Authentication of documents: 1. Before you start
We do not offer in-person service. All requests must be submitted by mail. For information about our service and instructions on submitting your request, please read steps 1, 2, 3, 4. If you have further questions, please consult our Frequently Asked Questions.
Our service is offered free of charge. For up-to-date information on processing time, see Processing times.
On this page
- Check whether your documents need to be authenticated
- Get your document translated
- Reasons we cannot authenticate your document
- Processing times
- Provincial and territorial authentication services
- Contact details
Authentication is often required before you can use a Canadian public document abroad. To be authenticated, your document must be an original document bearing a recognized signature (and seal, if applicable). Authentication proves that the signature and the seal on the document are genuine.
In other countries, authentication is also known as legalization or apostille.
Check whether your documents need to be authenticated
Confirm requirements by contacting the embassy, high commission, or consulate of the country where your document will be used:
Get your document translated
If all or part of your document written in a language other than English or French, you must send a certified, notarized translation (Exception: We do not need translations for Canadian university diplomas issued in Greek or Latin.). You have two options:
Translation by a certified translator
What is a certified translation? It is a translation that is certified by a member of:
- the Canadian Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters Council, or
- a recognized provincial translation association
Some countries may require a translator’s affidavit. An affidavit must be signed and sealed by a Canadian notary.
Attestation by Canadian notary public provided they speak both languages. If that is the case, ensure that the notary public adds to their declaration the following statement:
- They attest to speaking both languages
- They certify the accuracy of the translation
Reasons we cannot authenticate your document
If we cannot authenticate your document, we will inform you in writing.
We cannot authenticate the following documents:
- documents without an original signature or seal (for example, plain photocopies)
- documents with unknown seals or with signatures we are unable to verify
- religious documents (for example, baptismal certificates, religious marriage certificates, or other documents issued by a religious institution)
- documents are of foreign origin (we can only authenticate Canadian documents)
- documents issued by unrecognized educational institutions
- glued documents
- laminated documents
- documents covered with any substance that would make it difficult to place a stamp on them
We can decline authentication and refer your case to the appropriate authority if
- the content of your document is believed to be misleading
- the document or the authentication process may be used for fraudulent, illegal or misleading purposes
We do not charge a fee for our service.
Please note that our office is dealing with a higher-than-normal volume of requests. Please submit your request sufficiently in advance, taking into consideration the authentication and legalization timelines.
As of May 1, 2022, the processing time is:
55 business days
from the day the request is delivered to our office. You must add up to 5 business days for mailing time. Please note the processing time is only an estimate and it may fluctuate depending on work volume and operational factors.
We do not offer expedited services so please plan your request accordingly by taking into consideration all the timelines and deadlines that apply to your case. If you have urgent and exceptional circumstances (generally defined as unexpected events outside of the applicant’s control and that make impossible waiting the regular processing time) and want us to consider processing your document in priority, you may contact us. Please note that you do not need to hire a third-party company to submit your request to our office.
Processing can take longer if:
- we need to contact you with questions about your request
- we don't have a specimen (that is, an example) of the signature on file (for example, because the document is old)
- we need to contact the issuing or signing authority of your document
We will inform you in writing if we cannot authenticate upon returning your document.
For more information on how we count processing times.
Provincial and territorial authentication services
Some provinces and territories offer authentication services with respect to public documents issued in their jurisdictions. These services operate independently of the Government of Canada.
Find more information about the following provincial and territorial authentication services:
- British Columbia
- Manitoba (PDF version, 247 KB)
- Nova Scotia
- Prince Edward Island
- Quebec – educational documents
Before contacting our office, please read steps 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, the Frequently asked questions section and, if applicable, the Statement in lieu of certificate of non-impediment to marriage abroad page.
If you are in Canada and submitted your documents more than 65 business days ago (approximately 3 months) and wish to obtain a status update, please fill in the form available at the Check the status of your request. If you submitted your document from abroad, the wait time to request a status update is 70 business days (approximately 3 months and ten days). If you have asked us to forward your documents to a foreign embassy, high commission or consulate, please check the status with them first. Due to the volume of requests, we regret that we cannot provide status updates for requests submitted before the waiting period has lapsed.
- Date Modified: