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The challenges with validating Canadian documents for use abroad

If you have had to use Canadian documents outside of Canada you can probably still remember the complicated process you have to go through. If you’re unfamiliar, you have to have your Canadian documents authenticated and legalized before they can be used in a foreign country. As the name suggests, it is a two step validation process to ensure your documents are legitimate. Authentication takes place at Global Affairs Canada and legalization takes place at the embassy of the country where you need to use your Canadian documents. There are numerous requirements that need to be met at both steps but the second step of legalization is where things really get complicated, and where many of our clients throw in their towel and ask us to bring ours. These requirements can include supporting documentation, identification documents, translations, special forms of payment, and changing fees. In addition to extensive requirements and fees, embassies are often very hard to get in contact with if you are not attending in person. This is because most embassies are usually swamped with similar requests year-round, especially during the peak season in the summer. This can make it very difficult to get the necessary clarification to properly submit your documents for legalization without any issues. It also makes it very hard to resolve any issues if they arise and in some cases the staff at the embassy simply do not have the time to reach out to you and explain why your documents are being delayed or rejected! In the 25 years we have been providing this service we have seen documents rejected for an almost endless amount of reasons. However, one of the most frequent is the sudden change in requirements and fees that can occur daily at some embassies. This begs two questions: why do embassy requirements change? And more importantly, what can you do to accommodate these sudden changes and make sure your Canadian documents get legalized on time?

Why do embassy legalization requirements change?

There are many reasons why embassy requirements change. However, the three most common reasons are changes in consular staff, changes in currency exchange rates, and occasional adjustments to protect against fraud. Indeed, legalization usually takes place at the consular section of any given embassy. The consular section is the division of the embassy which serves the public directly, and is in many cases the primary source of income that allows the embassy to continue its operations. While many embassies do get funding from their parent country, charging fees for things such as document legalizations, visas, translations, and even notarizations help keep the costs down for the taxpayers back home. This why some embassies charge up to hundreds of dollars per document legalization and why they often fluctuate due to the exchange rate between the Canadian dollar and whatever currency the embassy’s country uses. When it comes to other requirements such as payment methods, supporting documents, translations etc., these are usually left up to the discretion of the consul, the signing authority at the consular section of the embassy. This can be both a blessing and a curse as the consul often has the power to look past some minor missing requirements but also demand additional requirements at the last minute. To be clear, the majority of embassies and their consuls are very strict with their process for legalization. It is much more likely that you will be asked to provide a new requirement at the time of submission than granted permission to submit your documents with incomplete requirements. Since embassy staff tend to change every few years (or less), this inevitably brings changes to their legalization process as a new consul assumes his or her post. Finally, as there are many people who attempt to process fraudulent documents or payments through the embassy, requirements tend to change to accommodate the loopholes that allow for such criminal activities to occur. Unfortunately, the additional requirements embassies put in place to protect themselves from criminal exploiters often makes legalization substantially more difficult for the average person. When you are trying to get your documents legalized for use overseas and keep struggling with extensive requirements, remember that they are there for a very good reason.

How can I legalize my Canadian document at the embassy?

Getting your document ready for legalization is a genuine challenge. So much so that it is a large part of why we exist. Indeed, without an expert who is physically able to attend to the embassy on your behalf, the likelihood of successfully legalizing your document alone can be a test of patience, even on the second or third try. Changes in requirements and fees can be very common and even cause issues for the experts! The primary reason our services are so effective is that we have built strong professional relationships with the consular staff at dozens of embassies in Ottawa and across Canada in our over 25 years of operation. This allows us to be up to date on all changing requirements and fees as well as resolve any issues at the embassy as they arise. The reputation we have built also makes us one of their preferred clients; they know that we always have our documents perfectly organized and present it to them in their preferred manner. This allows us to provide the highest quality service available in our industry to you, our client. In addition, we are able to save you up to 20 business days of processing time with our priority same business day authentication service. As your partner, our agents are available at all times during our operating hours to answer your questions via phone or email and provide you with detailed updates at every step of the process. Our A+ rating with the BBB, proud membership with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and dozens of verified 5-star reviews on Facebook and Google prove that we have remained the leaders of our industry since we became the first to provide this service over two decades ago. If you have Canadian documents that you need to legalize at an embassy for use overseas, contact us. Authentication and legalization is stress free with ALSC!

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