Authentication of Documents

Attention

Opening Forms in PDF format

*Please note that, the processing time for mailed-in requests is 20 business days from the date we receive your documents.

*Please note that as of January 3, 2017, our office hours will change. The service counter will be closed on Fridays. Our new business hours will be Monday through Thursday 10:00am to noon and 2:00pm to 3:00pm.

What is Authentication?

Authentication is a certification of the genuineness of the signature, seal and position of an official who has the authority to execute, issue, or certify a document so that a document executed, issued or certified in one jurisdiction may be recognized in another jurisdiction. Authentications do not certify the genuineness, legality or credibility of the documents or their contents.

We authenticate documents for the public for a wide range of documents. You may request that a Canadian public document be authenticated by asking us to confirm that a Canadian public official’s signature, seal or stamp on the document is genuine.

Does your document need to be authenticated?

Authentication requirements vary from country to country. Before sending your documents to be authenticated, please contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country where these documents will be used to determine whether the documents need to be authenticated.

If you require your documents to be authenticated, you should ensure to have the documents authenticated prior to arranging for travel outside of Canada. Please note that Canadian missions or embassies abroad are often not able to authenticate Canadian documents. Therefore, please allow sufficient time for the authentication process including the mailing of documents.

Cost of authentication

Authentication of documents is free.

What documents can be authenticated

  • While authentication does not relate to a document’s content, we reserve the right to refuse to authenticate a document if a document’s content is misleading or we believe that a document is to be used for a fraudulent purpose. You will be informed if the document cannot be authenticated. We may also refer the matter to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
  • We only authenticate those documents that you specifically request to be authenticated.
  • We only authenticate Canadian public officials’ signatures on documents issued in Canada. Exception: We can authenticate the signature and seal of an official of a country’s embassy, high commission or consulate accredited to Canada. Please ensure that the signatory’s name is printed in the Latin (western) alphabet.
  • Canadian religious documents will not be authenticated, even if they are certified by a Canadian notary public or Commissioner of Oaths.
  • Photocopies must be certified appropriately as true copies by a Canadian notary public or a Commissioner of Oaths. If this procedure is not followed, they will be returned to you without having been authenticated.
  • Please refer to the rules of the province or territory where the document is to be certified with respect to who may be able to certify documents appropriately.

Click on the links below for information on the requirements for authentication of the types of documents identified.  If the requirements for authentication described below are not followed, your documents will be returned to you without having been authenticated.

Birth, marriage, divorce or death documents

  • We only authenticate original long-form birth, marriage or death certificates issued by the office of vital statistics (mainly signed by the Deputy Registrar or Registrar General) 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 issued by vital statistics can be authenticated. However, they must be certified appropriately as true copies by a Canadian notary public or a Commissioner of Oaths. If the photocopies you send are not certified appropriately, they will be returned to you without being authenticated.
  • Divorce certificates and similar divorce related documents (divorce orders, divorce judgments etc.) must be issued by a 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.
  • We do not authenticate funeral homes death certificates.
  • Religious documents will not be authenticated even if they are certified appropriately by a Canadian notary public or Commissioner of Oaths. Examples include:
    • baptismal certificates;
    • religious marriage certificates; or
    • 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.
    • Original Canadian university or college degrees, transcripts or enrollment letters must be signed and sealed by the relevant office of the registrar, and a full signature, name and title must appear on the document.
    • Original Canadian high school or elementary school diplomas and transcripts must have an original signature by the principal or vice-principal of the school that issued the documents, printed name and title must appear on the document. School documents other than diplomas and transcripts must be notarized before they will be authenticated.
    • If you request your document to be sent directly from an educational institution, it must be accompanied by the “request form”. Failing to do so will result in your document not being authenticated and returned to the institution.
  • We cannot authenticate the following unless they are notarized:
    • course certificates;
    • Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) certificates;
    • award certificates;
    • acceptance letter; or
    • other documents issued by educational institutions that are not degrees or transcripts.
  • Photocopies of degrees and transcripts can be authenticated. However, these must be certified appropriately as true copies by either the relevant office of the registrar, principal or vice-principal, a Canadian notary public or Commissioner of Oaths.

Criminal record checks (police clearance) or fingerprint certificates

  • Criminal record checks, fingerprint certificates and documents originating from any local or provincial police station in Canada must first be certified appropriately as a true copy by a Canadian notary public or a Commissioner of Oaths. Exception: Documents issued directly by RCMP headquarters (black and white version with RCMP seal) in Ottawa do not need to be notarized.
  • Contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country concerned to verify if a notarized photocopy of the police clearance 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.
  • However, if a translation is required of these documents by the recipient institution, it must be certified appropriately by both a certified Canadian translator and Canadian public notary or Commissioner of Oaths.

    *Please note: A notary Public can also certify the translation to be true if they speak both languages. Should that be the case, please ensure they write on the document that they attest to speaking both languages and certify the translation to be true accompanied by their signature and stamp.

Documents originating in Canada in a foreign language

  • Documents originating in Canada in a foreign language must be translated into English or French and certified by a Canadian certified translator, and by a Canadian notary public or Commissioner of Oaths.

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

  • Some countries require a “Certificate of non-impediment to marriage” before a foreign national can marry within their jurisdiction.  In Canada, it is not possible to issue such certificates.  However, we can prepare a Statement in Lieu of Certificate of Non-Impediment to Marriage Abroad.
  • If you need us to issue a Statement in Lieu of Certificate of Non-Impediment to Marriage Abroad, you must specifically request this on the “request form”. Otherwise, we will not provide you with one. You must also specify on the form whether you are requesting the authentication of any accompanying documents.
  • In order to determine whether you will require such a Statement, or any other documents, 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, high commission or consulate abroad.
    You can submit your request for a Statement In Lieu of Certificate of Non-Impediment to Marriage Abroad in person or by mail.
  • You must provide a statutory declaration stating your full name, present marital status and your permanent address in Canada. We do not accept P.O Boxes as a permanent address. Statutory declarations can be done before a Canadian notary public or Commissioner of Oaths.
  • If you have been married before, you must submit your original or appropriately certified true copy of a divorce certificate or divorce judgment.
  • If you are a widow or widower, you must submit the original or appropriately certified copy of the death certificate of your deceased spouse.
  • If you were born in Canada, you must submit your original or appropriately certified true copy of a birth certificate or passport. If you were not born in Canada, you must submit appropriately certified true copies of your Canadian citizenship card 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.
  • Please be advised that if you are getting married in Vietnam you are no longer required to obtain a Statement in lieu of Certificate of Non-Impediment to Marriage. You can visit the Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam’s website at the following link for details on the requirements for marriage abroad

Other documents

The following requirements apply to all documents which have not been listed above:

  • Please have your documents appropriately certified by a Canadian notary public or Commissioner of Oaths before sending them for authentication.
  • A few examples of documents that must first be notarized are:
    • Powers of attorney
    • Canada Revenue Agency documents
    • Citizenship and Immigration documents
    • Industry Canada documents
    • Documents issued by Service Canada
    • Documents issued by professional associations such as accountants’, engineers’ and dentists’ associations
    • Apprenticeship certificates
  • If the above requirements are not met, the documents will be returned to you without being authenticated.
  • If the document you require to be authenticated has not been listed on our website, please have it notarized.

How to send your documents

IN PERSON

  • Simply come to our office at 111 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 1J1, with your documents. You do not need an appointment.  Please note that you can also have someone else bring the documents for authentication on your behalf.
  • The office is open Monday to Thursday between 10:00 a.m. and noon and between 2 and 3 p.m. The office is closed on weekends, civic and statutory holidays.

Processing time

  • We can process up to 15 documents while you wait. If you have more than 15 documents, you must leave them with us 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.
    • 16-30 documents will take 24 hours to process.
      • Please note that documents dropped off at 10 am can be ready for pick up at 3pm that same day.
    • 31-50 documents will take 48 hours to process
    • 51-100 documents will take 72 hours to process
    • 101+ will take up to 5 business days

    *please note that times indicated above are in business hours.

  • We will not process your documents faster for any reason. There are no exceptions.
  • If you come to our office in person and the signature on the documents cannot be verified immediately, you may need to return to pick up your authenticated documents.

MAIL IN

*As of July 1, 2015, you must enclose either a pre-addressed return envelope with either sufficient postage (for regular mail) or a prepaid courier shipping label. If the documents are received without a prepaid return envelope, they will be returned to you by regular mail without having been authenticated. Please note that we do not accept courier waybills with account numbers.

  • You must complete and enclose the completed EXT 2165 form (hard copy accepted only) which must be printed from the following link (Request for Authentication - fillable PDF 152 KB | PDF 144 KB) otherwise the documents will be returned to you.
  • We are unable to track documents sent using regular mail.
  • We will not make any special arrangements to have documents returned to you.
  • We are not responsible for lost documents, whether shipped by regular mail or by courier.

Send your documents to:

Global Affairs Canada
Authentication Services Section
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1A 0G2

Processing time 

  • It can take up to approximately 20 business days from the time we receive your documents to process them. Please add at least ten 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.
  • We will not process your documents faster for any reason. There are no exceptions.

Urgent Request

  • If you are outside Canada, you should check whether the Canadian embassy or high commission in that country can authenticate your documents.
  • If you are outside of Canada or your request is urgent, we strongly recommend that you send your documents to someone in Ottawa to have them processed on your behalf in person. You may also hire a private service provider, such as an authentication and legalization service or process server in the Ottawa- Gatineau area, to bring your documents in person.  

Forwarding Documents to an embassy, high commission or consulate

  • If your documents are to be forwarded to an embassy or high commission in Ottawa please indicate this on the form. We will hand-deliver the documents for you.
  • If you wish to enclose payment for an embassy, high commission or consulate, under no circumstances should you enclose cash. Please place any accompanying documents, photos or money orders not requiring authentication in a separate sealed envelope. We are not responsible for any loss of items sent to an embassy.
  • If your documents are to be sent to a consulate outside of Ottawa, you must include a pre-addressed envelope with either sufficient postage (for regular mail) or a prepaid courier shipping label for their delivery to the consulate. You must check with the embassy, high commission or consulate regarding their requirements to have documents returned to you.

Checking the status of documents

  • You can check the status of your documents by filling out the online Authentication of Documents Status Request Form. Note that we 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, high commission or consulate after being authenticated, you must first contact them before you contact us for a status check.
  • Do not call the call center to be updated on the status of your request UNLESS you have completed the online Authentication of Documents Status Request Form AND 20 business days have passed.

For additional information on the above, please contact our general enquiries center at 613-944-4000 or 1-800-267-8376.