How to Get a Death Certificate Authenticated

Published on Monday, May 11, 2020

If you have a Canadian death certificate that you need to present in another country, you may be wondering how to get this certificate authenticated? In this article we look at how to get a death certificate authenticated and we also explain the closely related process of how to get a death certificate legalized.

What is death certificate authentication?

Document authentication is a crucial step in the authentication and legalization process. The 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. If you need to present a Canadian death certificate in another country, you will likely need to get it authenticated and legalized first.

There are two steps to having a death certificate authenticated:

  1. Make sure the death certificate is an original official death certificate issued by the Province. If the death certificate you have is not an original or was not issued directly by a province, you can order a new one from the province where the death took place.
  2. Submit the original official death certificate to Global Affairs Canada’s JLAC section for authentication. In some circumstances, it is possible to instead submit your document to a provincial authority for authentication. However, in most cases the authentication will need to be done by Global Affairs Canada.

When submitting the death certificate to Global Affairs Canada for authentication, you have a few options. You can do so yourself in person (the JLAC section is located in Ottawa, Ontario), send it by mail, or hire a service to submit it on your behalf. The staff at Global Affairs Canada will confirm that all is in order with the death certificate. If satisfied, they will place a large red stamp directly on the certificate, confirming it has been authenticated.

After your document is authenticated it will need to be legalized, the final step in the authentication and legalization process.

What is death certificate legalization?

The legalization of a death certificate is the final step in certifying the authenticity of the certificate so that it will be officially accepted in another country. To legalize a death certificate, the authenticated certificate is submitted to the embassy or consulate of the country where the certificate will be presented. If satisfied that all is in order, the consular staff will place a large stamp or sticker directly on the death certificate, confirming that the document has been legalized.

For officials in the destination country, document legalization confirms that the death certificate has been verified by their official representative in Canada. More specifically, the legalization process confirms that the signatures on the death certificate are valid and that therefore, the document itself is valid.

How do I notarize a death certificate?

If you need to present a Canadian death certificate in a foreign country, the certificate will need to go through the authentication and legalization process. Notarizing a death certificate is not required for authentication and legalization.

A notary can make what is known as a “certified true copy” of a Canadian death certificate. Until recently, it was possible to have this certified true copy authenticated by Global Affairs Canada. However, Global Affairs Canada will no longer authenticate copies of Canadian death certificates (or any other Vital Statistics documents). Only an original will be accepted. Again, it is not necessary to have an original death certificate notarized before having the document authenticated and legalized.

How do I apostille a death certificate?

In Canada, the term “apostille” refers to the authentication and legalization process. An apostille can be issued by any country that has signed the Hague Apostille Convention. Because Canada is not a signatory to the Hague Apostille Convention, we cannot issue an apostille. Our equivalent process is called authentication and legalization. So, if you have been told you need to apostille a Canadian death certificate, what you will actually be doing is authenticating and legalizing this certificate.

Can you assist me with getting a death certificate authenticated?

If you are looking for more information on how to get a death certificate authenticated, or if you would like assistance with the process, we can help! We specialize in navigating the Canadian authentication and legalization for our clients, processing many thousands of documents for our clients every year. We can return your processed documents to you in as little as a few days, saving you many weeks of processing time compared to submitting yourself by mail. Because we authenticate and legalize thousands of death certificates every year, we avoid the common mistakes and pitfalls that can greatly increase the time and cost of processing.

Contact us today! We’ll explain the process, outline your options and answer your questions. No pressure or obligation. Call toll-free at 1-888-433-1011 or send us an online enquiry and we’ll get right back to you.