Turnkey Legalization and Authentication of Documents

I provide legalization and authentication of documents on a turnkey basis for their use outside of Canada

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I am a certified member of Canadian translator associations and have already helped over 11,000 clients across Canada

since 2012
What Is an Apostille and Legalization in Canada and What Are They For?
An apostille is a confirmation of the legality of a document for its use in another country.
Apostille is NOT applicable in Canada.
Apostilles are used only in those countries that signed the Hague Convention in 1961. Then these countries came up with a ONE-step procedure called “apostille”, which is basically placing a special stamp called “apostille” on documents in the country of issue. All those countries sort of “trust” this “apostille” as if it the document was issued in that country.

Canada did NOT sign the Hague Convention. Therefore, the procedure for affixing an apostille in Canada does NOT apply and the word “apostille” in Canada does NOT mean anything.
In Canada, the concept of “legalization” is used instead.
Legalization is the procedure which an official document issued in one country must go through in order to become legal in another country.
1) Authentication
2) Legalization

Sometimes they are collectively called by one word “legalization”, although this is not absolutely correct. If you see the expression “legalization in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs”, that is precisely the authentication. It is important not to confuse these terms.

The authentication is done by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Canada or by a provincial or territorial Canadian authority (more on this below).
The legalization is done by a consulate of the country for which the document is being legalized.
These are different procedures, but both are an integral part of the overall legalization process.
Documents prepared by or with the participation of Canadian authorities and intended for usage in other countries are subject to a TWO-step procedure.
These two steps are:
In Canada, the apostille system is NOT used, so legalization is required.
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What Documents Need to Be Legalized?
1) Certificates issued by civil registry offices, for example, certificates of birth, death, marriage, change of name, last name, etc.
2) Powers of attorney and notarial statements, including statements of being alive, renunciation of inheritance, absence of past and current marriages (certificates of single status, single status declarations), which are drawn up or signed by a notary
3) Diplomas, supplements to diplomas, certificates and other documents related to education
4) Bank statements, court documents, divorce decrees
5) Cremation or burial certificates
6) Corporation registration certificates, bank statements, letters of guarantee from directors of the company, extracts from registers of corporations, certificates for products for export from Canada to other countries
All of these types of documents go through different authentication procedures.

The legalization procedure also includes all cases when a child born in Canada needs to obtain citizenship of another country (Cuba, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, etc.), because in order to obtain citizenship of another country, you'll need to provide a Canadian birth certificate, and it, in turn, will have to be legalized.
All documents issued by a canadian authority or by a provincial or territorial authority or executed by a Canadian notary that you need to use in another country.
The most common documents subject to this procedure are:
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How to Make Legalization?
In a nutshell, it goes like this:

1) Get the document authenticated by the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs or a provincial Canadian authority (Which one exactly? There are nuances, read below)
2) Get a translation of the authenticated document into the language of the country for which this document is legalized
3) Submit the document package for legalization to the consulate of that country

Now in more detail.

Why is legalization considered a TWO-step procedure?
In order to certify the authenticity of a Canadian document,
1) First, you need to certify the signature and seal of the official Canadian civil servant who signed the document. Such an assurance is made by the Canadian minister, who puts his seal and signature on the document. This is the authentication.
2) Second, the consulate of the country for which the document is legalized, must certify the signature and seal of that Canadian minister who authenticated the document. This is the final legalization.

In other words, the Canadian minister verifies and confirms the signature and seal of the official Canadian civil servant who signed and issued the document, confirming that such empoloyee existed, that they were acting at the time of signing the document, and that the that signature and stamp on the document are really theirs. And the consul at the consulate performs the “consular legalization” of the signature and seal of this Canadian minister, thereby confirming that such a minister really exists, that this is their true signature and seal, and that they were acting at the time of signing the document.

Let's dilute this TWO-step procedure with certified translations so that the state officials, ministers and consuls from different countries can read and understand these documents, and we get the same three stages: authentication, translation and legalization. Below are more details on all three.


Authentication requires the original document. In rare cases, it is not the original that is authenticated, but an official (notarized) copy, for example, for documents such as passports, driver's licenses, identity cards, etc.

You can get a document authenticated:

1) By the Canadian Foreign Affairs Office (Global Affairs), which is located in Ottawa. Global Affairs of Canada authenticate documents issued in any province. Such authentication is suitable for the consulate of any country.
2) In provincial or territorial ministries. For example, in Ontario, such a ministry is called ODS (Ontario Document Services) and is located in Toronto. Provincial authentication is not accepted by some consulates of some countries, but not all. For example, Russia does NOT accept it. Also, a provincial ministry can only authenticate documents issued in that province and not in any other. That is, if your document was issued in Quebec, you will not be able to authenticate it with the ODS (Ministry of Ontario).

A complete list of all provincial ministries can be found here.

Notarization of a document for authentication

All documents can be divided into three types. Those that need to be notarized before authentication, and those that do not. There are also documents that are drawn up with the help of a notary — that is a different procedure that requires an in-person visit of the applicant to the notary.

Here are the main documents divided into these three types:

1) No need to notarize: certificates issued by the registry office, for example, certificates of birth, marriage, divorce, death, name change, etc.
2) Necessary to notarize: certificates of cremation and burial, certificates of good conduct, diplomas, bank and court documents, etc.
3) Necessary to sign at a notary: powers of attorney, statements of renunciation of inheritance, applications for the appointment of pension payments, any other statements

Who are these Canadian state employees who sign these documents, whose signatures and seals actually get authenticated?

1) Registrar General or Deputy Registrar General: Certificates issued by the Civil Registry Offices, such as birth, marriage, divorce, death, name change, etc.
2) Public Notary: Cremation and burial certificates, police clearance certificates, diplomas, banking and court documents, etc.
3) Public Notary: Powers of attorney, declarations of renunciation of inheritance, declarations of assignment of pension payments, any other declarations
4) Judge or Clerk of the Court: Court decisions
5) Officer of the Department of Corporation Registration (Registraire des entreprises in Quebec): Corporation registration certificates

Certified Translation

In order for the consul to confirm what they need to confirm, they need all documents in the language that is official in their country (Spanish for Cuba, German for Germany, etc.) in order to understand what is written in them. Obviously, these consuls already understand English, since, of course, they know English, but by the law they work according to the laws of their country, and these laws do not allow the use of English as the language of official documents, and formally the consuls, generally speaking, sometimes do not know English absolutely fluently. Therefore, the consuls need translations. Not any random Google translations, but translations made by a certified Canadian translator. Those are the requirements of the consulates.

You need to get the document itself translated, and also the authentication, because it will also be drawn in English. You will also need to get the seal and signature of the notary translate, if they were involved in the authentication procedure, since Canadian notaries are required to put their inscriptions and seals only in English (or French). That is why the document first gets authenticated, and only then translated.

Other translations are required for powers of attorney and statements. This is a slightly different story, because the document is drawn up initially in the language of the country in which it will be used, for example, in Spanish for Cuba. Then, before signing this document at a Canadian notary, it must be translated into English so that the notary can read it. Therefore, the translation is usually made bilingual, in two columns: on the left, the source text in the desired language, on the right, the English translation. After the authentication, all that remains is to get the seals and signatures of the notary and the minister translated.
In the consulates of different countries, the requirements for the legalization of documents are different. For some countries, you can submit documents only by appearing in-person at the consulate. For other countries, you can pay the consular fee only in cash, for example, by putting banknotes in an envelope with documents. For some other countries, a special application for legalization is required. Some countries, for example, Belarus, do not have a consulate in Canada at all, and everything has to be done through the consulate in the USA, which is responsible for the USA and Canada.

The requirements of consulates for the legalization of documents must be researched on the websites of the corresponding consulate.

There are a lot of nuances, but, in general, the procedure is the same: you need to collect the required document package in accordance with the requirements of the consulate of the country for which legalization is being done.

Below, as an example, is a package of documents for legalization at the Consulate of Kazakhstan:

1) Application for legalization
2) A printed copy of the applicant's passport
3) Original authenticated document
4) Copy of authenticated document
5) Certified translation of the document and its authentication
6) Money order in the name of the Embassy of Kazakhstan in Canada

After consular legalization, the document is completely ready for use on the territory of the country in whose consulate it was legalized.
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How Much Does Legalization Cost and How Long Does It Take?

View of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Due to the complexity of the legalization process, I began to receive a large number of requests for help with this procedure. Now I provide turnkey legalization and authentication services.

The cost and terms depend on the type of documents and on the country for which the documents are legalized, so it is impossible to give any exact “total price”.

For translations, I usually charge between $49 and $89 per sheet, depending on the language.
Notarial certification of the accuracy of translations usually costs $75 for each notary signature.

For turkney legalization, I usually charge $200 plus all related costs (mail/courier fees, ministry fees, consular fees, bank commissions: as much as they charge me, you will have to reimburse me for the same).

For turnkey authentication, I usually charge $100 plus all related costs (mail/courier fees, ministry fees: as much as they charge me, you will have to reimburse me for the same).

13% tax is added on top. All prices are negotiable.
Example of a Legalization Procedure with Prices and Timelines
Below, as an example, is the procedure for the turnkey legalization of a power of attorney for Ukraine, in detail, with prices and timelines
You give me the Ukrainian text of the power of attorney, which you agreed with the Ukrainian notary or lawyer, so that everything in the text is verified in terms of the laws of Ukraine. I will also need a scan / photo of the applicant's passport, your phone number and email for subsequent legalization. Plus, I'll email you the application form for the legalization, you will need to sign it and send it back to me.
I will make the translation into English and certify it with my stamp. The document will be bilingual, in two columns: on the left, will be your original Ukrainian text, on the right, will be the English translation.
You will need to sign this bilingual document at a notary. You can pick up the paper translation from my office, or I can send it to you by mail/courier.
After notarizing your signature on the power of attorney, I will authenticate the notary's signature. For Ukraine, this can be done either at Global Affairs Canada (the all-Canadian ministry in Ottawa), or at the provincial authentication authorities in Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia or Manitoba (but only if the notary works in the corresponding province).
I will need the original of your power of attorney signed by a notary, you can bring it to my office or send it to me by mail/courier.
After authentication, I will translate the seals and signatures of the notary and the authentication itself from English into Ukrainian for the consulate, and get a money order in the bank for the consulate for the required amount.
After that, I will send the document for consular legalization at the Ukrainian Consulate in Canada.
I will need a scan of your passport, your phone number and email, and your signature on the application to the consulate.
The consulate charges a consular fee for this service, plus the bank charges a fee for issuing a money order, plus courier services for sending documents for authentication and back and then to the consulate and back from them to me or directly to you.
For translations, I usually charge from $49 to $89 per page depending on the language.
For legalization on a turnkey basis, I charge $200 plus all related costs (mail/couriers, consular fees, bank commissions: as much as they charge me, you'll have to reimburse me for that much).
From the moment of providing the final text of the power of attorney/application in Ukrainian and the photo/scan of the applicant's passport, the following will be required in terms of time:

  1. Translation - 1 day
  2. Delivery of the translation to you - by mail - 2 weeks, by a courier - 1-3 days, pick up from my office - 1 day
  3. Have your signature notarized - you can do it in 1 business day
  4. Delivery of the translation with your signature and the application for legalization signed by you to me - by mail - 2 weeks, by a courier - 1-3 days, bring to my office - 1 day
  5. Delivery of the document for authentication - by mail - 2 weeks, by a courier - 1-3 days
  6. Authentication of the notary's signature - 1 business day if your notary is in Ontario, or 15 business days if not in Ontario
  7. Delivery of the document with authentication to me - by mail - 2 weeks, by a courier - 1-3 days
  8. Translation of the authentication and the signature and the stamp of the notary - 1 day
  9. Delivery of documents to the consulate - by mail - 2 weeks, by a courier - 1-3 days
  10. Legalization at the consulate - the consulate promises to do it within 5 working days or (for a double price) urgently within 2 working days, but in fact, they do not comply with any deadlines and cannot be influenced in any way. In my experience, it can take about one month
  11. Delivery of documents from the consulate to me or to you - by mail - 2 weeks, by a courier - 1-3 days

Thus, I would expect a total of somewhere about 1-2 months.

  1. Translations from $49 to $89 per page depending on the language
  2. Regular mail is free for you, courier delivery is usually around $20
  3. Notarization of your signature will be paid by you directly to the notary, they all charge different amounts, but somewhere in the region of $50-70
  4. Authentication in Global Affairs is free, in Ontario it is $16 per document
  5. Consular fee is $67 per document, and the urgent double rate is $134 per document
  6. Banking fee is $10 per check
  7. My services are $200 for everything

Thus, for one page and one document, it amountsto something from $326 to $578 CAD, depending on the urgency and deliveryies Tax is added to the final amount.
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What Does Authentication and Legalization Look Like?
Here is an example of a death certificate issued in Ontario:
Deputy Registrar General, Alexandra Schmidt
Registrar General, the name is not clear, the signature cannot be deciphered
Pay attention to the signatories of the document:
Ontario * Registrar General * Coat of arms of Ontario
Pay attention to the stamp (seal):
This is a red rectangular seal that they usually put on the back of the document, because there is simply no place on the front. If there is some free space at the front, they can put at the front.

It says here:
“The Department of Foreign Affairs of Canada has authenticated (i.e. certified / confirmed) the signature that is on the attached document, which was made by
Alexandra Schmidt
(see my screenshot above, it was Alexandra Schmidt who signed the original document)

Signed on behalf of the Deputy Minister of Foreign Relations, by an employee of this department:
Elaine Shea

It says below: The Department DOES NOT validate, i.e., DOES NOT check the content of the document!

That is, the department does not check what kind of document it is, but ONLY checks whether there is such Alexandra Schmidt and whether the sample of her signature really matches this signature.
This is how the authentication done for this document in the all-Canadian Ministry of Global Affairs looks like:
Here the Ontario Minister Kenneth Woo confirms that there is such Alexandra Schmidt, and it is her signature and seal that is on the document.

Please note that the Ontario authentication is a separate piece of paper with a signature and a red official seal, which is attached to the original document with two round staples, so that it cannot be detached from the original document.
And this is how authentication at a provincial ministry in Ontario looks like:
Here, Manitoba Minister Jamie Kereluke confirms that there is indeed such a notary, Caroline Barrett-Cramer, who works and is registered in the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba, and it is true that her signature and seal are on the original document.

Please note that the Manitoba authentication is also a separate sheet with a signature and an official “depressed” seal, which is attached to the original document with two round brackets, so that it cannot be detached from the original document.
And this is what authentication looks like at a provincial ministry in the province of Manitoba:
You need to understand that someone can make a fake photo in Photoshop. Print out two copies. Go to a notary, say that one copy is "my original", and the second copy is "a copy". The notary will certify the second copy as “certified true copy of the original”, i.e. a notarized copy of the original document. The notary will put his seal and signature on the second copy.

This notarized copy can then be authenticated by a Canadian or provincial authority, as ministers will ONLY verify the authenticity of the notary's signature, but NOT the content of the document.

And then only on legalization at the consulate it will be revealed that the original document was not checked by anyone and was not confirmed by anyone, and in this case, the client will get the legalization refused.
Sometimes people mistakenly authenticate NOT the original document, but a notarized copy of it.

The minister who does the authentication does not care at all, because they simply verify the signature/seal of the government officer. The civil registry officer and the notary are both government officers.

This is what authentication in Toronto of the signature and seal of the notary David James Donnelly looks like:
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Legalization of a Birth Certificate
Please note that there are three types of Canadian birth certificates:
  • -1-
    Short form without parents' names
    (a blue document of approximately half-Letter size)
    — this certificate is NOT suitable for any legalization, because there is no information about the parents, but is it required
  • -2-
    A short form with the names of the parents
    (a blue document of about half-Letter size)
    — usually suitable for legalization
  • -3-
    Long form
    (a legal white document in a long Legal paper size, approximately like 1.5 Letter sheets in height)
    — suitable for any legalization
Birth Certificate
Such a document will NOT be accepted at the consulate, as there are no names and last names of the parents
Birth Certificate with Parental Information
Please note: there are last names and first names of parents. Such a document is suitable at the consulate
Certified Copy of the Birth Registration ("Long Form")
Please note: there are last names and first names of parents. Such a document is suitable at the consulate
Short forms of certificates (two blue in the picture) are printed on paper with lamination, i.e. the paper itself is special so that the document does not lose its qualities when getting wet; this material is similar to the Canadian money.

The provincial authentication authorities cannot authenticate such documents because during authentication, they make two holes and fasten the original document and a separate authentication paper with two metal “rings” (see the photos below). Because of this special paper material, the rings will not hold both papers together, and when this document reaches the consulate, it will loosen up and the consulate will not accept such disconnected documents.
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How to Make a Power of Attorney for Someone Who Is in Another Country If You Are in Canada?

In order for a power of attorney to have legal force in another country, it must be certified by the state employees of that country.

Option # 1. Go to the desired country and make a power of attorney there in-person at a notary public.

Option # 2. The official representative of any other country in Canada is the consul of that country in Canada. This consul is also endowed with the powers of a notary, so you can make an appointment in person at the consulate and make a power of attorney there. In this case, study the requirements for paperwork on the website of the consulate. Usually, consulate entries are completely booked out for the next six months, and you can catch a free timeslot only if someone cancels their appointment, so usually people check on the consulate website every day at like 7 a.m. if any free timeslots pop up.

Please note that for some countries there are restrictions, for example, the consul may have the right to act as a notary only if the power of attorney is not related to the sale of real estate located in that country, or the sale of a share in the capital of an organization established in that country. Check the restrictions on the consulate's website.

Option # 3. Signing at a notary in Canada, authentication and legalization.
This is this option that is the only one available in 99% of cases, since it is usually not physically possible to get to the consulate, and not everyone can or wants to fly to another country.

Simply signing at a notary in Canada is NOT ENOUGH, because a Canadian notary is not a government official in another country, and no one there knows them, so no government institution in that country will accept such a power of attorney.
Details on the Procedure for Getting a Power of Attorney Legalized

Drawing up the Text of the Power of Attorney

First you need to write the text of the power of attorney. It is better to do this initially in the language you need with the help of an experienced notary in your country (in Spanish for Cuba, in Ukrainian for Ukraine, in German for Germany, etc.).

It is important not to forget to indicate all the correct names of state bodies.
It will be a pity to go through all the steps below and at the very end to find out that you forgot to write some abbreviation which was required.

Certified Translation

This is what a power of attorney looks like in two languages (Russian and English) in two columns, certified by seals and signatures of a certified translator.
Since the text was originally written in another language, it needs to be translated into English by a certified translator in order to correctly convey all the terms and nuances.
The translator makes the translation in two columns: in one column, the English text, in the second column, the original text.

Verification of the Accuracy of the Translation

This is how the notary certification looks like for the translator's signature on their oath of fidelity of the translation, signed by the translator and the notary.
The translator must certify the accuracy of his translation at a public notary. You cannot do this yourself. Only the translator themselves can do this with their ID, at any notary.

Certification of Your Signature by a Notary

Here, a notary Caroline B. Cramer certifies the signature of a client who swore that everything written in the power of attorney is true and is their true will.
Then you will get this bilingual power of attorney certified in Canada by any notary, not necessarily speaking your language. Any English- or French-speaking notary will do. Google "public notary". A notary in Canada will certify that you are really you (i.e., check your ID), and that you really have sworn in front of them that everything written in the power of attorney is true.

Don't forget to take your ID to the notary.
Here a notary in Quebec, Madame Lilia Talmaci, certifies the signature of a client who swore that everything written in the power of attorney is true and is their true will.


Here, the Canadian Minister Leah Dauphinee confirms that there is such a notary I. Karyakina, and it is indeed her signature and seal that are on the document.
Next, this English power of attorney, certified by a Canadian notary, needs to be authenticated.

Authentication is a procedure when the Canadian minister checks whether there is such a notary in Canada, whether they were acting at the time of signing, and whether it's their signature and seal that are on the document.

Authentication is done either at Global Affairs Canada in Ottawa or at provincial or territorial offices.
For some countries (for example, Russia), ONLY Global Affairs Canada is accepted.
For some countries (for example, Ukraine), you can use provincial certification bodies in several provinces (Manitoba, Ontario, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, etc.).

Read more about the authentication procedure in Global Affairs here and here.

At the end of the Global Affairs authentication process, the Minister will put a red stamp on your document.
Here Ontario Minister Kenneth Woo confirms that there is such a notary, David James Donnelly, and that it is their seal and signature on the document.
Since the COVID-19, it is now impossible to personally visit Global Affairs in Ottawa, but you can send them documents by mail. Address is here. Complete and attach their authentication request form. Link to the form is here; the file will not open in your browser or on your phone, download the file to your computer and open from your computer in Adobe Acrobat.
Enclose a prepaid postal envelope so they can send the authenticated document back to you at your expense. Take a photo of the tracking numbers on the envelopes so you can check where your envelopes are on the Canada Post website.
As of February 2023, this procedure takes 15 business days, plus postage back and forth.

If your country allows you to use provincial authentication authorities, for example, for Ontario it is ODS and it is located at 222 Jarvis Street in Toronto.

This is how the document authentication done in the Toronto office looks like:

Translation of the Authentication

This is how the translation of seals and inscriptions of a Canadian notary into Ukrainian for the Consulate of Ukraine looks like.
Since both the Global Affairs authentication (red stamp) and the provincial office authentication (a separate document as shown above, from Toronto) will be in English only, they will have to be translated back into the correct language.

Notary seals will also have to be translated, because Canadian notaries are required to affix seals in English only.
This is what the translation of the authentication made in Toronto into Ukrainian for the Ukrainian consulate looks like.


Here, the Consul of Ukraine in Canada, E. O. Shevkunova, confirms the signature of the Minister of Ontario, Kenneth Woo, and the seal of the Ministry of Ontario as authentic.
The last stage is consular legalization.
A bilingual power of attorney certified by a Canadian notary public, authenticated by Global Affairs Canada, translated into the desired language, with a notarized translator's statement of the correctness of the translation, can be submitted to the consulate of the desired country in Canada for consular legalization.

See the list of documents and all requirements on the website of the consulate. Usually they require at least an application in a standard form and a copy of the applicant's passport. This is a paid service: the consulate will charge a consular fee, they need a certified cheque from the bank (also called a "money order" or a "bank draft").

The consul will confirm that it is indeed the Canadian minister who signed everything for you at the previous stage.

After getting signed by the consul, your document will become fully legal in the country you need.
Here, the Consul of Ukraine in Canada, E. O. Shevkunova, confirms the signature of the Manitoba Minister Jamie Kereluke and the seal of the Manitoba Ministry as authentic.
Here is the consul of Russia N. T. Bakuradze confirms the signature and seal of the Canadian minister.

Receipt of the Finished Document

If you have enclosed a return prepaid envelope in a letter to the consulate, the consulate will usually send the finished documents in this envelope.

Be sure to take photos of the tracking numbers on the envelopes in order to track the status of the shipments on the courier's website.

The consulate usually sends documents within Canada, but in principle, nothing prevents you from giving them an envelope with an address directly in your country.
It is possible to ship using regular Canada Post, even regular mail without a tracking number, but I would trust UPS, DHL, and FedEx more.
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