Have you been told that you need to “apostille” a Canadian document? In this post, we explain what that means and why legalization is necessary if you plan to use Canadian documents internationally.
Why is apostille necessary?
Cross-border travel, international business transactions, and immigration are all on the rise. We live in an increasingly mobile world. That means more occasions where documents originating in one country need to be relied on in another country. A foreign authority such as a government, court, or tribunal needs assurance that the document is legal and not fraudulent. It may refuse to accept a document without a guarantee that the document is authentic.
What is apostille?
Apostille is a way to validate a document for international use. The apostille process certifies the authenticity of a public document issued in one country so that it will be accepted for legal use abroad. Here is how apostille works: (1) the document is examined by a designated authority in the state where the public document was produced, and (2) once the designated authority is satisfied of the authenticity of the signature/stamp/seal on the document, they will issue an Apostille certificate. If you are curious, click here for a sample of what an apostille certificate looks like.
How do you get an apostille certificate in Canada?
The term “apostille” comes from the Hague Apostille Convention, an international treaty signed by over 120 countries. Unfortunately, Canada has not signed on to the Hague Apostille Convention. That means it is technically not possible to get an apostille certificate issued in Canada. Despite that, the term “apostille” is commonly used here— and that can create a lot of confusion when it comes to validating Canadian documents for use abroad.
How do you validate Canadian documents for international use?
In Canada, we have a process to get the equivalent of apostille. “Legalization” is the name of the Canadian apostille process. It is a specialized procedure, which actually involves three separate steps: notarization, authentication, and legalization. Once the three steps are completed, your Canadian document is validated for use overseas. There is an important difference between a document that has been apostilled and a document that has gone through the Canadian equivalent of apostille: a public document that has been legalized will only be officially recognized in the particular country for which it was legalized. That is because the Canadian legalization process requires the document to be inspected and “cleared” by an official at the local consulate or embassy of the specific country in which you intend to use it (e.g. the Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in Vancouver for a document you wish to rely on in China).
Trusted help with validating Canadian documents internationally
We offer Canadian apostille services in Vancouver to clarify and streamline the process for you. Apostille services at Invicta Law Corporation are provided by Maria Campos LL.M. We have assisted clients with foreign public and private documents from 100s of countries. We can guide you through the three-step process to get your documents ready for international use.