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In an increasingly globalized world, it has become more common for Canadians to work and live abroad. Are you looking to join the many Canadians embarking on an adventure to experience life abroad? While it is exciting to plan and think about your future abroad, there are other details to consider, such as the paperwork. As a part of your application for residency abroad, you may be asked to provide your official documents, such as your marriage certificate. Before you can use your marriage certificate in your destination country, it will likely need to go through a process to verify the certificate is authentic. This process, discussed below, is called the “Canadian document apostille process”.

What is an apostille?

An apostille is a type of document certification that confirms the authenticity of a 

document, so that the document will be officially recognized in other apostille signatory countries. Any country that has signed the Hague Apostille Convention, including Canada, will issue apostille certificates and in turn, recognize apostille certificates issued by other countries.

If the country where you are headed is not a signatory to the Hague Apostille Convention, your documents will require an additional step called “document legalization”. This last step of document legalization is completed at the embassy or consulate of the destination country. You can find more about document legalization from the helpful resources on our website – see our Canadian document legalization page.

Who can apostille a Canadian marriage certificate?

There are several different government organizations that are responsible for apostilles across Canada. Global Affairs Canada is responsible for issuing apostilles for Canadian documents originating from the provinces of Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, the Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Prince Edward Island, and Yukon.

Government offices in the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Quebec are responsible for issuing apostilles for documents that originate from their jurisdictions. 

However, don’t forget that if your documents are destined for a country that is not a member of the Hague Apostille Convention, your documents may still need to be legalized as a final step. If this is the case, we recommend that you research the requirements of the embassy or consulate of the destination country before you begin the process.

Researching the Canadian document apostille process in advance will help to ensure that your work visa will not be held back by incorrect or incomplete documentation. 

How can you apostille your marriage certificate?

Step 1 Preparation – The first step of the process is to determine what is required by the destination country. Is an original marriage certificate required or will a copy be accepted? Do they require any other documents, such as your divorce certificate (if this is for remarriage)? If they also request your divorce certificate, or other official documents, you will need to prepare those as well. Is the destination country an apostille signatory country? If not, you will need to consider having your documents legalized as well as apostilled (see Step 3 below).

Step 2 Document Apostille – Next, you’ll need to determine which government office has responsibility for apostilling documents from the province or territory where your documents originated.. The original marriage certificate will need to be submitted to the appropriate office with a request for apostille. You will also need to verify the requirements of the apostille office to ensure your documents meet these requirements. For example, Quebec requires a marriage certificate that was issued in the last five years.

Step 3 – Document Legalization – This step only applies for documents destined for non-apostille countries. Countries that have not signed the Hague Apostille Convention will likely require a final step of document legalization. The legalization is done at the embassy or consulate of the destination country. It is important to research the requirements in advance to ensure you meet their criteria for document legalization.

How can you order a new marriage certificate for apostille?

If you do not have the correct format of marriage certificate for the apostille process, you may need to order a new one. Your marriage certificate can be ordered from the province where the marriage took place. Not sure where to look? You can find the websites of each provincial office here: Apostille Canadian Vital Statistics Certificates. You can even have them sent directly to our office for the apostille.

How can we help with your marriage certificate apostille?

Whether you are looking for more information, or you would like assistance with the apostille of your marriage certificate, we can help. Supporting our clients to navigate the ins and outs of the process has been our business for over a decade. We would welcome the opportunity to speak with you about your documents and answer your questions. Call us toll free at 1-888-433-1011 or send us your questions through our quick Contact Us form. Our friendly staff will get back to you right away!

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