How to Authenticate Your University or College Degree for Work Outside of Canada

Published on Friday, July 24, 2020

Preparing to work and live abroad is a big undertaking, and you should expect a lot of paperwork. You will likely be asked to present various personal documents needed for your employment and residency, including and especially your university or college degree. However, did you know that in many cases your university or college degree will not be accepted abroad unless the document has first been “authenticated and legalized”. This article answers your questions about how to authenticate your university or college degree for work outside of Canada.

How do I know if I need to authenticate my university or college degree?

There is no one rule that fits all circumstances. The only way to accurately determine whether you will need to authenticate your university or college degree is to confirm this fact with the person or institution who is requesting this document. In some countries, every Canadian university or college degree will need to be authenticated before they are recognized. In some countries some companies and institutions do require authentication, and some do not. And in some foreign countries, Canadian documents are rarely required to be authenticated. So make sure to check with the person or organization who has requested your degree to confirm what is needed in your specific case.

What is the process to authenticate your university or college degree for work outside of Canada?

The process that Canada uses to confirm the authenticity of a Canadian document so that this document will be recognized in a foreign company is called “document authentication and legalization”. This is a three-part process: 1) document preparation, 2) document authentication, and 3) document legalization. Each of these steps is reviewed below.

Please note that there some other terms for the authentication and legalization process that you might run across. The terms “apostille” and “attestation” are also used to describe the Canadian authentication and legalization process.

Step 1 – How to prepare your university or college degree

The first step is to prepare your university or college degree for the authentication and legalization process. This involves confirming that your degree meets the requirements of Global Affairs Canada, who will be authenticating your document (see Step 2). Global Affairs Canada will authenticate a degree issued by any accredited University or College in Canada.

It is also necessary to ensure your degree meets the requirements of the embassy or consulate that will be legalizing your document (see Step 3). In most cases, if Global Affairs Canada has authenticated a Canadian degree then the relevant embassy or consulate will accept it. However, there are a handful of embassies and consulates who keep their own list of acceptable Canadian institutions, which are more restrictive than Global Affairs Canada. Generally, it is degrees from online educational institutions that can run into problems with embassies and consulates. If your degree is not from an accredited university or college it may still be possible to authenticate and legalize it, but the process will be more complicated.

If you are not sure if your degree is from an accredited institution, or if you have any questions about how to prepare your degree for authentication and legalization, contact us. Our friendly staff would be happy to answer your questions.

Step 2 – How to authenticate your university or college degree

The second step of the Canadian authentication and legalization process involves authenticating your documents at Global Affairs Canada in Ottawa. They will place a stamp of authentication on the degree stating that they have authenticated the signature of the registrar of the school. Global Affairs Canada can also authenticate a degree based on the fact that the document has been notarized by a Notary Public.

In some cases, it may be acceptable to have your degree authenticated by a Provincial government. However, many embassy and consulates will not accept degrees that have been authenticated provincially, so it is important to confirm whether this will be acceptable in your particular situation. We always authenticate our clients’ documents with Global Affairs Canada, as this authentication is universally acceptable.

Step 3 – How to legalize your university or college degree

Legalization is the final step of the authentication and legalization process. Legalization is done by the embassy or consulate of the country in which you will be presenting your degree. The consular staff will review your degree, ensuring it meets their particular requirements and that it has been authenticated. Once satisfied, they will place a stamp or sticker directly on the document, confirming that the document has been legalized. Your degree will now be officially recognized in this country.

It is important to note that some embassies and consulates require various supporting documents, such as translations, transcripts, and/or application forms. If your degree is submitted without all required supporting documents it will be returned unprocessed.

What is a certified true copy of a university or college degree?

The document authentication and legalization process requires that stamps and stickers are placed directly on your document. Many of our clients do not want their official degree marked up in this way. If you don’t want to mark up your original university or college degree, you often have the option of processing what is called a certified true copy of your degree instead.

To obtain a certified true copy of your degree your document needs to be submitted to a Canadian notary public, along with a photocopy. The notary will confirm that the photocopy is an exact copy of the original, and will then certify it as a “certified true copy”. You can also often obtain a certified true copy of your degree directly from your university or college.

It is important to note that while Global Affairs Canada is happy to authenticate certified true copies, not all embassies or consulates will accept a certified true copy for legalization. Before you attempt to authenticate and legalize a certified true copy of your degree it is important to confirm that it will be accepted. If in doubt, we strongly recommend processing your original degree document.

Can you take care of the authentication and legalization process on my behalf?

Yes! We specialize in rapidly navigating the Canadian document authentication and legalization process for our clients. Contact our friendly staff for your free consultation. When you contact us we will review your situation, answer your questions, and outline your options – no obligation and no pressure. If you choose to use our services, we will work with you to ensure your degree is prepared correctly. You then send your degree to our Ottawa office, and we do the rest for you, rapidly returning your processed document – often in as little as a few days! Call us toll-free at 1-888-433-1011 or send us a quick online inquiry and we will get right back to you.