Tips for Legalizing Your Birth Certificate for Colombia

One of the most common documents you need to attest are birth certificates. This isn’t surprising if you think of all of the applications of the document. Whether you are going through immigrations, applying for a visa, need to document a live birth in another country, or are planning a marriage in another country, you may need to include a birth certificate. Things are no different for your affairs in Colombia! If you’re in need of attesting a birth certificate for Colombia, keep reading for some pro tips!

Tip # 1: Go for the long form of the birth certificate!

Just take our word for it on this one – you’ll thank us later. In general, for official purposes you will almost always require the full length document of any sort. A birth certificate for Colombia especially would need to be non-wallet sized. The long-form certificate includes a lot more details which add great value to your overall application. These details add strength to your application and solidify the facts that you state in other areas.  The additional information shows details of the parents which help to demonstrate these connections officially.

Tip # 2: Gather everything in one place

The birth certificate most likely won’t be all that you need. Start the application/official process early and dedicate a file to start assembling the pieces together. Remember that you must keep your important documents in physical records, even in today’s digital era for attestation. It’s also important to keep them safe, intact, and easily accessible. Also, remember that when paper transfers hands, they can get worn out or dirty. Consider keeping them in plastic sheet protectors to prevent damage to the paper or ink. Having a designated file for storage and transfers can also lend to keeping them safe, protected, and easily accessible.

Tip # 3: Keep your documents confidential

It’s important to keep your birth certificate in a safe place to prevent loss or theft. Legal documents such as your birth certificate and IDs contain personal information about you that can create havoc in the wrong hands. In fact, one of the ways identity theft can happen is if original documents fall into the hands of someone with malicious intentions.

Tip # 4: Start your process early

No really – please start early. Often when we tell our clients that they need to start the authentication process months ahead of their scheduled application date, they think we’re exaggerating. We really aren’t. Authentication and legalization can take quite some time to complete. And your birth certificate for Colombia will need to undergo both of these steps. In fact, until early this year, you could pay extra for rushed same day services at Global Affairs Canada (GAC) for document authentication. However, GAC has taken that option entirely off the tables and now all authentication services take a minimum of one week to complete, even those requested for rush.

If your service is not “rush”, it will take about a month to be authenticated. Only after this can you proceed with legalization which can take another month, depending on factors such as time of year, embassy availability, etc. Note: GAC authentication rush services are subject to application and approval. You must have a valid reason for requesting a rush service and not all requests are granted approval.

Tip # 5: Hire us for the job!

Not to be tooting our own horn, but a service like Legalization Service Centre can make your document attestation journey a really easy one. We understand the nitty-gritty details of authentication and legalization because it’s all we do.

When you call us to take care of your attestation needs, you can rest assured that your document processing has been entrusted to professionals with years of service experience and a seriously good rating on Google! We also stand with an A++ status with the Better Business Bureau. Our reputation is our crown and because we take our business so seriously, we work tirelessly on each case with individualized attention from start to finish.

Does this mean we’re expensive? Absolutely not! We stand for fair pricing on our projects and quote based on only what you need. So give us a call – at the very least we’ll give you the guidance you are looking and answer any questions you may have.




Image Credit: Shutterstock/Javier Crespo and Fodor’s Travel

Birth Certificate Legalization for Brazil

Did you know that Brazil is considered one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world? That shouldn’t come as a surprise, actually. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people immigrate there. My guess is that its beautiful landscape, culture, and climate work magic together to attract people from around the world! But, official processes, including immigration, can require a great deal of paperwork. Of these, birth certificates are often the most requested document you will need to provide. If you started the immigration process and need this document, keep reading! We’ll cover all of the basics for what you need to know to prepare a birth certificate for Brazil.

Choose the Long Form Birth Certificate

If you haven’t yet requested an official birth certificate, then make a note to apply for the long form. This one generally contains more information, such as details about each parent, along with place of birth. Official work often calls for long forms of original documents, and it isn’t any different for birth certificates. Starting with the right document is essential to completing the official process efficiently.

Notarize and Translate 

The official language of Brazil is Portuguese. You are requires to translate and notarize a lot of official documents before you can submit them for legalization. Find an official translator and have your documents translated. Only originals and true copies are accepted by Global Affairs Canada (GAC), provincial Document Services, and consulates. Thus, it is a good idea to certify and notarize a copy of an original before submitting.

Authentication of the Birth Certificate for Brazil at GAC 

Finished with the translation and notarization? Next, you need to authenticate your birth certificate by Global Affairs or it may be possible to do so provincially. However, each consulate and each embassy have different, sometimes even contradicotry, requirements. Please make sure you contact us to help you through this step!

It is best practice to have GAC authenticate a document whenever possible. However, GAC has a lengthy processing time and their office is located in Ottawa, whereas provincial offices often offer same-day service and are more easily accessible. You should check with the Brazilian consulate before proceeding to authenticate through a provincial office.

Legalization of the Birth Certificate for Brazil at the Consulate General of Brazil

The final step to having your documents attested is legalization through the Consulate General of Brazil.

GAC or Document Services office will place a stamp on your birth certificate for Brazil once they have authenticated it. Now, it is ready for further submission. The consulate will conduct their own review of your document. They will also place a seal or certificate on the finished document to show that they have legalized it. Your document is now ready for official work in Brazil!

Choose an authentication service provider

You may have read online that authentication services can help you process your documents to meet appropriate attestation requirements. Why should you choose a professional to do the work for you, though? The process is time consuming and tedious. In the midst of preparing other aspects of your official work, authentication and legalization can often feel like a hurdle in the path. Not to mention, obtaining certified copies, translating, and notarizing only add to the length of processing time.

When you go through a service like Legalization Service Centre, all of that extra work is handled on your behalf. You won’t need to take time off of work for official work, travel anywhere for GAC or the consulate, or spend any additional money on courier fees. All you have to do is provide us with the original or a true copy of your document! After we complete attesting your documents, we will send them directly to their final destination! For these reasons and many more, we recommend having a professional handle your authentication needs.

Now you know everything there is to know to about birth certificates and authentication. We know how tedious the work seems right now, but can bet that the thought of beautiful Brazil is going to keep you going! Don’t forget to send a postcard once you get there.


Image Credit: Globalgrasshopper

Legalization of Birth Certificate for Use in Nicaragua

Known for its emerald lakes, volcanoes, and largest rainforest in Central America, Nicaragua has become a prominent tourist hub in recent years. As tourism increases, knowledge of everything this hidden oasis has to offer has also spread. A rich history of colonialism and ethnic changes contributes to its diverse food and culture. It isn’t a surprise why many Canadians look forward to making Nicaragua their new home after retirement.

But retired people aren’t the only ones setting up for long-term living here. The cost of living and generally low expenses has attracted many businesses and educational institutions as well. This has given many Canadians a variety of reasons to visit, stay, and create a community of their own.

Regardless of your reason to visit, you should know that the country has strict paperwork requirements. To make the process of your visit or move easier, it is best to start preparing your paperwork early. Read on to find out how to legalize your birth certificate for use in Nicaragua!

Prepare Ahead of Time

Nothing beats good preparation. This is especially true when dealing with a foreign country where many review and documentation processes are still manual. Don’t forget that Nicaragua is a struggling country with scarce resources. This makes preparation all the more important to allow time for delays.

When preparing your documents such as a birth certificate for Nicaragua, if you don’t already have the originals, keep in mind that sourcing these documents will also require time. Allow for at least two months in Canada to gather and process all documents. Create a file and review the process for document attestation, known in Canada as authentication and legalization. Notarize all true copies of the original.

Authentication of your Birth Certificate for Nicaragua

In Canada, document attestation is a two-step process. During the first step, your original or true copy of your birth certificate for Nicaragua will be reviewed by Global Affairs Canada to ensure that the seals and signatures on your document are valid. This step reviews for the legitimacy of your document, ensuring that it was produced and signed by the institutions and authorities that are entitled to do so. Once GAC has matched the signatures with records in their registry, they will place a large red stamp to indicate that the document has been effectively authenticated.

Legalization of your Birth Certificate for Nicaragua

Following legalization, your birth certificate will need to go to the Nicaraguan Embassy. Here, the embassy will complete the second and last stage of attestation known as legalization. The embassy is reviewing your document and GAC’s seal to ensure that they are valid and acceptable. Once they are sure that GAC has truly certified your document and that it meets their own standards for use, they two will place a stamp or certificate to indicate the completion of legalization. This confers attestation of your birth certificate for Nicaragua, making them good for use for any official purpose in Nicaragua.

The Time Involved

You should be aware that the process of attestation is lengthy and can take several weeks to months. This has been especially true since earlier this year, when GAC made changes to their review process. Whereas same-day services were common practice prior, now, each submission must take the required two to three weeks for review.  Beware that you will still have to wait for one week of processing time, even if GAC does allow the expedition.

Feel Free to Ask for Help!

Changing government and embassy regulations can make it very difficult to keep up with attestation processes. Especially if this is not something you have done previously, the paperwork can be tedious and cumbersome. At Legalization Service Centre, we understand that when you need these documents prepared, you also have a lot else on your plate. That’s why our team is prepared to make your document journey less stressful. We specialize in everything related to document attestation and work across the country. Regardless of whether you are mid-process or just beginning, give us a call. We have a friendly staff to give you great tips and services to help you gain momentum and speed!


Image Credit: Tropicaldryforestsofnicaragua

Attestation of Birth Certificate for UAE

Thinking of settling in the UAE? You aren’t alone! Whether you are a native returning to the land or pursuing a career or employment there, many individuals and families decide to call the UAE their home every year. There is a process to obtain a residency status, and you will need certain documentation to apply for it. You will need to add each member of your family to the residency status, as well. For your children born in Canada, birth certificates along with copies of their passport will need to be provided. Read on to learn about the process of preparing a Canadian birth certificate for use in UAE!

How do you obtain a Canadian birth certificate?

Whether you are in the country at the time or not, Canadian birth certificates are easy to obtain. Make sure you fill in the online application requests for either the short or long form. For the purpose of your UAE residency visa, it is best to order the long form. This one will contain more detail than the short certificate. Information such as place of birth and the names of both parents, along with details of the child are included in this form. Contrarily, the short form certificate only includes the child’s full name and place of birth.

Preparing a birth certificate for use in UAE

The Canadian government itself issues birth certificates. However, you can’t include it in your UAE residency application as is. In order to make the document valid, it must undergo attestation, known as authentication and legalization in Canada. While the two terms are different, the process of attestation and authentication/legalization are identical. Other parts of the world also call it ‘apostille’. After you complete the 2 steps listed below, your birth certificate for UAE will be ready.

How do you have your Canadian birth certificate attested?

The first step is authentication. You need to submit your document to Global Affairs Canada (GAC) along with an application form. GAC is the only government body in Canada that is responsible for authentication of all Canadian documents. Their head office is located in Ottawa and their task is to review the signatures and stamps on the document to ensure that they are valid. Along with this, they also ensure that any document provided to them contains the information and structure necessary to qualify for authentication.

Once the forms are submitted to GAC, it can take 10 days or more for your documents to be authenticated. But an attestation professional can significantly reduce this wait time. For example, Legalization Service Centre can have your documents authenticated within a few business days at GAC. All you need to do is provide a letter or a document proving the urgency of your business. This is because we have a strong network and years of experience with authentication. This can also lead you to save money on the process, as any corrections to the process after you submit your form will require additional fees.

The Final Step: Legalization

After authenticated, you must submit the document(s) to the UAE embassy for legalization. Legalization involves the embassy conducting their own review to ensure that the document meets their country’s standard and that it contains a valid GAC stamp.  Most embassies are located in Ottawa, in close proximity to the GAC office as well as the physical location of Legalization Service Centre. While legalization is not difficult to obtain, it can be a challenge if you are trying to complete it from somewhere outside of Ottawa. Since our office is intentionally close to both, it makes it easy for us to complete the submissions and conduct follow-ups until the entire attestation process is complete.

At Legalization Service Centre, we understand how tedious paperwork can be. Moving from one country to another is not an easy task. Obtaining residency and settling in the UAE may be exciting, but there is a lot of work to be done. Having your documents authenticated is just a hurdle in the process which can be even more difficult due to distance. Give us a call if you need more information or would like to have us take care of this important part of your paperwork. We are always happy to chat, even if it is only to share more information!


Image Credit: Zawaya

Birth certificate authentication

Birth Certificate Authentication and Legalization

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!


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Export Related Documents: Authentication and Legalization

Authentication and Legalization in Exports and Imports

The business of trading goods or exports and imports is a promising form of commerce that requires authentication and legalization. Both parties require a certain level of trust when starting such a business. They may not have previous experience in exchanging goods with one another, after all. Checks and balances allow you to make an informed decision and choice in partners to commit the trade with. However, a certain level of risk related to the quality of the product you receive will remain.

When you engage in trading goods made in Canada, authentication and legalization of documents can help the importing country minimize risks related to the quality of the product. It will also provide financial reliability, as well as allow importing countries to assess authenticity of the product. They may request the Commercial Invoice and Certificate of Origin.

What is a Commercial Invoice?

A Commercial Invoice is a legal document that is included when goods are shipped to another country. The purpose of all invoices is to provide a record of the transaction. The importing country uses a commercial invoice to allow products in. This includes the billed amount and payment options for the buyer. In addition, it includes information about both the buyer, seller. and sold goods. Due to the risks of damage related to the order and  exporter accountability for the goods, this invoice can allow funds to remain in escrow accounts.

What is a Certificate of Origin?

A Certificate of Origin is another document that can provide assurance of quality and verification of details regarding the product. It contains details about the exporter and importer, along with information regarding the producer. It also contains the tariff classification number, weight of products, and most importantly, a statement certifying that the information on the certificate is true and accurate. A detailed description of the information contained within the Certificate of Origin can be found on the Canadian government website here.

The Authentication Process

In addition to providing these documents, some countries require that they undergo the process of authentication and legalization. In order to authenticate the documents, they must first meet the requirements of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. Once met, they will affix a stamp to signify this. Moving forward, Global Affairs Canada (GAC) will screen the document for authenticity and following a satisfactory review, your document will be stamped. The final step of legalization takes place at the embassy of your importing country, who will validate your document.

While this process may sound simple, it can take approximately two months to complete, with a minimum period of twenty days at GAC for authentication. Errors and omissions along the way can extend this time by another three months. However, Legalization Service Centre can complete the same process in a much shorter amount of time, knowing the process and having a strong network within GAC and embassies in Ottawa. With our office situated in Ottawa, we can fast-track authentication to provide next day service! We will also make sure that your documents stay at the relevant embassy for days or weeks instead of months.

Our experience and stellar customer service has earned us an A+ status with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). We understand that your business requires you to act quickly and that simplicity in conducting your due diligence can translate to your success. For these reasons, we are readily available to answer any questions you may have and can have your documents authenticated and legalized quickly, efficiently, and accurately. Give us a call at 1-800-857-1215 or send us a message on WhatsApp: +1-613-501-0555.


Image credit: Herzing College

Document Authentication

The Importance of Document Authentication and Legalization Services Amidst Travel Restrictions Due to Global Pandemic

Canada’s Response to COVID-19

The novel corona virus pandemic, COVID-19, is taking the world up by a storm, causing many countries around the world to take drastic measures to limit contagion. These measures include warnings and advisories of social distancing, quarantining of the infected, closures of schools, colleges, businesses and government offices in many countries, as well as complete lockdown in others. As more people test positive for the virus here at home, Canada is taking the measures necessary to limit the impact of the infection in our country. Ontario is in a state of emergency until March 31st, students on March Break are away from school until April 4th, gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited in many parts of the country, our borders have been restricted, and in general social distancing is broadly being advised. Businesses, employees, and the self-employed are all feeling the economic impact as the focus shifts from everyday functions to the ongoing health emergency.

Document Authentication and Legalization in Canada During COVID -19 Outbreak

Amidst all the closures and limited government and commerce functionality around the world, what does this mean for your document authentication and legalization needs? For one thing, it may be more necessary than ever to have your documents authenticated and legalized from right here at home. As movement around the world and international travel become limited due to border closures or travel restrictions, you may need additional documents for yourself and your under-aged children if you do need to travel for any reason. It is important to note parents traveling with under-aged children without the other parent or guardian present need documentation to show the other parent/guardian’s consent when leaving Canada. This is a normal measure even without the worries of COVID-19 and this letter from your child’s other parent/guardian require notarization by a notary public in Canada. However, you may need additional documents such as your marriage certificate/divorce certificate/children’s birth certificate authenticated and legalized at this time. Before any travel, you should check with current border regulations here in Canada, but also the restrictions, limitations and additional travel requires in your destination country. You should be aware that entry may not be granted in many countries and if it were, there may be additional documentation required from you for your trip.

If you are requesting for any documents to be authenticated and legalized at this time, you should account for delays in processing time as the pace of work and operational hours at government offices become limited. While Global Affairs Canada, the official body that authenticates your documents, has not declared any formal limitations to their hours of operation, it is likely that their office may be slower to respond and process paperwork amidst the current crisis. It is also worth the mention that the different embassies in Ottawa may be following different protocols and measures at this time in response to instructions from both Canada as well as the countries which they respectively represent. For this reason, you should check not only for their availability, but for also what types of work they are completing at the time and if there are any changes to their typical protocols for document legalization.

How Legalization Service Centre Can Help?

For all of your document authentication and legalization needs, contact us at Legalization Service Centre for a consultation on requirements, processes and changes currently being experienced in government offices. Our experts are keeping on top of the ongoing efforts of our country as well as the global impact of the virus as it relates to the functionality of embassies in Ottawa. Having your documents processed through us will ensure that you avoid any additional delays in processing time due to current changes that you may not be aware of. Moreover, our experts are able to conduct work with Global Affairs Canada and embassies with more efficiency than you may experience on an individual level at this time. Moreover, due to the efforts of social distancing and work-from-home initiatives, it may be difficult to contact these offices.

Before proceeding with any document authentication and legalization, check with us to ensure that the work is possible for the time you require the document as well as for the embassy in question. As the conditions around the world are rapidly changing regarding the impact of COVID-19, things can quickly change rendering any previous information outdated or inaccurate.

 For more information regarding Global Affairs Canada’s functions and latest news on travel and COVID-19, you may check the government website here.

Wedding in Cuba

Marriage in Cuba: What Documents Should Canadians Prepare for Wedding in Cuba

Canadians Marrying in Cuba

Love is in the air! Fresh, oceanic, breezy Cuban air. Congratulations on choosing to marry in the beautiful island of Cuba. Perhaps your fiancé/e is Cuban or perhaps you are both Canadians taking advantage of a beautiful Cuban destination wedding. While the latter is simple, there are technical barriers you will have to overcome in order to marry in a Cuban resort. In both cases, you will need to have certain paper work compiled, authenticated and legalized in order to marry in Cuba.

The Paperwork

In order to marry in Cuba, you will need to obtain official permission from your future spouse’s government. Their government will require proof of the following with documentation:

  • Your marital status as being single and eligible to marry
  • Proof of country of birth
  • Proof of date of birth to meet the legal age requirement of 18 years old to marry

To prove that you are single, as a Canadian you will need to provide a Statutory Declaration of Single Status, along with notarized copies of your identification such as a birth certificate and passport. (Please contact our office for Statutory Declaration of Single Status template). If you are divorced/widowed, there are additional documents you will need to provide such as your marriage certificate, divorce certificate, divorce order, or death certificate.

All of the documents that you provide must be translated in Spanish, notarized, authenticated by Global Affairs Canada, and legalized by the Cuban consulate or embassy. For easy processing and a hiccup-free wedding in Cuba, you will want to have all of this paperwork completed before you depart to Cuba for the big affair!

While this takes care of your end of documentation, your Cuban partner will need to do some paperwork of their own. Your future husband or wife will need to provide the following to their government:

  • His/her identity card
  • If they are divorced, a notarized copy of their divorce certificate
  • For a female, if she has been divorced for less than 300 days, she will require a medical certificate stating that she is not pregnant

The Actual Marriage

Once all of your paper work is in order, you will then apply for the marriage itself. In order to do so, you can go to one of two offices in Havana, Cuba, along with your future spouse and two witnesses who are not related to either of you. Your witnesses will need to bring with them documentation/identification that proves the following:

  • Their full names
  • Address
  • Identity document number, passport, and residency permit/tourist cards

At the end of it all and after several fees and stamps, you will obtain three copies of your marriage certificate. And voila, you are now husband and wife!

Get Us to Help!

The prospect of marriage in Cuba can be daunting due to the paperwork and processing involved. Which documents you will need to compile vary case by case and can be complicated and confusing. To ensure that you have everything you need prepared correctly, it is best to consult with an experienced authentication and legalization service professional. You can call our services to obtain professional consultation. We will help you prepare your documents from start to finish, so that your love-filled affair remains as simple and exciting as possible.

Image credit: Bonas en Cuba Fiestas