Notarized and Legalized Document
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How to get a notarized and legalized document?
When a Notary Public signs and stamps a document, that document becomes a notarized document. The signature and stamp certify that the notary witnessed the signature that appears on the document or that they made a certified true copy of an original document.
Since it is difficult to confirm the authenticity of a document issued abroad, many countries ask for personal and commercial documents to be notarized and legalized before they are accepted for use.
In this guide we’ll go over the notarization and legalization process in Canada and the steps you should follow for your documents to be recognized abroad.
What is a notarized document?
Notarized meaning: A notarized document is a document that has been certified by a notary public. The notary public witnesses the signing of the document and records it. By doing so, the notary verifies the document’s authenticity. Documents dealing with important financial and legal matters often require notarization to be valid.
It’s important to note that the notary will not give you legal advice on what you’re signing up for. Their role is to verify who signed the document and when.
You can obtain a notarization at financial institutions, law firms, postal offices, or through individual providers, provided Global Affairs Canada has a copy of the signature and stamp of the Notary Public on file. Without this requirement, your document will not be legalized.
What is a legalization?
Legalization is the second step in a process called authentication and legalization. A legalization stamp makes a document valid for use in another country. Legalization provides proof that the document was issued by an official authority, and that the signature seal and/or stamp are genuine.
Legalization does not confirm that the document’s content is correct. The authority requesting the legalized document should do the necessary checks.
Legalizations are done by Embassies or Consulates after Global Affairs Canada authenticates your document. A legalization stamp is only valid in the country where the stamp was issued. As an example, if you get your document legalized by the Embassy of Italy, that document will only be valid in Italy. To use it in another country, you must obtain an additional legalization stamp from that country’s embassy.
Notarization and Legalization: The Process
To notarize and legalize a document, you must follow a three-step process:
- Get a notarization from a Notary or Notary Public
- Submit your document for authentication at Global Affairs Canada
- Submit your document for legalization at an Embassy or Consulate
Let’s go into each of these steps in more detail.
1- How to notarize a document – Where to find a notary
The first step is to check if your document must indeed be notarized. Many original, private documents can be authenticated by Global Affairs Canada without a notarization. You can check if your document requires a notarization on this page.
If your document must be notarized, you will need to find a Canadian notary whose signature is recognized by Global Affairs Canada. Google “public notary” to find a notary close to you.
To sign your document, the notary must have a valid certificate of appointment. They should also follow the instructions provided by Global Affairs Canada, namely to:
- Handwrite their signature in ink
- Apply a stamp or seal showing their full name as it appears on their certificate of appointment and the Canadian province or territory in which they have been appointed
- Indicate the act they performed (certify that a document is a true copy of the original; received a declaration or affidavit; witnessed a signature)
- Indicate the date on which they notarized the document
- If applicable – indicate the date on which their appointment as a notary expires
In the case of a translated document, the notary may also be able to certify a translation as true, provided they speak both languages.
To notarize your document, the notary signs and applies a seal to your document. They can also prepare a separate certificate which they sign and attach to your document. If your notary also certified a translation they must attest to speaking both languages and certify the accuracy of the translation.
To get a notarization, you must present your official identification (such as a driver’s license, passport, or other government-issued ID) to prove your identity. Do not sign your document in advance as the notary has to witness the signing (unless it’s a certified true copy of an original in which case there’s nothing to sign). Chances are you will be asked to pay a fee to cover the notarial service.
2- How to submit a notarized document for Canada authentication
Before requesting a legalization stamp, you must get your document authenticated by Global Affairs Canada. Global Affairs Canada will not authenticate a document that:
- Does not have an original signature or seal
- Has a signature or seal that’s not verifiable
- Has been issued by religious organizations
- Was not issued in Canada
- Was issued by unrecognized educational institutions
- Is glued or laminated
- Is covered in a substance that makes it difficult to stamp
To submit your notarized document to Global Affairs Canada:
- Fill in the authentication request form
- Add the document you need to be authenticated
- Include 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: 1-833-928-1551. In-person visits are not possible at the moment.
3- How to request a legalization of a notarized document
The final step is to obtain a legalization stamp from the Embassy or Consulate of the country where you will be submitting your notarized document.
A number of embassies may ask for supporting documents, such as a translation and identification. It’s important that you consult the Embassy and prepare everything in advance to avoid your request being rejected.
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
At Document Authentication Canada, we can help you determine what’s needed for each specific Embassy so that your request will not be turned down and lead to unnecessary delays. We have the expertise to complete the entire authentication and legalization process on your behalf, saving you time and money.
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.
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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.
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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.
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…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 Document Notarization and Legalization
To get your document notarized, you must visit a Canadian public notary. A notary public can notarize and commission affidavits, oaths, affirmations and sworn statements declarations and certify true copies of a wide range of documents.
If you’re using your notarized document abroad, it’s important that you work with a notary public whose signature is registered with Global Affairs Canada.
A notary will:
- Verify your identity
- Ensure you’re a willing signer
- Ensure that you’re capable of making decisions and signing the document
In case of copies of original documents – a notary will sign and stamp your document as a ‘certified true copy of the original’.
To get your document notarized:
- Bring your official identity document with you
- Bring your original documents – you should check with the notary if you should send your documents ahead of time to confirm that they can indeed notarize them for you
- Sign and pay the fee
Notaries have expenses to cover so their service is often not free. ServiceOntario provides a list of places where you can find a notary public, but fees may still be charged for the service.
Yes – there are Canadian notaries that offer this service but always ensure that their signature is registered at Global Affairs Canada. Global Affairs Canada does not authenticate documents without a recognised signature. Without an authentication, you cannot legalize your document.
Not much. The purpose of each is the same – to let another country know that a document was genuinely obtained. Different countries use different terms to refer to the authentication and legalization process. If you’re asked to present an apostilled document, it means that the country that is asking has signed The Hague Apostille Convention. Canada is not a signatory to this Convention so cannot issue apostilles. The Canadian alternative is called authentication and legalization.
You may also be asked for an attestation, especially if you’re moving to or doing business in the Middle East. This refers to the legalization part of the process, in which case you’d still need to submit your documents to Global Affairs Canada and the Embassy of the country that requested the document.
In short, if you’re asked for an apostille or an attestation, you should consider this as authentication and legalization in Canada.
It shouldn’t take long to obtain a notarization, however, as of May 1, 2022, Global Affairs Canada’s processing time for document authentication is 55 business days. 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 8 to 10 weeks, more if you do not submit the correct documents.
If you prefer to speed up the process, you can choose to outsource your documents to experts who can navigate these steps accurately and efficiently. At Document Authentication Canada, we can get your document notarized, authenticated, legalized, and ready for use abroad quickly. Get in touch with us for a free quote!
Quick Canada Document Notarization and Authentication
This guide has provided all you should know about getting a document notarized, authenticated and legalized, ready for use abroad.
It’s undoubtedly a long (and oftentimes tiring) process, especially if you’re planning a move or preparing for a new job abroad. At Document Authentication Canada, we facilitate the notarization and legalization of documents. 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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