Understand the Authentication Process with Global Affairs Canada: A Simplified Guide
Are you looking to use a Canadian document abroad? Global Affairs Canada’s Authentication Services Section provides a crucial step in the process, verifying the authenticity of the signature of a public official on the document. But with different requirements and exceptions, navigating the authentication process can be overwhelming. To make things easier, this guide simplifies the Global Affairs Canada authentication requirements for Canadian documents that need to be used abroad.
Global Affairs Canada’s Authentication Services Section provides authentication services for Canadian documents that might be needed when used abroad. Authentication confirms the authenticity of the signature of a public official on the document. Some countries also call it apostille. After authentication, the document may need to be legalized by the authorities of the destination country. To see if your document needs authentication, check with the authority requesting the document or the embassy of the country where the document will be used. Not all countries require authentication of Canadian documents.
To use a Canadian document abroad, it might need to be translated if it’s written in a language other than English or French. A certified, notarized translation is needed, which can be done by a certified translator or a Canadian notary public who speaks both languages. There are some exceptions, such as Canadian university diplomas written in Greek or Latin.
Global Affairs Canada cannot authenticate some documents, such as photocopies, religious documents, foreign origin documents, or documents issued by unrecognized institutions. If the content of the document is misleading or it may be used for fraudulent or illegal purposes, the authentication may be declined.
There is no fee for the authentication service. The average processing time is 15 business days from the day the request is received, but it may take longer if additional information is needed or if the signature is not on file. Processing time may also fluctuate depending on work volume and other factors. Expedited services are not offered, but priority processing may be considered for exceptional and urgent circumstances.
Most of the documents processed by Global Affairs Canada’s Authentication Services Section are issued by provincial or territorial authorities. Contact your province or territory for more information on their authentication services.
Accepted Documents & Processing Rules
Adoption papers: If you’re adopting a child, the papers you need must be notarized. This includes adoption agreements, certificates, and related forms.
Apprenticeship and trade certificates: These certificates must be notarized.
Bank documents: Bank statements and financial records must be notarized.
Birth certificate: Birth certificates are issued by a government office and don’t need to be notarized. However, if you need a copy, it must come from the government office. We can’t authenticate birth certificates that are notarized, issued by religious institutions, or pocket-sized.
Burial or cremation documents: Burial and cremation documents must be notarized and you’ll need to include a death certificate from a government office. We’ll authenticate burial permits, cremation certificates, and funeral home documents.
Business or corporate records: Business records, like invoices and bylaws, must be notarized.
Canadian Food Inspection Agency certificates: These certificates don’t need to be notarized.
Canadian Intellectual Property Office certificates: Certificates from CIPO don’t need to be notarized if they have an original signature or seal. If they don’t, they must be notarized.
Certificate of free sale: Only certificates from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency can be authenticated as is. Others must be notarized.
Certificates of Origin: Certificates from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce that are issued electronically don’t need to be notarized. Others must be notarized.
College or university diplomas: Diplomas from Canadian schools don’t need to be notarized.
College or university letters: Letters like enrollment or graduation must be notarized.
College or university transcripts: Transcripts from Canadian schools don’t need to be notarized if they’re signed by the registrar.
Commemorative certificates: We don’t authenticate certificates for events like citizenship, birthdays, or marriage.
Coroner’s certificate: These certificates must be notarized and you’ll need to include a death certificate from a government office.
Corporations Canada documents: Papers from Corporations Canada don’t need to be notarized if they have an original signature or seal. If they don’t, they must be notarized.
Course certificate: Only certificates from Canadian schools that are recognized by the government can be authenticated. They must be notarized.
Court documents: Court orders or judgments from Canada don’t need to be notarized if they have an original seal, signature, and judge’s name. Other court papers must be notarized.
Criminal record check: Papers from the RCMP in Ottawa don’t need to be notarized if they have the signature of the Director General and the RCMP seal. Papers from other police agencies must be notarized.
A death certificate is a document that shows that someone has passed away. It must be issued by a government office that keeps track of vital statistics. It does not have to be notarized. If you need a copy, it must be from the same office and cannot be notarized. We cannot authenticate certificates from religious institutions or funeral homes, even if they are notarized.
A delivery verification certificate confirms that a shipment of goods or technology has arrived at its intended destination. We only authenticate certificates from the government of Canada and they don’t have to be notarized.
A divorce certificate proves that a couple is legally divorced and can now remarry. It must be signed by a court clerk and doesn’t have to be notarized.
A domestic partnership certificate shows that two people are in a committed relationship. It must be issued by a government office and can’t be notarized.
Diplomas from elementary or high schools in Canada must be notarized and only those recognized by a provincial or territorial ministry of education will be authenticated.
Report cards or transcripts from Canadian educational institutions must be notarized and recognized by a provincial or territorial ministry of education.
Export permits from the government of Canada don’t have to be notarized. Laws and regulations from the federal government can be authenticated if they are signed by the clerk of the parliament and don’t have to be notarized. Other copies of laws and regulations must be notarized. Fingerprint forms must be notarized.
Foreign public documents don’t usually have to be authenticated for use in Canada, but it depends on the organization or authority they will be submitted to. If they need to be authenticated, you can email Global Affairs Canada with the proof and an explanation. They will respond within 5 business days. Global Affairs Canada does not authenticate foreign documents for use abroad.
Licenses from Health Canada, such as product or establishment licenses, can be authenticated if they have an original signature or seal. If they don’t, they must be notarized.
Canadian identity documents, such as a driver’s license or passport, must be notarized if they need to be authenticated. Citizenship certificates from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada don’t have to be notarized, but other immigration certificates or documents must be notarized.
International import certificates from the government of Canada don’t have to be notarized. Language school certificates from recognized institutions in Canada must be notarized. Letters from educational institutions in Canada must be notarized and recognized by a provincial or territorial ministry of education.
Marriage certificates must be issued by a government office and can’t be notarized. Copies cannot be notarized and certificates from religious institutions or pocket-sized certificates cannot be authenticated.
Medical Documents: If you want to get your medical documents verified, like a doctor’s note or prescription, they need to be signed by a notary public. However, we can’t verify documents like hospital-issued birth certificates. For more information, check the Birth Certificate section.
Name Change Certificates: We can verify name change certificates issued by a government office in charge of vital statistics. But, these certificates don’t need to be signed by a notary public. If you need a copy, it must come directly from the vital statistics office.
Other Government Documents: Documents from the Canadian government or any Canadian province or territory that aren’t listed on this page must be signed by a notary public. If you have questions about documents not listed, please contact us. Examples of these documents include Canada Revenue Agency documents, Service Canada documents, and certificates from other federal departments and agencies.
Private Legal Documents: Private legal documents, such as wills, powers of attorney, and affidavits, must be signed by a notary public.
Professional Certificates: If you have a professional certificate issued by the Society of Notaries Public of British Columbia, the Chambre des Notaires of Quebec, or a law society in any Canadian province or territory, it doesn’t need to be signed by a notary public. All other professional certificates must be signed by a notary public.
Proof of Life: Proof of life documents, also known as life certificates, must be signed by a notary public. If the document is written in a language other than English or French, you must also provide a certified and notarized translation. If the document is related to a foreign pension benefit and no longer than half a page, a translation is not required.
Record of Employment: We can verify records of employment, but they must be signed by a notary public.
International Judicial Assistance: We can verify letters for international judicial assistance. If the letter is signed by a judge or clerk of the court, it doesn’t need to be signed by a notary public.
Shipment Documents: If you want to verify shipment documents, like a letter of contents, they must be signed by a notary public. If the shipment includes human remains, you must also provide a death certificate issued by a vital statistics office.
Vaccination Attestations: Vaccination attestations, like COVID ones, must be signed by a notary public. However, we suggest checking with your destination country if authentication is actually required. We may refuse to verify these documents if we receive confirmation that authentication is not needed.
In conclusion, it is important to understand the authentication requirements for Canadian documents when using them abroad. Global Affairs Canada provides authentication services to confirm the authenticity of public official signatures and help make sure your document is accepted in other countries. While there are some restrictions on what documents can be authenticated and translation may be required, the process is straightforward but can also be confusing. To ensure a smooth and efficient process, it is advisable to check with the requesting authority or the embassy of the destination country to determine if authentication is needed and to familiarize yourself with any additional requirements.