Some countries use apostille certificates to validate public documents issued by one country for use in another country. In Canada, there is a different process to validate a document such as a birth certificate or marriage certificate for use abroad. The process is called “authentication and legalization”.
What is an apostille certificate?
The Hague Apostille Convention is an international treaty that came into effect in 1965 to streamline the process for using documents internationally. Any country that has signed onto the Convention can issue an “apostille certificate” which means that the document is legally certified for use in any country that has also signed the Convention. Canada, however, is not one of the countries that has signed the Hague Apostille Convention, so apostille certificates are not available in Canada.
How to get the equivalent of an apostille certificate in Canada
Instead of apostille certificates, Canada uses an internationally recognized process called “authentication and legalization.” This involves two steps:
- First, your document must be sent to the Authentication Services Section of Global Affairs Canada. It must be an original document bearing a recognized signature and seal, if applicable. Authentication proves that the signature and the seal on the document are genuine. Once Global Affairs Canada confirms the authenticity of your document, the document is stamped as authenticated. Note that your document may need to be notarized before it can be sent for authentication—contact a BC notary public to find out how to prepare your document for authentication.
- Second, your document must be sent to be legalized by the consulate or embassy of the receiving country (that is, the country where you want to use the document). The Canadian office of the foreign consulate or embassy verifies that the Global Affairs Canada authentication stamp on your document is valid (and that your document meets other requirements, which vary from country to country). When satisfied, the embassy or consulate of the receiving country stamps or certifies the face of your document, confirming legalization.
Once your document has been authenticated and legalized, it is valid for use in another country and legally recognized in the same manner as an apostilled document.
Contact Invicta Law Corporation if you need the equivalent of an apostille certificate for your Canadian document. We can guide you through the authentication and legalization process to get your documents approved for international use, whether for personal or business affairs. We also provide a full range of notarial services.