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Easier method coming for authenticating international documents

CANADA, December 12 - B.C. residents will soon have a quicker, less costly option to authenticate public documents for use in 125 countries, as a new method will launch in January 2024.

In May 2023, Canada joined the Apostille Convention, which will come into force country-wide on Jan. 11, 2024. B.C. residents who need B.C. public documents authenticated for use in a country that is part of the convention will soon need to obtain only a single certificate, called an apostille, from the B.C. Authentication Program.

People with documents for member countries will no longer be required to send these documents to a consulate or embassy for the additional step of legalization.

“Those who have needed public documents authenticated before know that the process can be daunting,” said Niki Sharma, Attorney General. “People often have tight timelines to get documents authenticated locally before sending off to an international consulate, and we know that submitting late can impact job or study opportunities. I’m pleased Canada has joined the Apostille Convention. Now this process will be easier and less stressful for all B.C. residents.”

Since an apostille certificate is internationally recognized, having documents authenticated this way increases the probability that the documents will be accepted as valid by other member countries.

“When I was preparing to study in China, I had to travel from Victoria to Vancouver to have my documents authenticated at the Chinese embassy in person,” said Wyatt Matthews, former international exchange student, University of Victoria. “As a student, it was tough to find time and money to complete that step. It’s great to hear that future students won’t have that extra strain while making plans to study abroad.”

Joining the convention will also benefit international students, temporary workers and immigrants coming into B.C., as Canada will accept an apostille certificate for foreign public documents from other member countries.

While transitioning to the new process, documents submitted to the B.C. Authentication Program from Dec. 18, 2023, until Jan. 11, 2024, will be processed on or after Jan. 11. Waiting until after the convention is in effect may result in a reduced cost.

Quick Facts:

  • Reasons for document authentication:
    • People may need public documents authenticated for various purposes, such as moving, working or studying abroad, registering vital events such as marriages, births or deaths in their home country, repatriating remains, handling international business matters or dealing with estate affairs.
  • Apostille certificate issuers:
    • In addition to B.C., the provinces of Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan will issue apostille certificates for documents issued within or notarized in those provinces.
    • Global Affairs Canada will issue apostille certificates for documents issued by the federal government or originating in Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Prince Edward Island and Yukon.

Learn More:

For more information, visit the B.C. Authentication Program website:
http://www2.gov.bc.ca/authentication

Release from Global Affairs Canada:
https://www.canada.ca/en/global-affairs/news/2023/12/improving-authentication-services-in-canada.html

For more information on Canada and the Apostille Convention, visit:
https://www.international.gc.ca/gac-amc/about-a_propos/services/authentication-authentification/apostille-convention.aspx?lang=eng