Authentication and Legalization of International Documents

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Are you applying for a job outside of Canada, and you need to provide your prospective employer with copies of your Canadian university transcripts and degree?

Or maybe you are living in Canada, but need to sign a power of attorney for use in another country?

Then you may need to have your documents authenticated and legalized!

What are authentication and legalization?

Authentication and legalization are the processes required to make documents notarized in Canada valid for use outside of Canada. This is the equivalent to apostille, which is not performed in Canada

When a document is authenticated, Global Affairs Canada in Ottawa or Official Document Services in Toronto verifies the notary's stamp and signature and issues a certificate of authenticity.

When a document is legalized, the consulate or embassy of the country in which the document is to be used verifies the certificate of authenticity of Global Affairs Canada or Official Document Services.

Do I need my documents authenticated and legalized?

Generally, when you need to use a document that has been notarized in Canada outside of Canada (for example, a power of attorney, a will or a certified true copy), you will probably need to have the document authenticated and legalized as well.

Some countries explicitly require certain documents issued in Canada (for example, university degrees, college diplomas, transcripts, visa applications and police background checks) to be authenticated and legalized before the country will accept them.

If you are not sure if your documents must be authenticated and legalized before you can use them in another country, ask the organization or institution to whom you are submitting the document. If you are working with a lawyer in that country, they may also be able to assist you. You can also contact the consulate or embassy of the country in which your documents will be used for help.

How do I get my documents authenticated and legalized?

Generally, there are three steps to authenticate and legalize a document:

  1. Notarization: A notary must notarize a copy of your document as a certified true copy.

  2. Authentication: Global Affairs Canada in Ottawa or Official Document Services in Toronto verifies the notary's stamp and signature and issues a certificate of authenticity.

  3. Legalization: The consulate or embassy of the country in which the document is to be used verifies the certificate of authenticity of Global Affairs Canada or Official Document Services.

It is important to note that each consulate and embassy has its own processes and requirements, and they may require additional steps, like application forms, appointments, multiple visits or specific methods of payment.

It’s also important to note that some consulates and embassies will only accept authentications from Global Affairs Canada, and some will accept authentications from both Global Affairs Canada or Official Document Services.

If you’re not sure what the processes or requirements are, contact the consulate or embassy for assistance.

What about apostille?

An apostille is an authentication of a public document that will be used in foreign countries. Simply put, you would want to get an apostille done on a document that you would be using in another country.

Only countries that are signatories of the 1961 Hague Convention perform apostille. Canada is not a signatory of the Hague Convention, which means apostille is not done in Canada. Instead, Canada uses the processes of authentication and legalization to validate documents for use outside of Canada. In a nutshell, authentication and legalization are equivalent to apostille.

Downtown Notary cannot perform apostille, but we do provide authentication and legalization services!

Can Downtown Notary help me with authentication and legalization?

Yes, we can! Save time and hassle with Downtown Notary's authentication and legalization services for international documents. We can provide you with all three steps - notarization, authentication and legalization - quickly and easily. There's no need to make multiple appointments for each service - we can do it all for you! For more information and a free quote, visit our authentication and legalization services page.

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