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Navigating the Canada Apostille Convention

This blog provides you with a brief overview of the new Apostille verification process, as well as a step by step guide to help you navigate the process.
Abdullah Chaudhari

5 mins

Dec 28th, 2023

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Understanding The Basics of Apostille Convention

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 This blog will compare the new Apostille process with the outdated authentication and legalization of Canadian documents.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.
 

Authentication vs the New Apostille Process

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. 

Who Can Receive Apostille Requests?

In Canada, the authority to receive Apostille requests has been granted to both Global Affairs Canada and provincial competent authorities. 

Global Affairs Canada

Canadian federal government documents and documents issues or notarized in the following regions will be apostilled by Global Affairs Canada: 

  1. New Brunswick
  2. Yukon
  3. Newfoundland and Labrador
  4. Nova Scotia
  5. Prince Edward Island
  6. the Northwest Territories
  7. Nunavut
  8. Manitoba

Provincial Apostille Departments

Documents originating from or notarized in the following 5 provinces will need to be sent to their respective provincial authorities for apostille:

  1. British Columbia
  2. Quebec
  3. Alberta
  4. Ontario
  5. Saskatchewan
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Advantages of Canada Apostille

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. 

Common Mistakes to Avoid

While the process has become more simplified and time-saving with Canada becoming a Hague Convention member, applicants are bound to make mistakes because this is a new process. Even professional services are going to struggle with making sense of the apostille process because they have previously only followed the Authentication and Legalization process. 

 

This is why a clear understanding of the Apostille guidelines, set by Global Affairs Canada, is important. Understanding the common mistakes and how to avoid them is also going to help both individual applicants and apostille companies complete the process on time. 

Applying Late

Most of the applicants are going to think that they can apply later since the faster apostille process is in place. This can contribute to delays in their immigration application because Global Affairs Canada often has a backlog of requests, so the process may still take weeks or even months to complete. We recommend you get started with your application as early as possible to avoid facing issues with the turnaround time. 

Not Following Apostille Requirements

The Apostille process has the same set of requirements in each member country, as specified by the 1961 Hague Convention guidelines. So it is pretty easy to do a quick Google search and understand the steps that you need to take to prepare your documents for the process. Some of your documents, especially copies, may require a notarization seal on them. Similarly, certified translations may also be required if your documents are not in English or French. 

Choosing An Inexperienced Service

Completing the Canadian apostille process from abroad comes with its own set of challenges. You are not currently inside the country so you are unable to submit your documents to the relevant government agencies on time. Moreover, you cannot handle the constant back-and-forth communication which can lead to missed deadlines.     

 

In such a case, Canadians see professional apostille services as the best option to complete the process on their behalf. They expect these services to have their clients’ best interests at heart and take care of preparing their important documents. You should conduct thorough research into your available options before you decide to entrust the many professional services with your documents. Factors such as customer service, pricing, and previous customer reviews should be considered while comparing these services. 

 

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 entire apostille process for you and help you fulfill document legalization requirements in your destination country. 

FAQs

What is the Apostille Convention?

Why is Canada part of the Apostille Convention?

Which documents can be apostilled in Canada?

How long does the Canada apostille process take?

Can individuals apply for an apostille in Canada?

How does the Hague Convention impact Canadian businesses?

Are there any limitations to the Apostille Convention in Canada?

What are the alternatives to apostille in Canada?

Can I use an apostilled Canadian document internationally?

Are there any language requirements for apostilles in Canada?

Table of Contents

  1. Navigating the Canada Apostille Convention
    1. Understanding The Basics of Apostille Convention
      1. Authentication vs the New Apostille Process
        1. Navigating the Process of Canada Apostille
          1. Who Can Receive Apostille Requests?
            1. Advantages of Canada Apostille
              1. Common Mistakes to Avoid
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