The Canadian Apostille Process and Document Translation

Published on Thursday, November 19, 2020

The Canadian apostille process – also known as document authentication and legalization – can be complex. One of the complicating factors is that many documents will need to be translated before they can be apostilled in Canada. Finding accurate information on translation requirements can also be difficult. If you are wondering about document translation requirements for the Canadian apostille process, read on!

About the Canadian Apostille Process

The Canadian apostille process is used to certify the authenticity of Canadian documents, so that these documents will be officially recognized in another country. For example, if you accept a teaching job in Honduras, you will be asked to provide your degree. Before your degree will be accepted in Honduras, it first needs to be apostilled.

It is important to note that there are several terms used to refer to the Canadian apostille process. In addition to the term apostille, you will also hear the term “authentication and legalization”. In Canada, the terms “apostille” and “authentication and legalization” both refer to the same three step process, described below.

What are the Steps in the Canadian Apostille Process

The Canadian apostille process involves three steps:

Step 1 – Document preparation

Before submitting your documents for processing, they need to be prepared. This preparation can include notarization, making certified true copies, having documents translated, and providing various supporting documents. Both Global Affairs Canada (see Step 2) and the relevant embassy or consulate (see Step 3) have specific requirements governing how documents need to be prepared.

Step 2 – Authentication at Global Affairs Canada

Once documents have been prepared they are submitted to Global Affairs Canada’s JLAC section in Ottawa. The JLAC staff will review your documents to ensure everything is in order. If satisfied, they will place a large red stamp on each of your documents, certifying that they have been authenticated.

Step 3 – Legalization at the relevant embassy or consulate

The final step in the Canadian apostille process involves submitting authenticated documents to the relevant diplomatic mission. The relevant diplomatic mission will be either the embassy of the country where you will be presenting your documents, or a consulate. The consular staff will review the documents, confirming that they have been authenticated and that everything is in order. When satisfied, the consular staff will attach a stamp or sticker on each of the documents, confirming that they have been legalized.

Your documents will now be officially accepted in this country.

When do Documents Need to be Translated for the Canadian Apostille Process?

To be successfully apostilled (authenticated and legalized), your documents need to meet the translation requirements set by both Global Affairs Canada and the relevant embassy or consulate.

Translation requirements set by Global Affairs Canada

Global Affairs Canada requires that any document that is submitted for authentication in a language other than English or French is first translated into either English or French. This translation must be done by a certified Canadian translator. If only certain sections of your document are written in a language other than English or French, you will only need to translate these sections.

Translation requirements set by Embassies and Consulates

Each embassy and consulate sets its own specific translation requirements. Some embassies and consulates require that every document submitted for legalization first be translated into the official language of that country. Other diplomatic missions generally do not require translations at all, while others require translation in specific circumstance. In a few rare cases, an embassy or consulate will have a translator on staff and will offer translation services for a fee. Because of this great variation in translation requirements, it is critical that you confirm what translation requirements are in place at the specific embassy or consulate that will be legalizing your documents.

Assistance with Document Translation and the Apostille Process

To determine the translation requirements that apply to your particular situation, you can reach out to the embassy or consulate directly. You can also search online, but note that some diplomatic missions have out-of-date posted on their website. Our website posts information on many of the embassies and consulates we deal with frequently, and is a great place to start: www.idocscanada.ca/embassies-document-legalization/.

Even better, we invite you to reach out to our friendly staff for information and advice. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss your particular document apostille needs, answer any questions you have about the process, and clearly lay out your apostille options. There is never any obligation or pressure. We’ll make sure you have the information you need to make an informed decision on how to proceed. Phone us toll-free at 1-888-433-1011, or send us a short online form by clicking here and we’ll get right back to you.