Authentication and Legalization of Canadian Documents for International Use

Introduction For individuals who need to use Canadian documents in a foreign country, they may need to have the documents authenticated and legalized. This process, also known as Apostille or Attestation, involves affixing stamps to the documents to make them legitimate for use in a specific foreign country.

Steps of the Process

The process of authentication and legalization of documents involves two steps. Firstly, the documents must be authenticated by a competent authority, such as Global Affairs Canada (previously known as the Department of Foreign Affairs) in Ottawa, Ontario. Secondly, the documents must be legalized by a foreign consulate or embassy in Canada.

Authentication by Global Affairs Canada

Global Affairs Canada offers free authentication services to Canadians through its authentication section (JLAC). The documents can be submitted by courier, mail, in person, or through a third party service provider. It is recommended that the documents are accurate and presented properly to avoid delays or rejection of the authentication process.

Alternate Authentication Providers

In some cases, Provincial authorities can also authenticate documents. For instance, the Official Documents Services, a branch of the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, can authenticate documents. However, it is crucial to be cautious when using such alternate providers, as their authentication may not be accepted by all foreign consulates or embassies.

Legalization by Foreign Consulates and Embassies

Once the documents have been authenticated, they can be legalized by a foreign consulate or embassy in Canada. The process involves obtaining the necessary seals or stamps from the foreign mission to certify the authenticity of the documents. The legalization process may vary from one country to another, and it is essential to check with the relevant foreign mission to understand their specific requirements.

Hiring a Third Party Service Provider

While it is possible to manage the authentication and legalization process on one's own, it is recommended to hire a reliable third-party service provider to assist. These service providers specialize in the authentication and legalization of Canadian documents and can ensure that the documents meet the requirements of Global Affairs Canada and the foreign mission. They can also assist with expediting the process to meet tight deadlines.


Authentication and legalization of Canadian documents are crucial steps for anyone needing to use Canadian documents in a foreign country. The process involves authentication by Global Affairs Canada, followed by legalization by a foreign consulate or embassy. Hiring a third-party service provider can help ensure a smooth and efficient process, saving time and avoiding potential errors.