Birth Certificate authentication and legalization in Canada

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Birth Certificate Canada
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Birth Certificate Canada
Birth Certificate Canada

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Birth Certificate Authentication in Canada

If you’re in the process of moving to another country or applying to study abroad, chances are you’ve been asked for a legalized version of your birth certificate.

Each country has its own practices when it comes to recognizing documents issued in other countries. You may be asked for an apostille, legalization, attestation, or authentication.

In this guide, we will go over all you need to know about birth certificate authentication and preparing your birth certificate for use abroad. It’s not as simple as getting a birth certificate and then presenting it – we’ll provide you with an overview of all the steps to follow to ensure you have the right documents in the right format at hand.

And – if this already sounds like too much – give us a call on 613-229-6674 and we’ll handle the process for you, efficiently and securely.

Birth Certificate Authentication Canada: The Process

Authenticating your birth certificate is a three-step process:

  1. Document Preparation
  2. Authentication
  3. Legalization

Let’s go into each of these in more detail:

1- How to prepare your Birth Certificate for Authentication

The first step is to check the requirements of the final entity where you will be submitting your documents. Do they need a long-form birth certificate? Or a basic birth certificate is sufficient? Once you’ve determined what is required and ordered your document from the province you were born in (more details above), it’s time to check you have everything set for Global Affairs Canada to authenticate the document for you.

You do not need to notarize your birth certificate once you receive it.

2- How to submit your birth certificate for authentication

The next step is authentication at Global Affairs Canada Ottawa. Global Affairs Canada will not authenticate your birth certificate if:

  • It is not an original
  • It’s a notarized copy (if you need a copy, it must be issued by the appropriate vital statistics office)
  • They cannot verify the signature on it (this shouldn’t be the case if you order your birth certificate directly from your province)
  • It is pocket-sized
  • It has been issued by a religious institution (for example a baptism certificate)
  • It is glued or laminated (Don’t laminate your birth certificate!)
  • It is covered by any substance that makes it difficult to stamp

Global Affairs Canada does not authenticate proofs of birth issued by hospitals containing the name of a newborn, even if it is notarized.

Once you have your document ready, you can submit it to Global Affairs Canada. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person authentication services are currently unavailable.

You can send your documents by mail instead, and include:

  • The authentication request form
  • The document you need to be authenticated
  • A self-addressed stamped envelope or a prepaid courier shipping label.
  • Send your documents to the Global Affairs Canada address:
    Global Affairs Canada
    Authentication Services Section (JLAC)
    125 Sussex Drive
    Ottawa, ON K1A 0G2

In case of any questions, you can also call the Global Affairs Canada authentication services phone number: 613-229-6674

3- How to request legalization of your Canadian birth certificate

The final step is to obtain a legalization stamp from the Embassy or Consulate of the country where you will be using your document. So, for example, if you need to use your document in Italy, you must get in touch with the Italian embassy to legalize your document, before you can use it successfully in Italy.

A number of embassies ask for supporting documents to process your request. These may include a cover letter, an application form, a copy of your ID or passport, and, in some cases, also a translation.

While completing Step 2 (Authentication) you have the option to ask Global Affairs Canada to forward your documents to an Embassy or consulate in Ottawa on your behalf, for them to complete the legalization step. To do this:

  • Select “Forward to an embassy/consulate” in the “Shipping Details” section of the mail-in form
  • Provide the embassy or consulate’s full mailing address
  • Include a separate, sealed envelope with documents for the embassy

If you choose this option, get in touch with the Embassy or Consulate before you mail your documents to Global Affairs Canada. Failure to follow Global Affairs Canada’s or the Embassy’s instructions may result in your documents being returned to you without having been legalized.


Our simple 4-step process helps you authenticate and legalize your Canadian documents in a fast & easy manner.

Start by calling us at 1-855-700-5840 or requesting a quote online. We’ll get back to you in 1 hour.

Not sure if your documents meet the requirements for authentication and legalisation? 👇

Reach out to our experts and receive a Free Document Evaluation.

Once you receive a quote and select a time frame that works best for you. We’ll provide you with a final price and help you prepare your documents. When your ready ship your documents to our office in Ottawa: 1103-467 Laurier West, Avenue Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1R 5C7.

We recommend that you use a secure, prepaid and tracked courier service for sending your documents.

Have any questions? Feel free to call us at 1-855-700-5840

After receiving your documents we will take care of the rest. We will make sure your documents get authenticated and legalized within your requested time frame.

Want to stay updated throughout the whole process?

Check out Document Authentication Canada’s Document Tracking System.

…and that’s it! After completing the document authentication and legalization process, we will send your documents using the shipping method of your choice.

Remember: With Document Authentication Canada you only pay at the end, once your documents have been completely authenticated and legalized.

Common Questions about Birth Certificate Authentication and Legalization

Global Affairs Canada’s current processing time is 15 days, but this excludes mailing time, and the time it takes for the Embassy or consulate to complete the legalization step. The whole process can easily take from 4 to 6 weeks, more if you do not submit the correct documents.

If you don’t have all this time available, you can choose to outsource the process to experts who can navigate the process accurately and efficiently. At Document Authentication Canada, we can get your birth certificate authenticated, legalized, and ready for use abroad in just 3 to 5 days. Get in touch with us for a free quote!

Global Affairs Canada does not charge a fee to authenticate your birth certificate. However, each embassy in Ontario charges a unique fee for the legalization step. You can find more information on Embassy pricing, in our Embassies section.

It could be that you’ve been asked to present an attestation or an apostilled birth certificate. Countries have different ways of referring to authentication requirements, but the process in Canada is called authentication and legalization.

So, if Italy asks for an apostille or Qatar asks for attestation, the Canada-Italy, and the Canada-Qatar process is actually authentication and legalization.

Attestation is the term commonly used in the Middle East, whereas only countries that are party to the Hague Apostille Convention can issue and recognize apostilles.

Since Canada did not sign the Convention, you cannot get a Canada apostille, but you can get your documents authenticated and legalized and that’s an accepted equivalent.

You do not need to translate your Canadian birth certificate for it to be authenticated by Global Affairs Canada as they accept documents in English and French.

However, you should check with the entity abroad where you will be using your documents, to see what their requirements are. To complete the legalization step of the process, you should also consult that country’s Embassy or Consulate for language requirements at their end.

No, your birth certificate must be original. Global Affairs Canada does not accept notarized copies of birth certificates for authentication. You can find more information on how to get a new birth certificate in this section.

In rare cases, you can obtain a provincial authentication instead of authentication at Global Affairs Canada. If the Embassy or Consulate of the country where you will be using your birth certificate accepts the provincial authentication, then you can process a notarized copy. As we’ve already noted though, this is the exception rather than the rule so make sure to check with the Embassy or Consulate to avoid delays and unnecessary expenses.

You can authenticate your Canadian document by mailing your document to Global Affairs Canada and then requesting a legalization from the Embassy of the country in which you will be using your document. You can find detailed information about this process in the ‘How to authenticate a birth certificate in Canada’ section.

Authentication and legalization prove that the signature and the seal on your document are genuine.

Since it’s difficult for countries to prove that a document issued in a foreign country is genuine, there is a process that involves both the country that issued the document and the country where the document will be used.

So, if you need to present your Canadian birth certificate abroad, there is a process you must follow before it can be accepted. In Canada, this process is called authentication and legalization.

But, first things first:

You can easily order a new birth certificate using the respective Canadian Province’s or Territory’s online service.

If you were born in Ontario, then you should visit Service Ontario. Each province only issues birth certificates for people born within that province. Click on the province where you were born to order your birth certificate:

British Columbia
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Northwest Territories
Nova Scotia
Prince Edward Island

Only in specific circumstances. The following can order a birth certificate:

  • The person named on the certificate
  • The persons listed as parents
  • A legal representative
  • A child or grandchild of the person registered
  • An agent, on written authorization by the person on the birth certificate or the parents
  • A person who requires the certificate for use in court, for adoption, or for estate settlement.

You can order one of three types of birth certificates:

  1. Birth certificate – this is an extract of the original birth registration and includes:
    • Name
    • Date of birth
    • Sex
    • Birthplace
    • Date of registration
    • Registration number
    • Date of issue
    • Certificate number
  2. Birth certificate with parental information – this is an extract of the original birth registration and includes
    • All the information on the birth certificate as outlined above
    • The name(s) and place(s) of birth of the subject’s parent(s)
  3. Certified copy of birth registration – once a child is born, the parents or guardians must register their birth with the government of the province where the birth took place. A certified copy of birth registration is a copy of the original and:
    • Includes all the details of the registration
    • Is endorsed as authentic by the Office of the Registrar General
    • Is printed on legal-sized paper and contains a raised seal for security and verification purposes
    • Contains a thorough record of any changes made over the years, including any name changes and corrections of information


Common terms used for birth certificates include long-form, wallet-size, and file size.

A long-form birth certificate may refer to a birth certificate with parental information or a certified copy of the birth certificate. Both include detailed information.

A file size certificate contains basic information and is about the size of a 5 x 7 photo.

Wallet-size certificates are the smallest but these cannot be authenticated as they’re too small to apply the required authentication and legalization stamps.

Only birth certificates, birth certificates with parental information, and certified copy of birth registration can be authenticated and legalized. It’s important to ensure you have the required format before submitting your documents for authentication and legalization. Get in touch with us for expert advice if you’re unsure of what is required.

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Quick Canada Birth Certificate Authentication

This guide has provided all you should know about applying for birth certificate authentication in Canada, including how to order one and the expected costs and timelines.

Preparing your birth certificate and then submitting it to Global Affairs Canada and the Embassy or consulate concerned can be a complicated and lengthy process. There are multiple entities involved, as well as specific procedures to follow.

At Document Authentication Canada, we help facilitate the legalization of birth certificates and other documents in Canada. We navigate through the bureaucracy on your behalf so that you avoid unnecessary delays. Get in touch with our expert team on 1-855-700-5840 to request a quote and a free document evaluation.

Birth Certificate Canada

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