If you have a Canadian identification document that you need to use outside of Canada, in most cases it will require authentication and legalization. This process is the Canadian equivalent of the apostille; both processes do the same thing. Since identification documents are usually wallet sized and therefore too small to be stamped on the originals, documents such as passports or Driver’s Licenses need to be made into notarized copies with a Canadian lawyer or notary public to be valid for processing. It’s easy to forget that the whole point of authentication and legalization is to prove to a foreign authority that a Canadian document is real. At least in the case of passports, it is pretty easy to tell when a passport is real or fake. This is probably why passport copies are not usually required for international purposes; it’s easier just to show the originals. Many institutions such as airports and embassies already have devices and databases that allow them to check the validity of passports directly. Making a notarized copy to be authenticated and legalized can be redundant since there are many ways to check if a passport is real. It should be noted that passport copies, even notarized passport copies, are sometimes required by embassies in Canada if you have other documents you need to stamp. However, there are some cases when a requesting party overseas needs an authenticated and legalized copy of your passport for their purposes to keep on their files.
Notarizing a Canadian Passport for use Internationally
This isn’t always as easy as it seems. For most Canadian documents the process is simple: notarization by a Canadian lawyer or notary public, authentication by Global Affairs Canada, and legalization by the embassy of the country you will be using the document in. Some embassies, such as the Czech Republic embassy, do not process any sort of ID copy including passport copies. Other embassies such as Spain, also cannot process notarized copies of any ID documents and instead issue their own special copy directly at the embassy. This means the original passport has to be brought in to the embassy to be made into a copy that is legally valid for use in Spain. This is because, although notarization is often required for various documents, notarized copies of documents are not usually preferred when it comes to processing documents internationally. Foreign governments want to know for sure that your document is real, and as such the standard is to process original documents especially when it comes to documents like birth certificates, marriage certificates, police checks, degrees, and certain types of corporate documents. Whenever a notarized copy is made, it increases the possibility that it is a faulty copy made by some crooked lawyer or notary public. Thankfully, we do not have many of those in Canada, and Canada actually maintains one of the highest standards when it comes to the notarization of documents. Still, many embassies demand that originals of these documents be processed and sometimes this means you may not be able to process your passport in the manner your requesting party demands, since your original passport cannot be stamped; it is too small. If your requesting party has asked you to provide an apostille of your passport, attestation of your passport, or authentication and legalization of your passport, then make sure to check that the embassy of that country is comfortable stamping a notarized copy. If not, it is logistically impossible to process your document and you will have to find some alternative documentation the requesting party will accept overseas, if any. You will have to check this with your requesting party.
Canadian Passport Embassy Legalization Do’s & Don’ts
One final thing to note is that expired passports are very rarely accepted for processing. As Canadian Passports need to be valid when using internationally its best to check the date on yours to make sure it is not expired or expiring soon. If you need to apply or renew your passport to use internationally here is the link to the Government of Canada Passport Office. Most embassies and many foreign governments will not accept an expired passport even if it has been properly notarized, authenticated, and legalized. Make sure to check the expiry dates on your passport and have a new one issued if it will expire during the time you will be using it overseas. Note that processing your document may take up to a month depending on the embassy. Thankfully with our services you can substantially reduce the processing time and minimize delays.
In short, certain foreign processes may require that you Apostille, Authenticate and Legalize a copy of your passport. In order to do this you must obtain a notarized copy of your passport. Once made into a notarized copy it can be authenticated by Foreign Affairs Canada (DFATD/JLAC) here in Ottawa. Once authenticated it will allow for the legalization at the embassy for which country the passport is to be used which it will then be the equivalent to an Apostille Certificate. This may apply to other personal identity documents such as a driver’s licence, citizenship certificate card or any other government issued identification. Since many countries have strict rules for these type of documents to ensure the guaranteed quick and successful processing you should hire an expert to assist you. Should you need a passport see Passport Canada for more information about the process.
To find more information about the apostille, authentication or legalization of a passport for use outside Canada contact Authentication Legalization Services Canada. Canada’s first and foremost authentication and legalization service at 1-800-336-1132 toll free in North America or