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Having a document notarized helps to verify the authenticity of a signature on a document or the authenticity of the document itself. Having a document notarized is often required when preparing your documents to be authenticated and legalized for use overseas. 

What is Document Notarization?

Document notarization can be done in one of two ways. The first type of notarization involves having a notary public witness a signature on a document and then certify that this signature is authentic. The notary public who is notarizing your document will sign your document and add their embossed seal, certifying that they witnessed the signature.

The second type of notarization involves the notary public making a copy of the original document. In this case, the signature and embossed seal appear on the copy of the document instead of the original.

What is a Certified True Copy?

A certified true copy is a copy of your document that a notary public has certified as being a “true copy” of the original. The notary public will compare the copy of your document to the original, and then sign and stamp the copy, confirming that it is a “certified true copy of the original”.

Certified true copies can be used when you don’t want your original documents to be marked up by the authentication and legalization process. However, not all diplomatic missions or foreign authorities will accept certified true copies. We highly recommend that you verify with the authorities abroad that a certified true copy will be accepted once authenticated and legalized.

What is involved with the authentication of documents?

The authentication of documents is a process that is used to verify that the signatures on your documents are from a recognized authority. Similar to how a notary public verifies your signature when you sign a document, the authentication process verifies the notary public’s signature on a document. So the notary confirms that the original signature on the document is valid, and the authentication process confirms that the notary who confirmed the original signature is in good standing. 

For official government-issued documents, such as birth or marriage certificates, notarization is not needed. Instead, it is the provincial registrar’s signature that is authenticated.

Authentication of documents is done by Global Affairs Canada, or the appropriate provincial authentication authority (where applicable). Be sure to research the specific requirements of the diplomatic mission and the foreign recipient to ensure the appropriate authentication office is used to authenticate your documents. 

What is the document legalization process?

Once your notarized documents have been authenticated, they will need to be legalized by the diplomatic mission of the destination country.

The relevant embassy or consulate will review your authenticated documents and if they find all is in order, they’ll add a stamp, sticker, or certificate to your document, confirming it has been legalized. Your documents will now be recognized in the destination country.

Can I get help with document notarization and the authentication and legalization process?

At International Documents Canada, we specialize in managing the authentication and legalization process for our clients, including notarization in many cases. 

However, there are some types of notarization that must be done in person at the time of signing. If you need assistance locating a notary public near you, we can help you locate one. You then send us your notarized documents and we do the rest on your behalf.

When you call our friendly experts, we’ll take the time to understand your situation and answer your questions. We will clearly explain your options and provide you with a detailed quote, so you have all the information you need to make an informed decision about how you would like to proceed. Contact us online today or call us toll-free at 1-888-433-1011 to get started with your free consultation.

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