Do you need to get an important document ready for international use? There is a specialized process that must be followed to have your document officially recognized in a foreign country. Here are our answers to top international document legalization FAQs.
How do you get Canadian documents ready for international use?
Many countries use a process called “Apostille” to prove a document is genuine and legal for us outside the country of origin. Canada is not one of those countries, which means it is not possible to get an apostille certificate here. You must follow an equivalent process to prepare a document issued in Canada for use outside of Canada.
What is the Canadian equivalent to Apostille?
There is a three-step process to get the equivalent of an apostille certificate: preparation, authentication, and legalization. The process is quite complicated, but a lawyer or notary can help with this international document legalization procedure.
What is the procedure for international document legalization?
Here is an overview of the three-step process to get the equivalent of apostille:
- The first step is “preparation.” Documents often need to be notarized by a notary or lawyer before they can be sent for authentication. Translated documents will also require a certified, notarized translation for the purposes of authentication. The notary or lawyer affixes their notarial seal, confirming that your document and/or signature is genuine.
- The second step is “authentication.” Your notarized document will be sent to be authenticated by either the BC government (the BC Authentication Program) or Canadian government (Global Affairs Canada).
- The third step is “legalization.” Your notarized document bearing a certificate of authenticity from the relevant BC or Canadian authority is sent to be legalized by the appropriate Consulate or Embassy in BC (i.e., the local consulate or embassy of the country where you are planning to use the document). Your document will be inspected by a government official to ensure that the process was done properly. If so, they will attach a certificate of legalization.
Once the three-step process is complete, your document is valid and legal for use in a foreign country.
What types of documents require legalization?
Common examples of documents that may require authentication and legalization include Citizenship and Immigration documents, powers of attorney, birth certificates, death certificates, marriage certificates, diplomas, degrees, transcripts, affidavits, and statutory declarations.
Does the legalization process depend on the destination country?
Yes. Where you are planning to send the document matters. Foreign governments set their own requirements and there can be major differences from country to country. Our lawyer Maria Campos can assist you by verifying the relevant country’s requirements and ensuring that your document meets those government and consular specifications.
How do you start the international document legalization process?
The process of preparation, authentication, and legalization is quite complicated. If you are not sure where to start, contact us. We will provide you with a quote and explain how we can streamline the international document legalization process for you.