Capital Authentication: Your Trusted Partner > FAQ: Document Authentication and Legalization

Frequently Asked Questions about Document Authentication and Legalization

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Capital Authentication knows how confusing and stressful it can be to authenticate or legalize documents. Below are some of our most frequently asked questions: everything from what could happen if there is an issue with the paperwork to how documents can be sent, we explain it all.

If you don’t see your question answered here, please fill out the form and we will do our best to make sure you can move forward with confidence.

Document authentication is the process whereby a Canadian document is stamped by the authentication section of Global Affairs Canada or the appropriate Provincial body.  This is the first of two steps for documents that are intent on being used abroad.

Document legalization is the second step in the process for allowing a Canadian document to be deemed legitimate for use in a particular country.  This process involves affixing a stamp on the document, after it has been processed by Global Affairs Canada, by the appropriate diplomatic mission in Canada.

At Capital Authentication, we work very closely with our clients.  We like to ensure that our clients are fully informed about the process.

In terms of our fees, they are tailored to the specific needs of each individual client.  We do not believe that one fee structure fits everyone.  Further, we like to focus on what we consider to be “completion times”.  In other words, what is the total processing time required to complete both the authentication and legalization components.  If faster processing is requested by a client but it cannot be accommodated due to the inefficiency of a particular diplomatic mission, our clients are informed.  We do not believe that a client should pay for a fast service if it is not available or if is not something that they require.  If you have questions about this, please reach out to our office.

When considering using a third party service provider to assist with the authentication and legalization process one might contemplate using either an authentication and legalization service and/or process server.  Various service providers can be found by doing simple internet searches.  But, are they different?   Generally speaking, the various third party service providers are not very different.  The main differences come down to knowledge about the overall process, requirements of a particular diplomatic mission and the fees that are charged by the third party service provider.  It is very important that one complete a minimum level of due diligence when choosing a third party service provider as one will find that the fees charged can vary widely.

Our office has taken the liberty of being extremely transparent as we believe that it is very important to clearly post our fees for service.  One can select the “our fees” icon and then select the services that they require.  The most utilized service is: “authentication and legalization”.  One can quickly see a chart which identifies the four different processing speeds being 3, 5, 7 and 10 day processing.  One can also determine the associated cost in relation to the number of documents that they have.  When working with our office we will also make inquires to ensure that the processing speed selected fits with their particular needs.  Should a more cost effective option exist, our office takes great pains to make sure our client understands and can be fully informed.

At Capital Authentication we like to offer our clients the option of providing the consular fees themselves.  If it is more convenient, we will happily obtain the required instrument on behalf of our client and bill the relevant disbursement on the statement of account.

Our office offers a number of different payment options such as money order, e-transfer, direct payment into our account, credit card (visa or mastercard).  If you have any questions about payment methods, please feel free to reach out to our office either by e-mail or telephone as we will happily discuss payment options.

Our office offers four different processing options depending upon the degree of urgency that a client might require their documents to be processed.  Although every document is important we do not believe that each file is urgent and therefore warrants high fees.  We like to ask our clients questions as we like to be sure that clients are being charged for the services that they actually require as opposed to the one that they think that they might need.  Simply refer to our “fees” icon and select the service that you require.  One can conveniently see the procession options available in relation to the number of documents that are being processed.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact our office.

We suggest using a national courier such as FedEx, Purolator, DHL or Canada Post “Xpresspost”.  Each of these courier options offers a form of tracking and considering that the documents are sensitive in nature the ability to track your item is strongly recommended.

Once the authentication and legalization services have been completed, our clients can provide a prepaid return courier to our office.  If however it is more convenient, our office will happily arrange for the return courier either to our client directly or to an authorized third party of their choosing.

At Capital Authentication we do not like to return documents to a client using regular lettermail.  Regular lettermail is not encouraged given the sensitive nature of the documents.  However, where a client has specifically requests this method of return, we will comply.

This is a very good question and it really depends upon where one intends to use the document.  As long as the document is a Canadian document, Global Affairs Canada will authenticate either an original document or a notarized copy of the document.  If using a notarized document, the notary must be a Canadian notary.   The more important question to ask is whether the diplomatic mission in question will accept notarized documents instead of original documents.  It is always best to consult the diplomatic mission to determine if original documents and/or notarized documents can be used.  There are some diplomatic missions that will only accept original documents.

Our office has access to a local notary that can make notarized copies of original documents.  If necessary, our office can also assist with putting a client in touch with a Canadian notary closer to them.

Should a problem arise with the processing of your documents due to a change in policy or requirements by Global Affairs Canada or at a particular diplomatic mission our office will be in contact with our clients immediately, by e-mail and/or telephone, so as to identify the problem and determine the best possible solution.

There are many instances when it is more convenient for a client to have documents sent directly to our office as opposed to their receiving them first.  For example, government issued documents such as birth certificates can be sent directly to us.  We can receive them and start compiling a client dossier with the authentication and legalization component to commence once we have all of the documents.

At Capital Authentication we feel that it is very important to keep clients updated with the status of their documents.  Updates are typically done by way of e-mail and they are done in a manner that compliments the processing option that a client has requested.

Global Affairs Canada is a Federal Government department in Ottawa, Ontario Canada.  This government department was previsously known as the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFATD).

This is the Authentication and Service of Documents Section of Global Affairs Canada.  Despite working in the authentication and legalization service for about 20 years, our office has never been able to determine what the acronym “JLAC” stands for!

At Capital Authentication we take the authentication and legalization services very seriously.  We attend at Global Affairs Canada almost daily for the purpose of authenticating documents for use abroad.   We also attend at the various diplomatic missions to submit and retrieve documents on behalf of our clients.

Generally speaking, changes do not happen often.  When they do however, it usually comes with little or no notice and this can be frustrating for clients.  To compound this issue, most diplomatic missions are very slow to update their websites.

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