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What is the Difference Between Authentication and Legalization?

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Category: Authentication and Apostile , Legalization
Posted: June 3, 2021

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What does Authentication and Legalization mean?

In order for Canadian documents to be officially recognized in foreign countries, they must be authenticated and legalized. It is important to understand these terms and what they imply in terms of Canadian documents. Firstly, organizations around the globe may require your documents to be formally notarized, authenticated, and legalized in order to prove that they are genuine. As the equivalent of apostille and attestation around the world, document authentication and legalization in Canada follows a three-step approach.
1. Notarization – Requires a notary or lawyer to approve signatures on your document followed by the attachment of a notarization seal.
 2. Authentication – Involves seeking a certificate of authenticity for your document from The Ministry of Global Affairs.
 3. Legalization – Final step in which we attach a certificate of legalization after a government official at the embassy has thoroughly inspected your document.

What Documents can be Authenticated and Legalized?

Here are a list of common documents that individuals may need to be authenticated and legalized:

  • birth certificate
  • certificate of origin
  • certificate of pharmaceutical product
  • certificate of residency
  • commercial invoice
  • criminal record check
  • death certificate
  • divorce certificate
  • educational documents
  • good manufacturing practices (GMP) certificate
  • manufacturer’s declaration
  • pilot’s licence


Requirements and Process:

In order for your documents to be authenticated and legalized, they must be original. However, oftentimes for certain documents such as diplomas or birth certificates, for example, individuals may not prefer all these stamps on their original documentation. In this case, they must visit a notary public and obtain a true copy of the document which is stamped, signed, and dated by the lawyer themselves. Authentication can only occur once the document is notarized. The second step, authentication, is when the Ministry of Global Affairs will issue the authenticity of the document, and this is a vital step in order for legalization to occur. Please note that the document must be authenticated before it is legalized. The last step, legalization, is when a certificate of legalization is issued at the embassy of the country that you want to send the document to, in Canada.

The complete process of authentication and legalization is pillared with signature verifications. The Authentication officer at Global Affairs Canada will authenticate the document with a red authentication stamp. They will write the name of the person’s signatures they have attested or authenticated and then add their own signatures for the further procedure (legalization). During the process’s legalization segment, the consulate or embassy will include their own certificate, sticker, or stamp to your documents. Every consulate or embassy differs from others in terms of style, format, colour, and the language of the process.
The Legalization process verifies that the embassy or the consulate recognizes the authentication
officer’s signatures at Global Affairs Canada.

Although many consider apostille and authentication processes the same, they are slightly different. A document that has gone through the process of Authentication is only eligible in the country for which it is legalized. Whereas an apostilled document can be used in any other apostille country without any means of additional requirements.

The purpose of both the processes is the same which is to certify a document to be recognized in another country officially. Apostille certifications are only issued to the countries that lay under the Hague Apostille Convention. Canada, on the other hand, is not part of this convention and doesn’t need apostille certificates; instead, it uses the process of authentication.

We can make the process very easy for you by handling all the documents on your behalf. Our team would be happy to get obliged with you and give a thorough detail about the process to expedite this lengthy procedure.

Globeia is readily available to assist you in making this a swift and easy process. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call, send us an email, or visit us via an appointment as we are here to help you!

Address: 1185 Victoria Park Avenue, Scarborough, Ontario M4B 2K5

Phone: 416-288-8070


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