The Hague Convention: Authentication, Legalization and Apostille

The Hague Apostille Convention a.k.a. the Hague Convention is a multilateral treaty drafted by the Hague Conference. It’s an attempt to standardize the way documents are certified. Drafted in 1961, the Hague Convention now sees 115 countries as is signatories. These countries recognize a standard document apostille process, which validates them after the process. Thereafter, they can legally recognize documents as equivalent to their own. Canada, however, is not part of the Hague Convention. Instead, documents need to undergo authentication and legalization.

Canada and the Hague Convention

So why isn’t Canada a signatory? It’s not quite clear, but more importantly, it means that it can’t produce document apostilles. Canada even takes things a step further! You can NOT authenticate a copy of a document that has already undergone apostille. To authenticate that document, you must submit another notarized true copy.

It may be confusing for anyone going through this process to understand the difference. If a country asks you for a document apostille and your documents originated in Canada, what do you do? The answer is quite simple. While the terminology is different, document apostille and authentication and legalization mean the same thing. So to “do apostille” really means to authenticate and legalize your documents.

Apostille in Canada: Step 1

In Canada, authentication of documents can only be conducted by Global Affairs Canada (GAC), located in Ottawa. GAC will accept notarized copies of your documents and they will conduct a review of them. They will check the signatures and stamps to ensure they are true and valid. With that done, GAC will place a red stamp on your document to prove it has been authenticated.

Apostille in Canada: Step 2

After authentication, your documents must undergo legalization. Note which country you’re going to use them in! The corresponding embassy or consulate of the country will be legalizing them for you. The embassy will conduct a second review of your documents to ensure that the GAC stamp is true and valid. They will affix either a stamp or a certificate to indicate that the documents have been verified and legalized.

Confused? Exhausted? We can help

The process of document authentication and legalization may seem daunting to anyone who has not gone through it before, however, if done correctly, it can be rather simple administration. Where complications arise is if the documents to be authenticated and legalized have not been prepared properly or the associated forms not filled out correctly. Errors or omissions can cost you a great deal of added time to completion and additional fees. For these reasons, it is always a good idea to have an authentication and legalization professional review your documents and submit them for you. An added benefit of going through a professional service provider such as Legalization Service Centre (LAC) is that our networks at GAC allow for your documents to be prepared in as quickly as one business day whereas the normal wait time is up to 22 business days.

Over years of commitment to authentication and legalization, LAC has garnered a five star rating on Google reviews from many clients and an A+ standing with the BBB. We take customer service very seriously, but more importantly, we know the process of document authentication and legalization inside out for any of your document needs. If you have any questions regarding the processing of your documents, give us a call at 1-800-857-1215 to speak to one of our professionals, or send us a WhatsApp message at +1-613-501-0555 any time.

 

Image from: Mad Movie Man