying to find accurate information about the process, taking large amounts of their time and energy. If you use an expert apostille service like International Documents Canada your time commitment drops from many hours or even days to as little as a few minutes. If you are a professional, the value of the time you invest in navigating the apostille process on your own will often significantly exceed the cost of our service.
What are the disadvantages of using an expert apostille service?
The disadvantage to using an expert apostille service is the cost. This service will charge a fee for its services. If you contact International Documents Canada, we will review your specific situation, explain the apostille process and answer your questions. Then we will give you a detailed quote to review, so you will have the information you need to make an informed decision about how you want to proceed with your apostille.
Is there value in using an apostille service located in my area?
The apostille process is heavily centered in Ottawa, Canada’s capital. This is where Global Affairs Canada and embassies are located. It is essential that your service provider have an experienced team on the ground in Ottawa. If you are outside Ottawa and a service provider claims to have an office in your area, you should question the function of this office. Almost certainly this office will be one of the following:
A “virtual” office that has no qualified experience whatsoever. A competitor of International Documents Canada has opened “offices” across Canada. But these “offices” are simply the reception service from a local office rental company, staffed by a receptionist that serves potentially hundreds of different companies. They do not have any of their own staff at these “offices”, and deliver no actual services from these “offices”. If you submit your documents to this local office, they will simply be forwarded to this company which is actually located in Ottawa. No value is added, the client is fooled and time is wasted by adding an extra shipping step.
A company that specializes in something besides the Canadian apostille process. In particular, some notary publics and Visa companies offer Canadian apostille services as one of a large menu of services. Given the complexities of the apostille process and the constantly changing requirements, if a company is only processing occasional documents there is a significantly increased chance of delays and mistakes. Please note that any company that is located outside of Ottawa will still need to A) subcontract to a company that is located in Ottawa, or B) will be submitting your documents by mail, adding weeks to the process.
We are one of the largest companies specializing in the Canadian apostille process. We’ve considered opening offices in other areas of Canada. And we simply don’t see the value for our clients. Having our clients ship their documents directly to our experts in Ottawa remains by far the best and fastest way to deliver apostille services.
Hopefully this article has given you the information you need to evaluate whether you should use an apostille service. If you are still looking for information the International Documents Canada website has a wealth of information on the Canadian apostille process and the apostille services that we offer. Or better yet, our friendly staff is available to discuss your specific situation. Our experts will explain the Canadian apostille process to you, answer your questions and clearly outline your options. Phone us toll-free at 1-888-433-1011, or fill out our quick form and we’ll get right back to you.