If you need to use a legal document abroad, you may have come across the terms attestation, apostille, or authentication. What are these terms and why do your documents need them? These terms are basically a processing of your legal documents to ensure that they are true, valid, and will be legally binding as per the laws of the country where you intend to use them. In essence, apostille, attestation, and authentication are all interchangeable terms that mean the same thing. They all ensure that your documents undergo the same sets of verification. Global Affairs Canada will grant them recognition and acceptance in the foreign country.
Document Authentication and Legalization vs. Apostille
In Canada, another name for document apostille or attestation is “authentication and legalization”. This is because “apostille” negates the need for documents to undergo the step of legalization by countries who are signatories of the Hague Convention. You don’t need to undergo “legalization” if you need to “attest” your document by a Hague signatory country. Similarly, you don’t need to “legalize” your document if you’re going to use your document in another Hague signatory country. However, since Canada has not signed the Hague Convention, we refer to the process of attestation as authentication. We continue to complete the legalization step required in the process. Since we still carry on authentication and legalization as two separate steps, we need a credible Canadian entity to complete the step of authentication. The embassy of the country where the document will be used will do the legalization.
Where Does Global Affairs Canada Factor In?
In Canada, there is one regulatory body that authenticates all Canadian documents. This regulatory body is known as Global Affairs Canada (GAC), located in Ottawa, Canada. GAC is a government establishment which has standardized the authentication process. To authenticate a document, submit it to the authentication sector at GAC. Usually, it takes GAC 15-20 business days to review said document. Your legal document must also meet other requirements that forth by GAC. Having GAC complete authentication simplifies this step for people as well as the two countries involved.
GAC takes the guesswork out of authentication for people who are unfamiliar with the process. It also makes the work of professionals in the field of document legalization and authentication straightforward by allowing one channel to communicate with. One point of contact means everyone knows what to expect or can be given proper guidance in completing authentication. It also means that factors such as cost and timeline can also be determined without much confusion or ambiguity.
Global Affairs Canada and Legalization Service Centre
As mentioned above, the authentication process at GAC can be time consuming and can typically take up to 20 days to complete. Moreover, while the costs of authentication are typically pre-set, any need for correction in the process can lead to additional fees and time. This is why it is a good idea to have a professional submit and track your documents at GAC. Because professionals like Legalization Service Centre deposit hundreds of documents for authentication to GAC regularly, we enjoy processing times as little as two business days. This, along with our years of experience that ensure documents are submitted correctly at the first go allows you to have the process of authentication in as little time and cost as possible.
What Happens Next?
After authentication, the relevant embassy will legalize your document. This embassy is also located in Ottawa. Here, the embassy will conduct their own review to ensure that the document meets all the requirements of their country. Once they are satisfied, they too will place a stamp or certificate indicating that legalization is complete.
Document authentication and legalization are simple processes that can be daunting for anyone conducting them for the first time. It is a necessary but frustrating process that gives paperwork a bad reputation. At Legalization Service Centre, we understand that you are only interested in the final results being obtained as quickly and easily as possible. Our experience and customer service has garnered us an A+ reputation with the AAA and a stellar customer rating on Google. If you need your documents processed, don’t hesitate to reach out, even if only for a quick chat. Document authentication is what we do best! We are happy to help and ensure a quick and hassle-free deliverance.
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