Vaccination Certificate Authentication & Legalization
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Vaccination Certificate Authentication and Legalization
As restrictions ease and travel resumes, most countries are asking for ‘covid passports’ before granting entry to travelers. To ensure the health of their citizens, some countries are even going one step further by asking that vaccination certificates are apostilled, attested, authenticated or legalized.
The four terms are used interchangeably but Canadian vaccination certificates can only be authenticated. In this guide, we will go over the authentication process for Canadian COVID-19 vaccination certificates.
How to authenticate your Canadian vaccination certificate
There’s nothing worse than making holiday plans and then getting stuck at a border. More than ever before, the current COVID-19 pandemic makes it imperative that you check all country requirements before traveling.
A number of countries are only accepting vaccination certificates that have been authenticated. This is how you can authenticate your Canadian COVID-19 certificate for it to be accepted by countries abroad.
Authenticating your vaccination certificate is a three-step process:
- Document Preparation
Let’s go into each of these in more detail:
1. How to prepare your Covid-19 Vaccine Certificate for Authentication
You first have to obtain your vaccination certificate. At the time of writing, Canada is still working on issuing a secure, standard vaccination certificate. However, if you need the certificate now, you can visit your province or territory’s site for more information.
Since the situation remains fluid and rules on recognized vaccines and certificates are constantly changing, we greatly recommend getting in touch with the Embassy of the country you will be visiting and asking:
- Is the country accepting foreign travelers?
- Are there additional requirements to enter the country (PCR test, quarantine, etc.)?
- Do they recognize your Canadian vaccination certificate (including the vaccine you received and a number of doses)?
- Do you need to translate your vaccination certificate?
- Do you need to authenticate your vaccination certificate? Global Affairs Canada will not authenticate your vaccination certificate if this is not a requirement by your destination country.
It’s also important to know that if you intend to travel to more than one country, your authenticated vaccination certificate will not be valid for all countries you visit, provided that all are asking for authentication. The process of authentication and legalization is only valid between Canada and the one other country that stamps the document.
Once you’ve determined this, the first step in the process is to prepare your document so that it’s accepted by all three parties in the process: Global Affairs Canada, the Embassy or Consulate of your destination country, and the final recipient, in this case, the country you’re traveling to.
The first step is notarization. COVID vaccination certificates need to be notarized before they can be processed by Global Affairs Canada.
Your certificate can be notarized by any Canadian notary that has a signature that is recognized by Global Affairs Canada. If they do not have a recognized signature (and you have time to spare), you can ask your notary to register with Global Affairs Canada by providing a specimen signature.
The notary will sign and seal your document. When signing your document, the notary must have a valid certificate of appointment and sign the document with ink (digital signatures don’t count).
They must also stamp it or apply a seal that shows their full name as it is stated on their certificate of appointment and the Canadian province or territory in which they have been appointed.
Once you’ve prepared your vaccination certificate, it’s time to submit it for a Global Affairs Canada authentication.
2. How to authenticate your Canadian vaccination certificate
Global Affairs Canada is currently not accepting in-person submissions. Instead, you have to send your documents by mail or courier and include:
- The authentication request form (a written request for a certificate of authentication)
- The vaccination certificate
- A self-addressed stamped envelope or a prepaid courier shipping label.
You can then send your documents to the Global Affairs Canada authentication address:
- Global Affairs Canada
Authentication Services Section (JLAC)
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, ON K1A 0G2
Global Affairs Canada will not authenticate vaccination certificates that:
- Are plain photocopies without a notarization
- Have an unknown signature or seal
- Have been glued or laminated
- Are covered in a substance that makes it difficult to stamp
- Have misleading content
If you have any questions, you can also call the Global Affairs Canada authentication services phone number: 1-833-928-1551.
Once they’ve reviewed your document, Global Affairs Canada places a stamp of authentication on the certificate.
3. How to request legalization of your Covid-19 immunization record
This step is completed by the Embassy or Consulate of your destination country.
Some embassies ask for supporting documents, such as translations, application forms, and a copy of your ID card. It’s important that you get in touch with the Embassy to ensure that you’re meeting all requirements. Failure to do so will lead to your documents not being processed – and hence long delays.
Once received, the consular staff at the Embassy will review your certificate, ensuring it meets the country’s requirements and will also check the authentication stamp. If all is in order, they will place a stamp or sticker on the document, confirming that it has been legalized.
When sending your document to Global Affairs Canada for authentication (Step 2), you also have the option of telling them to forward the document straight to your Embassy of choice in Ottawa. The Embassy will then complete Step 3, the legalization. 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.
The process can get quite overwhelming as multiple entities are involved. Rules surrounding COVID-19 vaccination requirements are also often changing. Get in touch with us on 1-855-700-5840 if you need help securing your vaccination certificate authentication.
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 Vaccination Certificate Authentication and Legalization
To authenticate a document in Canada, you first have to prepare your document (a notarization and/or translation may be required), submit it to Global Affairs Canada, and then to the embassy of the country where you will be using your document.
You can learn more about this process in our authentication guide.
You cannot apostille your Canadian vaccination certificate because Canada is not a party to the Hague Apostille Convention. This means Canada cannot issue apostilles, and it does not recognize them, either.
Authentication and legalization is an acceptable equivalent and you can learn about that process in the section above.
It’s important to note that, unlike apostilles, authentication and legalization is only valid for one country. So, if you get your document stamped by Canada and then Japan, the stamps are only recognized by those two countries and no others.
Fully vaccinated travelers can enter Canada provided they meet all requirements and are exempt from quarantine and Day-8 testing requirements. However, at the time of writing, Canada is still not accepting travelers solely on the basis of their vaccination status. You should always check the government’s official website for the latest rules.
As of August 20, 2021, Canada accepts the following vaccines:
- Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty, tozinameran, BNT162b2)
- Moderna (mRNA-1273)
- AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD (ChAdOx1-S, Vaxzevria, AZD1222)
- Janssen/Johnson & Johnson (Ad26.COV2.S)
Canada does not accept these vaccines:
- Bharat Biotech (Covaxin, BBV152 A, B, C)
- Cansino (Convidecia, Ad5-nCoV)
- Gamalaya (Sputnik V, Gam-Covid-Vac)
- Sinopharm (BBIBP-CorV, Sinopharm-Wuhan)
- Sinovac (CoronaVac, PiCoVacc)
- Vector Institute (EpiVacCorona)
The list of accepted vaccines may expand in the future. Updates are available on the official travel website.
Authentication at Global Affairs Canada takes an average of 15 days, excluding mailing time. Since your document needs to be notarized prior to being authenticated, and then legalized, it’s more likely that the entire process will take anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks.
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 vaccination certificate legalized, and ready for use abroad in just 3 to 5 days. Get in touch with us for a free quote!
For authentication purposes, there is no need to translate your vaccination certificate. Global Affairs Canada authenticates documents in English and French.
However, embassies (and the destination country) have different rules. You should always check the Embassy’s and destination country’s specific requirements before submitting your documents.
You should now have a better idea of the authentication and legalization process for Canadian vaccination certificates.
Preparing your 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 vaccination 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.
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