Published on Friday, October 4, 2019
Here at International Documents Canada we live and breath the Canadian apostille process. Our experienced staff navigate the Canadian apostille process for thousands of clients every year. Providing accurate information about the apostille process is an important part of what we do. But we are the first to admit that the Canadian apostille process is not the most exciting subject to write about. With this case study, we hope to give you a fresh look at the Canadian apostille process from a new point of view.
Case Study: Getting documents apostilled for Ecuador
This case study started when a client contacted us for a quote. She had multiple documents that she needed processed for use in Ecuador. More specifically, the client (we’ll call her Mariam) was told that she would have to have these documents “apostilled” before they would be accepted in Ecuador. We talked with Mariam at some length, to make sure we understood exactly what she needed. During this conversation we confirmed the specific documents that would be processed, explained the process to her, and answered her many questions. After our conversation, we provided Mariam with a detailed written quote outlining the costs and exactly what steps are involved.
Once Mariam had confirmed that she wanted to proceed, we worked with her to ensure that her documents were prepared properly for the Canadian apostille process. This includes confirming documents are originals and have acceptable signatures for this process. Mariam then couriered her documents to our Ottawa office. In all, she had 30 documents that needed processing, including educational degrees and transcripts, RCMP criminal record checks, and letters of employment.
As soon as her documents arrived in our Ottawa office we immediately confirmed that all was in order and began the process. We first presented her documents in person to Global Affairs Canada for authentication. All went smoothly, and within 24 hours we were able to present her authenticated documents to the Embassy of Ecuador for legalization. Legalization is the final step in the process.
Roadblock at the Embassy of Ecuador
When we presented Mariam’s documents to the Embassy of Ecuador, we were told that there was going to be a delay of at least 3 weeks, as they did not have the required stamps in stock. However, we knew that this timeline did not work for Mariam, as she was up against a tight deadline.
Our team of specialists switched into problem solving mode. Not willing to accept the 3-week delay, we reached out to the Consulate of Ecuador in Toronto. We confirmed that they would be able to legalize the documents right away. We quickly prepared the additional supporting documents that the Consulate in Toronto required, and had Mariam’s documents shipped off immediately. The Consulate was able to legalize the documents and forward them to our client in Ecuador within 3 days.
We saved Mariam a lot of time and hassle
If Mariam had tried getting documents apostilled for Ecuador by submitted these documents by mail, she would have waited many weeks to have them processed, without any updates or notifications. If any mistakes were made in preparing her documents, it is likely that she would have waited many weeks only to find out that her documents were prepared incorrectly and would have to be re-submitted.
By using International Documents Canada we:
A) worked with Mariam to ensure her documents were prepared correctly the first time;
B) submitted her documents in person while actively managing the process, and;
C) once we hit a roadblock we immediately figured out a solution for her.
What Mariam found confusing about the Canadian apostille process
While answering Mariam’s many questions about the Canadian apostille process, there were two points that she found confusing. I’ll briefly review these two points, in case you have the same questions.
Point #1 – Canada does not actually issue apostilles
Mariam was told she needed to get an apostille on her Canadian documents. We advertise that we navigate the Canadian apostille process for our clients. But to be technically accurate, Canada does not actually issue apostilles.
The apostille process is used to verify the authenticity of a document produced in one country, so that it can be officially recognized in other countries. Any country that has signed the Hague Apostille Convention can issue apostilles and will recognize apostilles issued by other countries. However, Canada is not a signatory to the Hague Apostille Convention. Therefore, we cannot issue apostilles.
Because Canada cannot issue apostilles, we have our own equivalent process called document authentication and legalization. So, if you have been told that you need to apostille your Canadian documents, what you will actually be doing is having these documents authenticated and legalized.
Even though Canada does not issue apostilles, the term “apostille” is still used frequently in this country. That is why we advertise that we offer “Canadian apostille services”, as this is what many of our clients are looking for.
Point #2 – The apostille process involves having a stamp and/or sticker placed directly on your documents
The Canadian apostille process involves permanently marking the documents that are submitted for processing. Global Affairs Canada will place a large red stamp directly on your document, confirming that your document has been authenticated. The relevant embassy or consulate will then add a large stamp or sticker to the document, confirming that the document has been legalized. At first, Mariam thought that her documents would remain unmarked while being processed. She was surprised when we informed her that this was not the case.
If you want your documents to remain unmarked, you often have the option to process what is known as a certified true copy of your document. This is a copy of your document that has been certified as being accurate by a notary public. However, there is an important warning! A certified true copy is not considered acceptable in all cases. If you would prefer processing a copy of your documents rather than the original, feel free to contact our friendly staff to discuss.
More information on the Canadian apostille process
We hope you’ve found this case study useful. If you are looking for more information on the Canadian apostille process, our website is a great place to start. It is packed with information. Or better yet, we invite you to contact our friendly specialists. We’ll discuss your situation, answer any questions you have, and clearly explain your options – no pressure and no obligation. Phone us toll-free at 1-888-433-1011 or complete our quick form and we will get right back to you.