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Global Affairs Canada Authentication of Documents Explained

ALSC often receives questions about Global Affairs Canada Authentication of Documents. To clarify, any Canadian document intended for use outside the country, whether for personal or business purposes, must undergo Authentication and Legalization to make it legally valid for international use. This process must be followed even if an Apostille is requested.

Authentication and Legalization of Canadian Documents

The Authentication and Legalization process applies to various official Canadian documents, such as Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificates, Degrees, Police Checks, Power of Attorney, and Certificates of Incorporation or Origin. ALSC, Canada’s first document authentication service provider, has been assisting individuals and corporations for 30 years in authenticating all types of documents for international use. We leverage our expertise to make the process simple for you.

Apostille – Authentication and Legalization Equivalent

An Apostille is another method of validating documents for international use and is utilized in countries that have signed the Hague Convention Agreement. Unfortunately, Canada has not signed the agreement and thus, does not issue Apostille Certificates. Instead, Canada uses the internationally recognized equivalent, starting with Authentication at Global Affairs Canada, followed by Legalization at the embassy of the country in which the document will be used. Many embassies are located in Ottawa, near ALSC’s headquarters, enabling us to offer quicker processing times. The two-step process of Authentication and Legalization still applies when the country in which the document will be used is a signatory of the Hague Apostille Convention.

Apostille Countries and Global Affairs Canada Authentication

Over 120 countries follow the Apostille process, including Indonesia which joined in 2022, and more countries are added annually. A list of Apostille countries can be found here. Despite this, until Canada becomes a signatory, Canadian documents must undergo the two-step process of Authentication and Legalization for acceptance in any of these countries.

In conclusion, if an Apostille is requested for a Canadian document, the process of Authentication and Legalization at Global Affairs Canada must be completed for it to be accepted as an equivalent in a foreign country.

Global Affairs Canada Authentication: Verifying Official Signatures

The Authentication Services Section at Global Affairs Canada in Ottawa is responsible for authenticating Canadian documents for use abroad. This department was previously known as the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD / JLAC). The process involves verifying that the official signature on the document is genuine by consulting their registry. Once the signature is verified, the document is stamped, sealed, and signed with Global Affairs Canada’s official stamp.

Requirements for Document Authentication

Documents must meet certain requirements before they can be authenticated. However, if you choose to work with our services, we guarantee that your document will meet the necessary requirements and will be authenticated.

Navigating Government Red Tape

With Global Affairs Canada’s current processing time of 15+ business days and 25-30 business days for a status update, navigating government bureaucracy can be a challenge. Our experienced team has been helping clients for years and we’re here to make the process as smooth as possible. To find out Global Affairs Canada’s current authentication processing time click here.

How ALSC Can Help You

  • Guaranteed Authentication at Global Affairs Canada

  • Strict procedures to ensure the security of your document

  • We personally go to Global Affairs Canada for you

  • Our Order Status Tracker ensures a worry free experience

Types Of Documents Global Affairs Canada Authenticates

Global Affairs Canada authenticates all types of documents. Below is a list of some of the more common ones. If you don’t see your document listed below speak with one our friendly specialists they will be able to provide you more information.

  • Adoption
  • Affidavits
  • Agent Authorization Letter
  • Assignments
  • Birth Certificate
  • CPP Certificate
  • Commercial Invoice
  • Certificate of Free Sale
  • Certificate of Origin
  • Corporate Documents
  • Court documents
  • Death Certificate
  • Degree, Diploma Transcripts
  • Divorce Certificate
  • GMP Certificate
  • Health Canada Certificates
  • Medical Device Licence
  • International Trade Certificates
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Passport
  • Police Check
  • Power of Attorney
  • Property Deeds
  • Teachers Certificate

Authentication of Document FAQ’s

The actual authentication of a document is quick. Once the Global Affairs Canada Authentication Agent has verified the official signature it is as quick as a few stamps and a signature so about 2 minutes. This answer usually makes many of our client’s ask, “why does it take 15 business days or more then?” Good question and one we have been asking ourselves more often lately as things get back to normal with other government services. To keep people up to date Global Affairs Canada does post a monthly estimated average processing time which for the month of September is 15 business days. If dealing with them directly they also do not respond to request or the confirmation of receipt of your document until 25-30 business days after you have sent it.  

If you need to validate a Canadian document for official use in a foreign country, it is important to get it right the first time. Time is often of the essence for our clients, and waiting 25-30 business days for Global Affairs Canada to respond is not always feasible. At ALSC, we offer faster service solutions and our experts can save you time and money with shipping. Our ALSC order status tracker and email updates keep you informed throughout the process, providing peace of mind. By choosing ALSC authentication services, you can avoid frustration and delays associated with waiting for Global Affairs Canada to confirm receipt or authentication issues with your document. Our team of international document experts provides exceptional customer service and can answer any questions you may have. This is what sets ALSC apart from navigating the public service on your own – our clients want an expert to guide them.

Unfortunately, no due to Global Affairs Canada’s temporary operating rules it makes it impossible for us to offer our 1, 3 or 10-day Authentication Service. So, for now we will only be offering one speed of service based on their current authentication processing times learn more here

No, they can either authenticate the original document, if it has an official signature recognized by Global Affairs Canada or a notarized copy made by a Canadian Notary. The authentication process requires the document to be physically present because it is reliant on the official signature on the document and not the content of the document. What Global Affairs Canada is doing when authenticating a document is verifying the official signature on your document and confirming it matches the one in their registry. If the document is a digital scan or photocopy there is no real signature to authenticate only a copy of a signature. If you need help with sending your document to us for authentication, simply ask your ALSC agent about our easy shipping solutions.

When using a document internationally it’s important to check with the requesting party in-country for requirements to find out the correct type of document that you need. In most cases, they will need you to provide your document in a certain format style or the original document itself. To reiterate, in no way can a digital scan or photocopy of a document be authenticated with Global Affairs Canada.

In some cases, you may want to make a notarized copy of your original Canadian document in order to keep your original document in pristine shape for use in the future. For those clients that must have their Canadian documents notarized, it is because their document does not have an official signature on it that is recognized by Global Affairs Canada. In these cases, you will need to have your document notarized by a Canadian Notary. This is a service we can provide if you send the Original Document to our office. Simply ask your ALSC agent about our notarization service.

In order to use your notarized document internationally, the document must go through a few more government steps to be validated. The first of these steps is to have the Notary Public’s signature authenticated at Global Affairs Canada. All registered Canadian Notaries have their signatures on file with Global Affairs Canada. Therefore, all English or French documents that have been Notarized by a Canadian Notary can be authenticated if it is for use internationally. As this question comes up often and with so much misleading information about this on the internet, we thought it important to hear it from the experts at ALSC.

The simple answer is, Yes, it does matter. Global Affairs Canada will only authenticate a foreign language document if a notarized translation in English or French has been prepared by a certified Canadian translator. This problem comes up often for our clients which is why we help with translation services. If this is you simply speak with one of our ALSC agents, they will be able to assist with the fastest and most economical way to have your foreign language document authenticated.

To get started with the translation of your foreign language document for the authentication and legalization process in Canada is easy with ALSC. All we require is a scan of the original notarized foreign language document for review as fees are determined on a per word basis. In the rare case where we are unable to assist because of the availability of a translator in the language required for your document, we will quickly let you know. In most cases we will be able to help, responding back with our quote for translation services with the required notary fee and the authentication and legalization service fees to complete the process.

No, all documents are authenticated by the Global Affairs Canada Authentication Services Section located in Ottawa which is near our ALSC National Office. Our ALSC Service Centers in Victoria, Vancouver, Surrey, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Winnipeg, Toronto, Mississauga, North York, Montreal, and Halifax are to assure our clients’ regional ease of access to authentication services across Canada with free FedEx shipping saving them both time and money.

If you want to use one of our ALSC Service Center, submit a request a personal quote or call our toll free number at 1-800-336-1132 Monday to Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM to speak to a friendly agent at our Ottawa National Office. We generally require 1-hour notice to set up an appointment for you at any of our Service Center locations. Once this has been done you are ready to drop off your ALSC order form, documents, and embassy requirements if necessary, at the ALSC Service Center most convenient to you. The reception staff will be waiting for you to ship the document overnight to our National Office in Ottawa, where it will be processed. Now we do our part, first updating you by email that your document has been received by our Ottawa National Office for processing. In the email, we will provide you a file number so you can keep up to date using our Order Status Tracker.

Upon completion of the process, we will update you by email that your document on its way back by ALSC Service Center. After FedEx delivers the package you will be notified by email and you can pick up your completed document at our ALSC Service Center at your convenience Monday to Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM, it’s that easy.


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