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If you need to use Canadian documents in another country, you may have been told that you first need to get these documents apostilled. And if you’ve done a bit of research, you may have discovered that Canada does not actually issue document apostilles, but instead uses a different but equivalent process called document authentication and legalization. At International Documents Canada we help thousands of people and companies rapidly navigate the Canadian authentication and legalization (apostille) process every year.In this article we’ve provided some key tips to getting a document apostille in Canada, helping you understand this often-confusing process.

Why Do I Need To Have My Documents Authenticated & Legalized (Apostilled)?

The Canadian document authentication and legalization (apostille) process is used to certify the authenticity of a Canadian document, so that this document will be officially recognized in a  foreign country.

What Type of Documents May Be Authenticated & Legalized (Apostilled)?

There are a very broad range of documents that may need to be authenticated and legalized. The most frequent types of documents include civil certificates (birth, death, marriage and divorce certificates), educational documents, legal documents including Power of Attorney, documents related to the sale of property, and commercial documents of various types. Click on this link for more information on the most frequently processed documents.

Why Can’t Canada Issue an International Apostille?

All signatories to the international Hague Apostille Convention are able to issue and recognize document apostilles. Unfortunately, Canada is not a signatory to this convention. So while Canada recognizes apostilles from other countries, we don’t issue an apostille of our own. The Canadian authentication and legalization process is the Canadian version of the international apostille process.

What Does a Canadian Apostille Look Like?

Canada’s apostille process – more properly referred to as document authentication and legalization – will place two stamps or stickers directly on your document. Global Affairs Canada will first place a large red stamp directly on your document, confirming that the document has been “authenticated”. Your document then needs to be submitted to the appropriate embassy or consulate, where the consular staff will place an additional sticker or stamp directly on your document, confirming it has been “legalized”. Your document will now be recognized in the country it was legalized for.

6 Helpful Tips for the Authentication & Legalization Process (Apostille)

1. Always Plan Ahead

One of the best things you can do when getting ready to have documents legalized and authenticated is to plan in advance. The authentication and legalization process can be complex, and if you make a mistake the process will often need to be restarted, wasting money and time. Giving yourself some time for unexpected setbacks is always a good idea.

2. Determine Whether Your Documents Need to be Apostilled

The first thing you need to determine is whether your documents need to be authenticated and legalized (apostilled). To do this, you’ll need to consult directly with the person or organization that you are sending your documents to. They will be able to tell you whether an apostille is required or not.

3. Research the Specific Requirements for your Documents

If your Canadian documents do need to be apostilled (authenticated and legalized), you will need to research what the specific requirements are for your situation. You will need to research what specific requirements have been set by Global Affairs Canada, who will be authenticating the documents. You will also need to research what specific requirements have been set by the embassy or consulate of the country you will be sending your documents to, who will be legalizing the documents. This research is complicated by the fact that each embassy or consulate sets its own unique rules and requirements. The International Documents Canada website provides detailed information on embassy and consulate requirements.

4. Identify Fee & Form of Payment

This isn’t something you’ll need to worry too much about if you’re working with a third-party authentication and legalization service like International Documents Canada, but it’s still something to be aware of. Each embassy and consulate charges a different fee for legalization. This is further complicated by the fact that some diplomatic missions charge different rates for different types of documents, some of them only accept specific forms of payment, and some of them change their fees on a monthly basis, to reflect currency fluctuations.

5. Preparing Documents for Submission

After you’ve done your research on fees and submission requirements, it is time to prepare your documents. Depending on your specific situation, your documents may need to be notarized or have certified true copies made, they made need to be translated, and you may need to submit a variety of supporting documents (application form, photocopy of passport, cover letter, supporting commercial documents, etc.). It is important to prepare your documents correctly. Any mistake in preparation risks having your documents sent back to you unprocessed, requiring you to begin again from the start, causing weeks or months of delay.

Contact us for document apostille and authentication and legalization services!

If you need to have a document officially authenticated or legalized to be used in another country, then the team from International Documents Canada can help. We provide authentication and legalization services, as well as supporting services such as document translation solutions for those who need them.

We authenticate and legalize thousands and thousands of documents every year for our clients, including:

Contact us online today for more resources or call 1 (888) 433-1011.

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