I’ve been asked to get an “Apostille”. Now what?
We routinely notarize documents that are intended for use outside of Canada. Sometimes the third party that is requesting the documents will ask for an additional stamp called an Apostille. However, in Canada it is not possible to obtain an Apostille stamp. Instead we have a process called Legalization and Authentication, which is recognized by most countries and third-parties.
The Legalization and Authentication Process is complex and requires coordination with the office of Official Documents Canada (ODS) as well as with the consulate or embassy of the country relevant to the transaction (i.e. usually the country to which the documents are sent). The purpose of this process is to verify that the Notary Public is a legitimate body of authority registered with the government of Canada. Rest assured that all of our Notaries are registered with ODS.
In summary, there are three steps required to have a document legalized and authenticated:
Step 1: Have the document notarized by a notary that is registered with Official Documents Services (again, all of our notaries are registered). This is a step we can help you complete, by notarizing your document.
Step 2: Take the notarized document to ODS (located at 222 Jarvis Street, Toronto) so they can issue a certificate confirming that the document was notarized by a registered notary.
Step 3: Take the document and ODS certificate to an embassy or consulate.
Note that in some circumstances you can skip step 2 because some consulates will take the notarized document to ODS on your behalf.
If you need to have your documents Legalized and Authenticated please rest assured that our Notarizations will be validated by ODS. Please note also that as Notaries we cannot authenticate our own notarization so we cannot provide you with a service for all three steps of the process, just the first (i.e. Notarization).
Note further that in order for a document to be authenticated it must have been notarized in person because a seal must be applied. Documents commissioned online cannot be authenticated by ODS.