As Canada is still not a member of the Apostille agreement people using Canadian documents internationally should know the differences so our experts thought this article would help. You have probably heard the terms Apostille, Authentication and Legalization before. But what is the difference between these three? Well, let’s start with Apostille.
What does Apostille mean?
The Apostille Treaty or The Hague Apostille Convention is an international treaty on Private International Law. It specifies the process through which a document issued in one of the signatory countries can be certified for legal purposes in all the other signatory countries. Such a certification is called an Apostille. It is an international certification comparable to a notarization in domestic law, and normally supplements a local notarization of the document. What does that mean for you? It means that a document with an Apostille stamp will be legal for use in every other country that has signed the Apostille Treaty.
How can I get an Apostille In Canada?
Now there are a lot of countries that have not signed the Apostille Treaty, Canada is one of them. Countries that have not signed the Apostille Treaty still use the original process of making a document valid for legal purposes in other countries that is called authentication and legalization. This is where Authentication Legalization Services Canada steps in to help. Let me help explain the terms Authentication and Legalization for you.
Global Affairs Canada Document Authentication Services in Ottawa
Authentication stands for the verification of the genuineness of a document or signature, to make it effective or valid. In Canada this can only be done at Global Affairs Canada Authentication Services Section located here in Ottawa and takes 20+ business days. Once satisfied Global Affairs Canada will put their stamp and signature on the document and in doing so will confirm the authority of a public official like a notary public.
Consulate Document Legalization in Canada
The second step is legalization, which is the process of making an authenticated document valid for use in another country. This can only be done at the consulate of the country in which the document will be used and after the document has been authenticated by Global Affairs Canada. Every embassy has its own specific requirements when it comes to legalizing a document. After accepting the document and its requirements, the consulate will verify the authentication stamp of Global Affairs Canada and stamp, seal and/or sign the document. After which the document is valid for legal purposes in the country that legalized the document. As it is not always understood I will add that the steps of authentication and legalization from Global Affairs Canada and the consulate do not validate the content of the document, only the authority of the public official that previously signed the document.
Is Apostille the same as Authentication and Legalization in Canada?
To summarize the above, an Apostille certification will make your document valid for legal purposes in all other signatory countries. Authentication and Legalization will make your document valid for legal purposes only in the country of which the consulate has legalized the document. The important thing to remember is that when you have your document authenticated and legalized it is the equivalent of an Apostille certification.
We understand that authenticating and legalizing your document can be confusing as well as time consuming. If you need to Apostille, Authenticate and Legalize your personal or corporate document we can help