document apostille authentication legalizations steps Canada

In the world of validating official documents for use abroad, there are a lot of things that can go wrong. This is why our services are so popular: we protect against the common delays, mistakes, and misinformation that our clients would otherwise face when processing their Canadian documents for use overseas. In fact, our service guarantees that your Canadian documents will be valid for use overseas. In other words, we guarantee that your documents will be valid for use in the country of your choosing. However, we do not guarantee they will be accepted by your requesting party or foreign authority. This is something which must be coordinated between you and the requesting party or authorities in the country where you will be using your Canadian documents. Unfortunately, there have been instances where individuals have had their Canadian documents rejected abroad by their foreign constituents. This is usually due to missing supporting documents, missing details in the completed documents, missing a deadline, a conflict with in country laws, or in some cases a misunderstanding of the authentication and legalization process. Indeed, there are over 150 countries which use the apostille process which is equivalent to authentication and legalization. Authentication and legalization was actually used by those same countries prior to the Hague Apostille Convention. Canada has not signed the convention which is why they still use authentication and legalization. In some cases, requesting parties in apostille countries are completely unaware of authentication and legalization or how it works. This can cause some confusion and stress but there is an easy fix: hire an experienced expert like ALSC to help you

The main difference between the apostille process and authentication and legalization is how complex they are. Both involve validating signatures of an authority. The apostille process verifies the signature of a lawyer, notary public, and select government officials from other countries. Alternatively, authentication involves validating the signature of a Canadian lawyer, notary public, or select government official by Global Affairs Canada, and then legalization involves the consul at the consular section of a foreign embassy validating the signature from Global Affairs Canada. An apostille is valid for use in any other country which also uses the apostille system. Authenticated and legalized documents can only be used in the country whose embassy legalized the document, regardless of if they use the apostille or other process such as attestation used by many Gulf Countries. It is no surprise then that we have had some clients turn back to us after their requesting party said “I cannot accept this document because I do not see where the lawyer put his/her apostille statement”. If this is what happened to you, explain to your requesting party that the lawyer’s (or other) signature was verified by Global Affairs Canada, whose signature was then validated at the consular section of the appropriate embassy. These details are written in the Global Affairs Canada stamps themselves as well as on the legalization statements. Note that the statements on legalization stamps are often written in the appropriate foreign language.

If there are additional errors beyond those outlined above, it is very likely you will have to start the process again. If you are in a rush or already outside of Canada, contact our office immediately as we can save you 20 business days of processing time. We will ensure your documents are ready for international use in no time.

Your Document Can Be Declined Authentication at Global Affairs Canada

The first step to make your Canadian documents valid for use overseas is called authentication. Authentication takes place at Global Affairs Canada and, as mentioned, they verify the signatures of authorities such as Canadian lawyers, notary public’s, and select members of the provincial and federal government. There is an almost endless list of reasons why your document might be rejected by Global Affairs Canada for authentication. Some of the most common reasons include: your document is not Canadian, your document was issued by a funeral home or religious institution, your document does not contain a signature valid for authentication, your document is too small, your document has not been properly notarized, your document does not mean the necessary language requirements, your document is a photocopy, or your document has been excessively damaged. These are just a few of the most common reasons documents are rejected at Global Affairs Canada. Assuming your document is ready for authentication at Global Affairs Canada, you will still have to wait up to 20 business days for them to authenticate it plus the time it will take to ship back to you. When you choose our services we make sure your documents meet the requirements at Global Affairs Canada and can even have your documents authenticated on the same business day they arrive at our office. Not only that but we can ship them at a competitive price via courier anywhere in the world. Don’t waste any more time and get started with the experts!

Canadian Document Not Accepted at Embassy for Legalization

The second step to make your Canadian documents valid for use overseas is called legalization. Legalization takes place at the consular section of the embassy of the country in which you wish to use your documents. As mentioned earlier, your document is only valid for use in the country you legalized your documents for. If you want to use your Canadian documents in multiple countries, you will have to have your Canadian document legalized multiple times at their respective embassies. Although legalization can be faster than authentication, it can be much more difficult. Embassies will only accept your documents once you have met their extensive requirements and paid their fees, which tend to change. What can be particularly stressful is the fact that acceptance for legalization at the embassy is fundamentally decided by the consul, the signing authority. If he or she feels uncomfortable signing your documents for whatever reason, they have the right not to do so at most embassies. This means that new requirements can be implemented at any time at the discretion of the consul. As such, there is an even longer list of reasons why your authenticated Canadian document might be rejected for legalization at the embassy. Common reasons include: missing or incorrect requirements, improper presentation of documents, problematic content in the documents, incorrect fees provided, improper authentication, improper notarization, conflict with laws within country, and other details which may make the document invalid for use abroad even if legalized correctly. The best protection against these common causes of rejection and their resulting delays are to hire us, the experts, to legalize your documents on your behalf. We have worked with over a hundred embassies and consulates in Ottawa and across Canada for over 25 years and have developed strong professional relationships with their consular staff. We are trusted, respected, and recognized. This makes it very easy for us to resolve these issues as they arise, especially since many embassies are impossible to reach if you do not attend in person. The result is the highest quality of service to our clients available in our industry. Click below to get started and avoid unnecessary delays! 

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