Authentication of Documents

Please note the hours open to the public on December 24 and December 31, 2014

Open from 10:30 to 12:00

Please note that we no longer ship documents abroad using international courier companies. All documents to be shipped outside Canada are sent by regular mail, with no exceptions.

Foreign governments and organizations sometimes require that documents be authenticated before they will accept them. For information on how to have Canadian documents authenticated so that they will be accepted for use abroad, please choose from the following list:

If you need authentication of documents, you can find more information at the following links:

The cost of authentication

  • Document authentication is free.

Wait times

  • It can take up to 15 business days from the time we receive your documents to process them. Please add at least five business days if you choose to send and receive your documents by regular mail within Canada. The processing time will be longer if we have questions and need to contact you about your request.
  • Please note: Processing times may change without notice. If you are making travel plans, you should not book the trip before you obtain your documents.
  • For same-day service, you may come in person to the authentication of documents section (JLAC) at 111 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 1J1, during regular business hours. Bring your documents and valid photo ID.
  • We can process up to 10 documents while you wait. If you have more than 10 documents, leave them with the authentication office and we will contact you when they are ready to be picked up. This could take up to five business days, depending on how many documents you need authenticated. If you do not live in the Ottawa-Gatineau area, you can hire an authentication and legalization service or process server in the area to bring your documents to the office in person. You can find these services by searching the Internet.
  • We will not process your documents faster for any reason. There are no exceptions.
  • Do not call the call centre to be updated on the status of your request.  You can check on the status of your documents by filling out the online Authentication of Documents Status Request Form.

What we authenticate

  • We only authenticate Canadian signatures on documents. We do not review or approve a document’s content.
  • If a document’s content is misleading or we believe that a document is to be used for a fraudulent purpose, it will not be authenticated. You will be informed if this is the case.
  • Religious documents will not be authenticated, even if they are certified, signed and sealed by a Canadian notary or commissioner of oaths.

Photocopies

  • Photocopies of original documents can be authenticated. However, they must be certified true copies, signed and sealed by a Canadian notary or commissioner of oaths.
  • If the photocopies you send are not properly certified, signed and sealed, they will be returned to you without being authenticated.
  • Most lawyers are notaries, but please confirm that this is the case with the lawyer you select.

Before sending your documents

  • You must enclose a cover letter that:
    • outlines your specific needs; and
    • includes your mailing address.
  • If your documents have to be forwarded to an embassy in Ottawa, please note that information in the cover letter; otherwise they will be returned to you, not forwarded to the embassy.

How to send your documents

Please note that we no longer ship documents abroad using international courier companies. All documents to be shipped outside Canada are sent by regular mail, with no exceptions.

  • We highly recommend that you use a courier service for sending and receiving your documents. This will allow you to track your documents and will minimize the risk of losing them.
  • Please note: We do not track documents through regular mail.
  • If you wish to have your documents returned to you by courier (within Canada only), please provide us with a courier envelope along with a prepaid label.
  • Note: We will not make arrangements on your behalf with any courier company to pick up your documents.
  • If you are outside Canada, your best option is to first check whether the Canadian embassy or high commission in that country can authenticate your documents. If not, we strongly recommend that you send your documents to someone in Canada to have them processed on your behalf or hire an authentication and legalization service or process server in the Ottawa- Gatineau area to bring your documents in person.
  • If your documents are to be forwarded to an embassy or high commission in Ottawa, you do not need to include a courier envelope. The authentication office will deliver the documents for you. If your documents are to be sent to a consulate outside of Ottawa, you can include a prepaid envelope for their delivery. Otherwise your documents will be sent by regular mail.
  • We will return documents by regular mail, if the return courier fee would need to be paid by:
    • cash on delivery;
    • credit card; or
    • a third party.
  • We will not make any special arrangements to have documents returned to you.

Our mailing address

Send your documents to:

Authentication and Service of Documents Section (JLAC)
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1A 0G2

Submitting documents in person

  • Simply come to the authentication of documents section (JLAC) at 111 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 1J1, with your documents and valid photo ID . You do not need an appointment. The office is open Monday to Friday between 10:30 a.m. and noon and between 2 and 3 p.m. The office is closed on weekends and statutory holidays.
  • If you have 10 documents or fewer, we can process them while you wait. If you have more than 10 documents, leave them with us. If your documents are left, they could take up to five business days to process. You will be contacted when the documents have been authenticated and are ready to be picked up.
  • If you do not live in the Ottawa-Gatineau area, you can hire an authentication and legalization service or process server in the area to bring your documents to the office in person. You can find these services by searching the Internet.

Checking the status of documents

  • If you have not received your documents back after 15 business days, you can check on their status by filling out the online Authentication of Documents Status Request Form. Note that the authentication office can only provide information on the status of your documents after your documents have been processed. If your documents are to be forwarded to an embassy after being authenticated, you must first contact the embassy before you contact us for a status check.
  • Do not call to ask when your documents will be processed or returned. Call centre agents are not able to answer such requests.

Criminal record checks (police clearance) or fingerprint certificates

  • All criminal record checks, fingerprint certificates and documents originating from any local or provincial police station in Canada must first be notarized by a Canadian notary or a commissioner of oaths prior to authentication. Documents issued by RCMP headquarters in Ottawa do not need to be notarized.
  • Contact the embassy or consulate of the country concerned to verify if a notarized photocopy of a document will be accepted or if you need to have the original document notarized. If you need an original document, you must request the police clearance from RCMP headquarters in Ottawa.

Documents originating in a foreign country

Documents that originate in a foreign country must be signed and sealed by an official of that country’s embassy, high commission or consulate accredited to Canada. Please ensure that the signatory’s name is printed in the Latin (western) alphabet.

Documents originating in Canada in a foreign language

Canadian documents in a foreign language must be translated by a certified Canadian translator into either English or French.

Both the original document and the translation must be signed and sealed by a Canadian notary public or commissioner of oaths. Note that we will not authenticate a document signed only by a certified translator.

Translated documents

  • A translated document must be sent with the original document. An original document in a foreign language must be translated into English or French by a certified translator. Then the translation must be certified by a Canadian notary or commissioner of oaths.
  • Translated documents (regardless of language) can only be authenticated if they are first certified, signed and sealed by a Canadian notary or commissioner of oaths.
  • If the documents you send are not accompanied by an English or French translation, or if documents are not properly certified, signed and sealed, they will be returned to you without being authenticated.

Certificates of birth, marriage or death

  • We authenticate original long-form birth, marriage or death certificates issued by the office of vital statistics of the relevant province or territory. Note: We do not authenticate plastic, wallet-sized versions of these certificates.
  • Marriage search documents issued by the Province of Ontario must be notarized before they will be authenticated.
  • Photocopies of birth, marriage or death certificates can be authenticated. However, they must be certified true copies, signed and sealed by a Canadian notary or commissioner of oaths. If the photocopies you send are not properly certified, signed and sealed, they will be returned to you without being authenticated.
  • Religious documents will not be authenticated even if they are certified, signed and sealed by a Canadian notary or commissioner of oaths. Examples include:
    • baptismal certificates;
    • religious marriage certificates; or
    • any documents issued by a religious institution.

Education documents

  • We only authenticate degrees or student transcripts issued by Canadian educational institutions recognized by the provincial/territorial ministries of education.
    • Canadian university or college degrees or transcripts must be signed and sealed by the relevant office of the registrar, and a full signature, name and title must appear on the document. Otherwise the document has to be notarized before it will be authenticated.
    • Canadian high school or elementary school transcripts must be signed by the principal or vice-principal of the school that issued the documents, and a full signature, name and title must appear on the document. Only school diplomas and transcripts can be accepted without being notarized. All other letters have to be notarized before they will be authenticated.
  • We cannot authenticate the following unless they are notarized:
    • course certificates;
    • Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) certificates;
    • award certificates; or
    • other documents that are not specifically degrees or transcripts
  • Photocopies of degrees and transcripts can be authenticated. However, these must be certified true copies, signed and sealed by either the relevant office of the registrar or a Canadian notary or commissioner of oaths.

Statements In Lieu of Certificate of Non-Impediment to Marriage Abroad

  • If you wish to get married in a country other than Canada, you may be required to obtain a Statement In Lieu of Certificate of Non-Impediment to Marriage Abroad. In order to determine whether you will require a Statement, visa, etc., you must contact the relevant country’s embassy, high commission or consulate in Canada.
  • Please note: Some countries require the Statement In Lieu of Certificate of Non-impediment to Marriage Abroad to be issued in Canada, before you travel, and will not accept a document issued by a Canadian embassy abroad. 
  • You can submit your request for a Statement In Lieu of Certificate of Non-Impediment to Marriage Abroad in person or by mail. It will take up to 15 working days to process it, regardless of how the document was delivered to us. The document cannot be provided to you in person. No exceptions will be made.
  • You must provide a statutory declaration stating your present marital status, the name and citizenship of your future spouse, and your permanent address in Canada. Please note: We don’t accept P.O Boxes as permanent addresses.  Statutory declarations can be done before a Canadian notary or commissioner of oaths.
  • If you have been married before, you must submit your certified divorce certificate or divorce judgment. If you are a widow or widower, you must submit a certified copy of the death certificate of your deceased spouse.
  • If you were born in Canada, you must submit your certified birth certificate. If you were not born in Canada, you must submit certified true copies of your Canadian citizenship certificate and Record of Landing form. If you have lost your Record of Landing form, this must be mentioned in the statutory declaration of marital status.
  • If you intend to marry in Vietnam, your Statement In Lieu of Certificate of Non-Impediment to Marriage must be issued no more than three months before your intended marriage date.

Other documents

  • Divorce certificates and similar divorce related documents ( divorce orders, divorce judgements etc.) must be issued by a provincial or federal Canadian court.

    They must bear the original signature of the relevant court clerk or registrar as well as the court seal or stamp.

    If the signature is not legible you must have the clerk print their name or apply a stamp bearing their printed name.

    Please note: You can find out who signed your divorce document and request their printed name by contacting the court that issued your document and providing them with the file number on your document that usually appears in the left or right hand upper corners.

    Photocopies of these documents can be authenticated. However, they must be certified true copies, signed and sealed by a Canadian notary or commissioner of oaths. Please see the above section titled "Photocopies" for more information.

  • Legal documents must be signed and sealed by a Canadian notary or commissioner of oaths.
  • Medical reports must be certified by a Canadian notary or commissioner of oaths, or by a representative of the relevant provincial/territorial medical association. If the documents you send are not properly certified, they will be returned to you without being authenticated.
  • If your documents are not listed above, please have them notarized before sending them to us for authentication.
  • A few examples of documents that must first be notarized are:
    • Canada Revenue Agency documents
    • Citizenship and Immigration documents
    • Industry Canada documents
    • Registry of joint stock companies documents
    • Holistic, TESOL or award certificates
    • Apprenticeship certificates