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Global Affairs Canada has made an announcement with some exciting news! On May 12, 2023, Canada finally signed the Hague Apostille Convention, which will come into effect on January 11, 2024. Once in effect, this marks the beginning of a more streamlined process that will allow Canadian documents to be used more easily in the other 124 countries who are members of the Apostille Convention.

In the meantime, while we wait for the Apostille convention to take effect in 2024, Canadian documents will continue to require the equivalent Canadian Apostille process of “document authentication and legalization”.

Once Global Affairs Canada shares the specifics of how the Canadian Apostille Process will be managed, we will provide you with all the details.

What is the Hague Apostille Convention?

The Hague Apostille Convention, formally known as the “Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents”, is an international agreement governing how a document issued in one country can be certified for legal purposes in another. This certification is called an “Apostille”. Any country that is a signatory to the Hague Apostille Convention will legally recognize documents from other signatory countries, if these documents have first received an “apostille”.

What is the Canadian Apostille Process?

The confusion with the Canadian apostille process is the fact that Canada had not yet signed the Hague Apostille Convention and therefore, could not issue an apostille. Instead, in Canada we used   an equivalent to the apostille process, called “document authentication and legalization”. This is a multi-step process that validates the signatures on Canadian documents in a way that will ensure they are accepted abroad.

What process do I use now (before January 11, 2024)?

Until Canada’s apostille process comes into effect on January 11, 2024, Canadians will continue to use the existing document authentication and legalization process.

How does Document Authentication and Legalization work?

Canadian document authentication and legalization includes three important steps:

Step 1: Prepare your documents

It is essential that your documents are prepared properly before you start the authentication and legalization process. This involves ensuring your documents meet all the requirements of Global Affairs Canada (Step 2) and the relevant embassy or consulate where they will be processed (Step 3).  Preparation can require notarization, having certified true copies made, having your documents translated, and providing supporting documents. Unfortunately, each embassy and consulate sets its own unique requirements, so each situation is different.

Step 2: Authentication of your documents

After you prepare your documents they need to be submitted to Global Affairs Canada (GAC) for authentication. Once the GAC staff has determined that your criminal record check meets their requirements they will place a large red stamp directly on your document, confirming it has been authenticated.

Step 3: Legalization of your documents

Finally, you need to submit your documents to the embassy or consulate of the country where they will be used. The embassy or consulate staff will review your documents to confirm they meet all their requirements. If satisfied, the embassy or consulate staff will place a stamp or sticker directly on each document, confirming that it has been legalized. Once your document has been legalized you have completed the process of authentication and legalization.

Can you help with the Canadian apostille process?

Yes! Our experts will expertly manage the Canadian apostille process once in effect. In the meantime, we are continuing to offer our document authentication and legalization service. You send your documents to our office and we handle the rest. As the leading apostille (authentication and legalization) service provider in Canada, we manage the apostille process for thousands of people and companies every year. 

When you reach out to our friendly staff for a free consultation we will identify your specific needs, lay out your options, and provide a detailed quote so you have all the information you need to figure out the best path forward. Call us toll-free at 1-888-433-1011 or reach out through our website. We would love to hear from you.  

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