What is the Process for Authenticating Documents in Canada?

Published on Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Document authentication is a crucial step in the Canadian authentication and legalization process. Every year, thousands of Canadians find out they need to authenticate specific documents for use in a foreign country, but few of us have any knowledge or experience with this often confusing process.

What is document authentication used for?

Document authentication is an essential step in the Canadian document authentication and legalization process. The document authentication and legalization process is used to confirm the authenticity of a Canadian document, so that this document will be officially recognized in another country.

Where do I authenticate a document in Canada?

Document authentication is done by Global Affairs Canada in Ottawa. In some cases, documents can also be authenticated by a provincial authentication office. However, this method is less widely accepted and documents that are authenticated provincially are frequently subject to additional burdensome requirements when submitted to embassies and consulates for legalization. For these reasons, we focus on document authentication at Global Affairs Canada.

How do you get a document authenticated?

The Canadian authentication process is the second step in having your documents certified for use in a foreign country.

Step 1 – Prepare your documents for processing. Preparing your documents for processing may require having your documents notarized, having certified true copies made, having your documents translated, and providing additional supporting documents.

Step 2 – Document authentication at Global Affairs Canada. The Global Affairs Canada staff will review your documents. If all is in order, they will place a large red stamp directly on your documents, confirming they have been authenticated.

Step 3 – Document legalization at the relevant embassy or consulate. The final step of the authentication and legalization process is to have your documents legalized at the embassy or consulate of the country in which you need to present your documents. The consular staff will confirm the documents have been authenticated by Global Affairs Canada and that they otherwise meet all requirements set by the embassy or consulate. If satisfied, they will place a stamp, sticker, or certificate of confirmation directly on your documents, confirming they have been legalized. Your documents will now be officially recognized in this country.

How long will the authentication process take?

You can submit your documents by mail to Global Affairs Canada for authentication. Using this method, you should expect to wait a minimum of three weeks to receive your authenticated documents. If you choose to use our expert authentication and legalization services, our experts will submit your documents to Global Affairs Canada in person. This allows us to authenticate documents same day for our clients!

Don’t forget that after you authenticate your documents you will need to have them legalized. The time required for legalization varies from embassy to embassy. Contact our friendly specialists to get up-to-date information on processing times.

If you are navigating the authentication and legalization process yourself, it is very important to get accurate information on both the authentication requirements set by Global Affairs Canada, and the specific requirements set by the relevant embassy or consulate. If you have made a mistake in how your documents are prepared or submitted, your documents will be returned to you unprocessed, requiring you to start the process over.

Where can I get more information on the authentication process?

Document authentication is done by the JLAC section of Global Affairs Canada. We can tell you more about the role JLAC plays in the authentication process or you may visit the JLAC website directly. Our website also has a wealth of information on the Canadian authentication and legalization process. Or better yet, our friendly experts would welcome the chance to answer your questions. Call us toll-free at 1-888-433-1011.

Can I get  help with authenticating my documents?

As Canada’s leading authentication and legalization service provider, we can certainly help you! We authenticate many thousands of documents for our clients every year, processing documents rapidly and reliably. The first step is to contact us for a free consultation. We’ll explain the authentication and legalization process, answer your questions, and clearly outline your options – no pressure and no obligation. Phone us toll-free at 1-888-433-1011, or submit a quick online enquiry and we’ll get right back to you.