Apostille or Authentication – Why and What’s the difference?

Apostille or Authentication why am I being asked to do it and what’s the difference are questions that we hear often from our clients here at Authentication Legalization Services Canada (ALSC). To help explain Canadian documents being used outside the country, for personal or business affairs, must go through the two step process of authentication of documents and legalization to make them valid for use internationally. The process of authentication and legalization must also be followed in order for a Canadian document to be accepted as the equivalent to an Apostille Seal. We talk more about this below as many of our clients have been asked to get one for their Canadian document only to discover that it’s not possible. The Authentication and Legalization process applies to a Canadian Birth Certificate, Marriage Certificate, Degree, Police Check, Power of Attorney, Certificate of Incorporation or Certificate of Origin to name a few official documents that maybe used in a foreign country. As Canada’s first service provider Authentication Legalization Services Canada has been helping people and corporations for 25 years authenticate and legalize all types of documents for use internationally, feel free to speak to one of our friendly specialists about yours.

Apostille Canada – The Authentication Legalization Equivalency

Outside of Canada another commonly used method to have a document validated for use internationally is to get an Apostille stamp. This is the process used when both countries have signed the Hague Apostille Convention Agreement. If you want to find out more about the Hague Convention agreement see more about it here. It outlines the process and helps explains that it is a new method adopted by a group of countries to validate documents for use internationally, although Canada is still not a member. Since Canada has not signed the Hague Apostille Convention Agreement it does not issue Apostille Certificates. Instead the Canadian government uses the older internationally recognized equivalent that starts with the first step of Authentication of Documents at the Department of Global Affairs Canada located near our ALSC Ottawa national headquarters. The second step of document legalization takes place at the embassy of the country in which the document will be used which once again most are located here in Ottawa close to our headquarters which gives our clients the benefit of quicker processing. The two steps of authentication and legalization to validate a Canadian document internationally still applies when the country where the document will be used has signed the Hague Apostille Convention agreement.

 All Countries Require Authentication of Documents Canada

Here are some of the countries who use the Apostille process and may specifically ask you to get one for your Canadian document. These countries include Albania, Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan, Mauritius, Mexico, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States and Venezuela. It’s important to remember that if you have been asked to get an Apostille for your Canadian document the two steps of authentication and legalization must be completed in order for it to be accepted as the equivalent in one of the countries mentioned. Now that we have covered what an Apostille is and who uses them, let’s talk about the authentication of documents in Canada the first step in having your Canadian document accepted internationally.

Types of Documents ALSC Authenticates at Global Affairs Canada

We authenticate all types of documents at Global Affairs Canada Authentication Services Section. 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

  • Certificate of Pharmaceutical Product

  • Commercial Invoice

  • Certificate of Free Sale

  • Certificate of Origin

  • Corporate Documents

  • Court documents

  • Death Certificate

  • Degree, Diploma Transcripts

  • Divorce Certificate

  • Good Manufacturing Practices Certificate

  • Health Canada Certificates

  • Health Canada Medical Device Licence

  • International Trade Certificates

  • Marriage Certificate

  • Passport

  • Police Check

  • Power of Attorney

  • Property Deeds

  • Teachers Certificate

How Documents Get Authenticated

Global Affairs Canada Authentication Services Section in Ottawa is responsible for the authentication of documents for use in a foreign country. Once they verify the official signature on your document is valid by checking in their registry, they affix their stamp, seal and signature. Before doing this there are certain requirements that apply to the document, but not to worry our consultation guarantees document authentication. Currently Global Affairs Canada takes 20+ business days using their mail in service to authenticate a document but using Authentication Legalization Services Canada can make it quicker, another benefit of choosing our authentication of documents service. Find out more about our Authentication Service Speeds & Fees

How ALSC Can Help You

Top 5 Questions About Document Authentication in Canada

If you have been asked to validate your Canadian document for official purposes in a foreign country you want to get it right the first time. Time is of the essence for most of our clients, the sooner it’s done, the sooner you can move on with the important matter related to why you have been asked to authenticate the document. We understand that waiting for the usual 20+ business days for Global Affairs Canada to authenticate your document will not work for your timelines. Not only does ALSC have quicker authentication solutions to choose from, but also our experts can save you time and money with shipping. Our ALSC order status tracker and up to the minute email updates provide peace of mind throughout the process. Choosing ALSC authentication services means no red tape frustration waiting for Global Affairs Canada to confirm if they have received or had a problem authenticating your document, we take the guessing out the authentication process. ALSC saves you time giving you Canada’s international document experts on your side to answer any question you may have with the utmost customer service. For our clients, this is what differentiates ALSC from navigating the public service on their own they want an expert to guide them.

No, we 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, its that easy.

 

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