Is your business looking to expand overseas? International business opportunities may be lucrative, but doing business globally can present some challenges. One challenge is ensuring corporate documents issued in Canada are accepted as legal and authentic in the target country.
Using Canadian corporate documents for international business
Companies registered in Canada that want to do business overseas or open a foreign subsidiary may be asked to provide a number of corporate documents. Examples include a Certificate of Incorporation, a Certificate of Good Standing, Directors’ Resolutions, Powers of Attorney, and a CRA Certificate of Residency for tax purposes. Officials in a foreign country will want assurance that these documents are legitimate.
Canadian version of “Apostille”
Corporate documents must go through a specialized process to deem them legally valid for use in a foreign jurisdiction. This process is called Apostille in many countries, but in Canada the process is called authentication and legalization. There are several steps to the process which depend on the type of document and the intended country of use, but the end result is the same: the equivalent of an Apostille certificate.
How to prepare your corporate documents
There are three steps to the process of getting the Canadian equivalent of an Apostille certificate: document preparation, authentication, and legalization. The first step is to order the necessary corporate documents from the appropriate authority (where you order the documents from depends on whether your company is federally or provincially incorporated). Document requirements vary from country to country. Before your documents are sent out for authentication and legalization, it may be necessary to obtain certified copies, have documents notarized by a Notary Public, or officially translated. An experienced professional can help you determine the target country’s unique requirements and avoid rejections/processing delays.
How to authenticate corporate documents
The second step is authentication. Once your documents are properly prepared, they must be sent for authentication by the correct authority. Global Affairs Canada authenticates most corporate documents, but in some cases, it may be necessary for BC Corporate Registry documents to go through the BC Authentication Program. Authentication confirms that the signature/seal of the official who signed the document is authentic. A document that has been authenticated will have a certificate of authentication attached to it.
How to legalize corporate documents
The third and final step is legalization. The authenticated document is sent to the local embassy or consulate of the country where you want to do business. An official will inspect the document to ensure the correct procedure was followed and verify that signatures are real. The official will then attach a certificate of legalization, which affirms that the document can be accepted as valid in that foreign country.
Looking to do business overseas?
Corporate documents will be rejected if you make mistakes in the process. Processing errors and unnecessary delay can be avoided when you work with an experienced commercial law professional. Invicta Law Corporation offers streamlined document validation services in Vancouver. Maria Campos LL.M. has assisted clients with attestation of corporate documents for use in many foreign countries. We can guide you through the process to get your corporate documents ready to do international business.