The process of getting your Canadian documents apostilled has now been made simpler with Canada officially joining the Hague Apostille Convention. This landmark decision was made on May 12, 2023, and will officially come into effect on January 11, 2024. This move is a welcome change for both the general Canadian population and businesses, as it makes the use of birth certificates, marriage certificates, and business paperwork in other parts of the world more convenient.
The Hague Apostille Convention, established in 1961, is an international treaty drafted by the Hague Conference on Private International Law. It specifies the method that can be used to certify documents issued in one of the signatory countries for official usage in all the other member countries.
Canada's decision to join this international treaty marks an important step forward in facilitating international legal procedures. Canada's federal structure was one of the major reasons that made it difficult for us to join the Hague Apostille Convention. Since official powers are distributed among the federal and provincial governments, coordinating a centralized document legalization process like the Apostille faced administrative challenges.
However, a streamlined process for legalizing documents to be used internationally was long overdue. The outgoing process was often very lengthy and required a lot of steps to be followed. This move towards Apostille verification will help Canada keep up with the pace of international business and personal immigration procedures.
So, what does this mean for your documents and how will this change impact you? This blog will compare the new Apostille process with the outdated authentication and legalization of Canadian documents. For your convenience, the Globeia team has also included a step-by-step guide that you can follow when submitting your documents under this new setup.
Traditionally, your Canadian documents had to go through the two-step process of authentication and legalization if you wanted to use it in another country. Authentication meant getting the signature on your documents verified by Global Affairs Canada. Once authenticated, the document would then need to be legalized by the embassy or consulate of the destination country where you planned to submit it.
At Globeia, we have processed tens of thousands of authentication and legalization requests for our clients. While we had worked hard over the years to make the process smooth for our client, it was still very tedious and time-consuming. Multiple rounds of communication and updates were required with different governmental departments and consulates, making it difficult to predict the time it would take to get the documents ready. Canadians immigrating abroad and businesses operating in multiple countries were equally affected by these delays, as it often meant lost opportunities and unnecessary back and forth.
Enter the Hague Apostille Convention, with the main objective of abolishing the requirement of embassy or consular legalization for documents. The Convention achieves this through a process called apostillization, replacing the traditionally used two-step process. Under the Apostille system, the document only needs to be certified once by an Apostille certificate that verifies the authenticity of the signature, seal or stamp on your document.
This helps the Apostille Convention streamline the authentication process, making it quicker, easier, and more efficient. In this way, the need for multiple authentications and legalizations is completely eliminated.
Since Canada has not also joined the Hague Apostille Convention, all Canadian documents headed for abroad will now just need an Apostille. Similarly, documents from other member countries will also only need an apostille stamp to be accepted in Canada.
Let’s take a look at what you need to do to make the best of this faster document legalization system.
Step 1: Check if Your Document is Eligible for an Apostille
Not all of your documents are going to be eligible for apostille. It is important that your documents bear an original signature or seal from a recognized authority in Canada. Examples of these authorities are government agencies such as the RCMP and educational institutes such as high schools, colleges, and universities. Documents such as birth, marriage, and death certificates, as well as deeds and power of attorney letters, might also require notarial verification if you are using a copy instead of the original document.
Step 2: Submit Your Document for Authentication
Once you've confirmed your document is eligible to be processed for an apostille certificate, the next step is to submit it for authentication. You can submit your documents to the Official Document Services (ODS) who will verify them for international use.
Step 3: Obtain the Apostille Certificate
After your document has been authenticated, it will be issued an Apostille certificate. You will be asked for your receiving address when applying for the apostille. The apostilled documents will be mailed back to your address. If there’s an issue with your documents and they cannot be apostilled, you can expect to hear from the ODS by email. You can then go through the reason for rejection and provide the missing details as outlined in the notification sent to you.
Who Can Receive Apostille Requests?
In Canada, the authority to receive Apostille requests has been granted to a total of 5 government departments and agencies. This includes:
Global Affairs CanadaMinistry of the Attorney General of British ColumbiaMinistry of Public and Business Service Delivery of OntarioThe Official Documents Services (ODS) in OntarioMinistry of Justice of AlbertaMinistry of Justice and Attorney General of Saskatchewan.
This Apostille process is a significant improvement over the previous system of the document authentication and legalization for their use abroad. It simplifies international document preparation and facilitates smoother cross-border transactions.
We recommend you always do your research before submitting an apostille request to any of the authorities mentioned above. There are still some standard SOPs that must be followed. For instance, if you do not prepare your documents in advance, it could lead to the rejection of your apostille request.
Professional document processing and verification companies like Globeia have years of experience dealing with government agencies and understand the steps that need to be taken for faster apostille processing. We have a team of highly trained and experienced document verification experts who are available to answer your inquiries regarding the new process.
You can reach out to us by filling out our contact form and we will get back to you with our expert advice on how to get started. The Globeia team can also handle the apostille process for you and help you fulfill document legalization requirements in your destination country.
Thank you for reading!