In order to use Canadian identification and vital statistics documents in another country you must have them legalized and authenticated. The most common reason to need your document authenticated and legalized is marriage in a foreign country. But this page will tell you how to authentication and legalize a Canadian document for any use abroad.
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Immigroup Authentication and Legalization Fees:
- Courier to Ottawa: CAD$30
- Authentication and Legalization Service: $275
- Courier to you: $30 (if in Canada - outside of Canada courier costs vary)
- Total: $335 + HST
Get your certificate/document
You must be in possession of the document you wish to get authenticated and/or legalized. If you do not have that document, you need to get it in order to have it authenticated. Let's assume you are authenticating your birth certificate for use in a foreign country in order to get married.
If you do not yet have your birth certificate, we will need to get your birth/marriage certificate first. If you have not yet acquired your certificate, you will need to acquire it from your provincial Vital Stastitics Office or Registrar General. Here is their information:
Service Alberta, Vital Statistics
PO Box 2023
Edmonton AB T5J 4W7
Telephone: (780) 427-7013
Telephone (Toll Free within AB): (780) 310-0000 followed by (780) 427-7013
Fax: (780) 401-4088
Email: [email protected]
British Columbia Vital Statistics Agency
PO Box 9657 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria BC V8W 9P3
Telephone: (250) 952-2681
Fax: (250) 952-9074
Manitoba Vital Statistics Agency
254 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg MB R3C 0B6
Service New Brunswick Vital Statistics
PO Box 1998
Fredericton NB E3B 5G4
Telephone: (506) 453-2385
Telephone (Toll free within N America): 1-888-762-8600
Fax: (506) 444-4139
Newfoundland and Labrador Vital Statistics Division
PO Box 8700
St. John's NL A1B 4J6
Northwest Territories Department of Health and Social Services
Inuvik NT X0E 0T0
Service Nova Scotia and Vital Statistics
PO Box 157
Halifax NS B3J 2M9
Telephone: (902) 424-4381
Telephone (Toll Free within NS): 1-877-848-2578
Fax: (902) 424-0678
Email: [email protected]
Nunavut Department of Health and Social Services
Rankin Inlet NU X0C 0G0
Telephone: (867) 645-8001
Telephone (Toll Free within NU): 1-800-661-0833
Fax: (867) 645-8092
Email: [email protected]
Ontario Office of the Registrar General
PO Box 4600 189 Red River Road
Thunder Bay ON P7B 6L8
Telephone: (416) 325-8305
Telephone (Toll Free Outside Ontario): 1-800-461-2156
Fax: (807) 343-7459
Prince Edward IslandVital Statistics
126 Douses Road
Montague PE C0A 1R0
Telephone: (902) 838-0880
Telephone (Toll Free): 1-877-320-1253
Fax: (902) 838-0883
Quebec - Vital Statistics Registrar of civil status / Le Directeur de l'État Civil
2535, boulevard Laurier
Québec QC G1V 5C5
Telephone: (418) 644-4545
Quebec Institute of Statistics - Information and Documentation Centre
200, chemin Sainte-Foy, 3rd Floor
Québec QC G1R 5T4
Telephone: (418) 691-2401
Telephone (Toll free): 1-800-463-4090
Fax: (418) 643-4129
Saskatchewan Health Registries
2130 11th Avenue
Regina SK S4P 0J5
Yukon Territory Vital Statistics
PO Box 2703
Whitehorse YT Y1A 2C6
Once you have your birth certificate or other document, the next step is to have it authenticated in Ottawa.
Authenticate Your Certificate at Global Affairs
In order to use your document in another country the first thing you need to do is to have your certificate "authenticated" by Global Affairs Canada.
Canadian birth, death and marriage certificates are issued by provincial authorities, not the federal government. The same is true of driver's licenses and provincial photo ID cards. These documents cannot be used as proofs of your identity or citizenship or marriage status or birth date in another country without being authenticated by the Government of Canada.
When Global Affairs Canada authenticates your document it is telling other countries that this document was issued by the relevant authority in Canada. For example, when they authenticate an Ontario birth certificate they are saying that this birth certificate was produced by Government of Ontario and proves the person named on the certificate was born in Ontario on the date listed at the place listed. Without authentication, the foreign government will have no idea whether or not your birth certificate (or other document is) is real ("authentic").
There are all sorts of documents you can get authenticated by Global Affairs:
- Admission and acceptance letters
- Adoption papers
- Apprenticeship certificates
- Background check
- Birth certificate
- Business documents
- Burial permit
- Canada Food Inspection Agency documents
- Canada Revenue Agency documents
- Canadian court documents
- Canadian Issued documents in a foreign language
- Canada Pension Plan certificate
- Canadian university or college programs delivered abroad
- Certificate of free sale
- Certificates from coroner's office
- Court judgment
- Court order
- Cremation documents
- Criminal record check issued by RCMP HQ in Ottawa
- Criminal record check not issued by the RCMP HQ in Ottawa
- Death certificate
- Diploma - elementary school, high school, college or university
- Divorce certificate
- Educational documents
- Enrollment letter
- Fingerprint certificate
- Foreign Issued documents
- Getting married abroad
- Government-issued documents
- Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada documents
- Industry Canada documents
- Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada documents
- Language school certificates
- Legal documents
- Letter of contents
- Marriage certificate
- Marriage search documents
- Medical documents
- Name change certificate
- Power of attorney
- Professional certificates
- Report cards
- Security clearance
- Shipment documents
- Statement in Lieu of Certificate of non-impediment to marriage
- Statements and declarations
- Statutory declaration
- TESL (Teachers of English as a Second Language)
- Transcript - high school, college or university
You can take your document(s) to Ottawa or you can get them authenticated by mail.
Authenticate in Person
In order to get your document(s) authenticated, you need to travel to Ottawa. Before you travel you should know the requirements for your next step with your authenticated document (usually legalization) so that you don't have go back.
Let's take the case of a birth certificate:
- The birth certificate must have been issued by the provincial Vital Statistics Office or Registrar General. Religious birth certificates, such as one issued by a church, will be refused.
- Global Affairs will authenticate either the original long form certificate or a certified copy of the wallet-sized ("short form") birth certificate. They will not authenticate an original short form birth certificate nor will they authenticate a copy of the long form which isn't certified.
Provided you have the right document, you can travel to the Global Affairs to authenticate the document:
JLAC- Authentication Services Section
1st floor (Look for the signs: “JLAC- Authentication Services Section”)
111 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Hours: Monday-Thrusday 10AM-12PM and 2PM-3PM No appointment necessary
As you can seem, the hours are brief and there could be lines.
If you have fewer than 15 documents, the service is done while you wait unless they need more time to authenticate the document. This is the advantage of going in person: you can get your document authenticated in moments, provided you get there early enough or they're not that busy. However, the real reason to go in person is if the Embassy at which you intend to legalize the document only offers in-person service. (See below.)
Authenticate by Mail
Once you are ready to have your document(s) authenticated (see above), complete the following steps:
- Complete this form
- Send the form and the document(s) to the below address:
Global Affairs Canada
Authentication Services Section (JLAC)
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, ON Canada K1A 0G2
You should use a mail or courier service which provides a tracking number. And you can check the status online. Your document will come back to you through the mail.
Now you have an authenticated document!
Legalization at the Embassy
However, authentication isn't normally good enough. All authentication does is indicate that the certificate or document is from a Canadian governmental authority. Canadian authorities are not necessarily recognized in other countries.
You need your document legalized as well.
Legalization is when another country indicates that they recognize that this document was issued by the relevant authority in Canada and it is now usable in their country.
Normally, legalization services are performed at the relevant Embassy in Ottawa, Canada. Some consulates in other Canadian cities may perform legalization services as well, but they will require the document be authenticated by Global Affairs already.
The legalization process depends upon the Embassy. And each Embassy has different hours of operation.
Some Embassies allow mail service and will even accept documents forwarded from Global Affairs.
However, some Embassies do not provide legalization services through the mail, meaning you have to go in person. You need to contact the relevant Embassy to see how they want you to deliver the document, or hire a third party.