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Birth Certificate Authentication and Legalization

Feb 22, 2021

If you need to use a birth certificate for yourself or a family member internationally, you may have been asked to Apostille the document. However, it is important to note that document Apostilles are not possible in Canada. This is because Canada has not signed the Hague Convention which would allow us to be able to perform Apostilles. Instead, you must complete 2 separate steps: birth certificate authentication and birth certificate legalization. This process will count as the same as Apostille and/or attestation. What exactly do these steps entail? Simply read on to find out!

Birth Certificate Authentication

Step 1. Obtain the long form Canadian birth certificate

When a child is born in a Canadian hospital, typically the hospital assists the new parent(s) with registering the birth with the Office of the Registrar. Once this is complete, you are able to request a birth certificate from your province. Most provinces have an online application that enables you to order the birth certificate online. There are many third party websites that facilitate these transactions such as

In some scenarios, such as in the case of at-home deliveries, the birth of a child may not have been registered right away. If this is the case and your child is more than 1 year old, a Delayed Statement of Live Birth form must be filled out and submitted to the Registrar. Until this is complete, you will not be able to request a birth certificate.

There are two forms of birth certification – the long form and the short form. The short form contains information about the individual named on the certificate. In addition to this, the long form contains the names of the parents and birth location. While the short form certificate may be usable in many scenarios, ensure that you have the long form for legalization purposes.

Step 2. Prepare all documents and application

Depending on the purpose of your use or need, you may require documents in addition to the birth certificate to be collected and legalized. Find out from the embassy if additional documents are required and prepare them at this time as well. Document authentication and legalization can be a long and tedious process. You don’t want to have to repeat the steps for each document type.  If you are receiving the help of a legalization professional, they will be able to guide you in acquiring and preparing all the necessary documents.

Step 3. Submit to Global Affairs Canada for birth certificate authentication

Document attestation, or authentication and legalization, is a two-step process. The first of these is authentication, which happens when you submit your document(s) to Global Affairs Canada (GAC) for revision. GAC will review your document to ensure that the stamps and signatures on it are valid and authentic. They will place a large red stamp on the document indicating the end of authentication. Typically, the process of authentication can take between 15 to 20 days and has a processing fee associated with it. Any errors or omissions in the application can cause further delays and result in additional charges.

Birth Certificate Legalization

Step 1. Submit to the correct embassy in Ottawa for legalization

Once your document has been authenticated, it must be submitted to the embassy of the country where you will use the certificate. Typically, all foreign embassies and consulates are located in Ottawa, Canada. In this step, the embassy will review the GAC stamp to ensure that it is true and valid. They must also review the document to ensure that it meets the standards of their country. They will place a stamp or  attach a certificate to indicate the completion of the legalization step.

How Can We Help?

Regardless of what you call the process, attestation of your documents can be a daunting and exhausting task. That’s why the experts at Legalization Service Centre are readily available to answer any questions you have. We have a strong network from years of experience at GAC that makes it possible for us to complete your authentication process within 24 hours as opposed to the 15 to 20 days typical wait period. Moreover, our experience and expertise can save you time and money by avoiding common errors, omissions or pitfalls in the process. Our service and experience have earned us an A+ status with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and a 5 star rating on Google. Call us today to have your documents handled from start to finish, efficiently and without breaking a sweat!


Image Credit: IncoDocs

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