While most people don’t give much thought to it, your marriage certificate is an important legal document that may become necessary for a variety of different reasons, both locally and internationally. If you need to use yours internationally, then the document must undergo the processes of authentication and legalization. Below are a few things to keep in mind when prepping for marriage certificate attestation.
Know where to obtain your original marriage certificate
In Canada, marriage licenses and certificates are granted and maintained at the provincial level. If you married in Quebec, you can’t request them from Ontario. Most people don’t have a problem with this because they tend to marry in their resident province. Problems arise when you have a destination wedding or relocate from the province you married in. Many of the provinces and territories have online forms for requesting the certificate. However, some may require mailed-in forms or in-person requests. If online applications aren’t available, make sure you block out more time to the process.
Gather all the necessary documents for marriage certificate attestation
The first step in marriage certificate attestation? Reflect on why you need your marriage certificate for international use and find out from the embassy of that country if you need any other supporting documents. For example, if you need the document for immigration benefits for a foreign spouse. They may need copies of your ID or financial statements. You usually need to authenticate and legalize these, too.
It’s a good practice to create a dossier with all of these necessary documents so that you can complete the process of legalization in a timely and organized manner. If you are working with an expert, they can help you source and prepare what you need.
Make sure you have the long form certificate!
Marriage certificates can come in short and long form. The short form contains the names of the couple and the place of marriage. The long form contains this, along with additional details about the couple, their parents, as well as the place of marriage. Most applications and offices require you to use the long form while the short form may be sufficient for many purposes. However, to be on the safe side, it is good practice to use the long form whenever you can.
Marriage Certificate Authentication
In Canada, document attestation or legalization is a two-part process. Documents must first undergo authentication by Global Affairs Canada (GAC) located in Ottawa. GAC is a government body responsible for reviewing and authenticating all legal documents in Canada. Typically this process takes about 15 to 20 days to complete from the time that the documents are submitted to GAC and there is an application fee. If there are errors or omissions in the application, authentication may take longer and there may be additional fees associated with the review. GAC will place a red stamp on the document to signal the end of the authentication step.
Marriage Certificate Legalization
Following authentication, your document must be submitted to the embassy of the country where you intend to use it. Once at the embassy, the document will undergo the legalization portion of the process. The embassy will review the document to ensure that the GAC stamp is valid and also that it meets the standards of their country. Once they are satisfied, the embassy too will place a stamp or attach a certificate to indicate that your document has been legalized. This completes the necessary steps for document authentication/legalization, making your document admissible for use in your country of interest!
Consider a professional to handle your document preparation
While document authentication and legalization are not difficult processes per say, it can be tedious work. Having a professional service such as Legalization Service Centre can make the process easier. For instance, a professional can facilitate in the collection of your legal documents as well as prepare the application package for GAC. Moreover, professionals have the network within GAC that can significantly reduce wait time. For instance, Legalization Service Centre can have your documents authenticated at GAC within one business day, compared to the 15 to 20 days it can typically take! Also, errors can be costly, both in terms of time and money. Since legalization professionals do this work all the time, they can help to avoid common errors or omissions.
Regardless of what you need your marriage certificate for, legalization of the document is a necessary step in order to be able to use it internationally. Document preparation and paperwork is never fun, but hopefully in following these tips, the process can be made less burdensome. If you still have any questions, give the professionals at Legalization Service Centre a shout. They are happy to help with all of your document legalization needs!
Image Credit: Languagesim