How to Legally Authenticate Your Canadian Documents

Ted Cameron 2016-03-21 12:00:00

If you plan to travel outside of Canada and will have to show or use any of your Canadian documents, you will need to have them authenticated so that they are the equivalent of an Apostille document. Because Canada did not sign the Apostille Treaty that became effective in 1965, any documents from this country must meet other standards and be officially authenticated and legalized before some countries will recognize them as valid.

Some of the types of documents that some people have authenticated include Powers of Attorney, academic degrees and diplomas, Birth Certificates, Death Certificates, Marriage Certificates, Certificates of Divorce, Certificates of Origin, Certificates of Incorporation, police checks, and Adoption Certificates. Consulates and embassies of foreign countries will ask for authentication certificates to make sure that the documents you present to them are valid.  

If you choose to mail your documents in to Global Affairs Canada, the Canadian office that provides document authentication, it will take approximately 25 business days starting from the date the office receives the documents. You must also send a pre-addressed, stamped return envelope and a filled-out EXT 2165 form. If you send documents missing either of these things the staff there will not authenticate them and will return everything by regular mail.

If you would like your documents returned faster, you do have other options. You may deliver it in person or have someone else deliver it for you.

1.    Get in touch with the proper embassy or consulate and ask about the requirements. If they say your documents need an Apostille stamp, you will have to get them authenticated and legalized.

2.    Get your document(s) commissioned or notarized by someone authorized to do so in the province where you live.

3.    Mail in your documents with the proper form and stamped return envelope, deliver it in person, or have a company that specializes in this procedure deliver your documents to Global Affairs Canada Authentication Services Section in Ottawa. They will inspect your documents and verify the authenticity of the seal and signature on the document; they do not, however, verify the authenticity of the document's content. If they believe that the documents might be used for a fraudulent purpose, they will not provide the authentication service. The documents must meet certain requirements in order for them to be authenticated.

4.    To get your documents legalized, you must take them to the specific foreign embassy in Canada (the embassy of the country where you plan to use the documents). Each embassy will have its own procedure for legalizing documents. Once this is done, you will be able to use your documents in that country once you arrive.

1.    Make sure all documents being authenticated have a clearly legible signature; if not, the name of the person who signed it must be included.

2.    All letters must be notarized.

3.    School transcripts and diplomas will be accepted without being notarized.

4.    High school or elementary school diplomas and transcripts must be signed by the Principal or Vice Principal of the school that issued the document.

5.    The name, title, and full signature must be on all diplomas and transcripts.

6.    Certified true copies of all types of documents will be accepted for authentication.

7.    All parts of the stamp and/or seal and the signature of the commissioner or notary public must be clearly shown on the same page of the document to be authenticated.

8.    The notary public or commissioner must be registered, and the sale and/or stamp and name has to be identical to the ones on file.

9.    Global Affairs Canada will attach the authentication certificate to your documents. If you have several documents to be authenticated, more than 7 mm (1/4 inch) thick, you have to punch two holes in the top-left corner so they can attache the authentication certificate.

Back to list