Legal and notarial services

Canadian consular officials abroad have authority under the Canada Evidence Act and corresponding provincial and territorial statutes to perform a variety of notarial services, including taking affidavits. Consular officials cannot offer advice on legal issues or represent persons before the courts, nor do they post bail, pay lawyers’ fees or pay fines.

Authentication of documents

Foreign governments and organizations will sometimes require that documents be authenticated before they will accept them. To learn how to authenticate Canadian documents so that they will be accepted abroad, consult Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada’s Authentication of Documents section. The documents should be authenticated before your departure.

To obtain a Statement in Lieu of Certification of Non-Impediment to Marriage Abroad, read Authentication of Documents before you leave Canada. Canadian consular officials abroad can also help you.

Foreign documents such as death and marriage certificates, and certain Canadian documents, can be authenticated by officials at the nearest Canadian government office abroad. A fee is charged for each service provided.

Other notarial services provided by consular officials abroad may include witnessing a signature on a document and certifying true copies of an original document presented to the official.

For more information, contact the nearest Canadian government office abroad. Consular officials can provide a list of local lawyers who offer legal and notarial services to Canadian travellers.

Canadian government officials abroad can:

  • provide an up-to-date list of local lawyers, notaries and legal translation services
  • provide you with sources of information about local laws and regulations
  • issue a Statement in Lieu of Certificate of Non-Impediment to Marriage Abroad
  • authenticate documents, such as Canadian long-form marriage, birth and death certificates, that meet strict requirements
  • authenticate original seals and signatures on some documents
  • refer you to Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada’s Authentication and Service of Documents Section to authenticate Canadian documents so they will be acceptable for use abroad
  • provide a list of local providers of authentication services, if necessary
  • if local notarial services are unavailable:
    • certify true copies of documents that meet strict requirements 
    • administer oaths and affirmations 
    • witness signatures 
    • notarize certain documents for Canadian citizens or for non-Canadian citizens if documents are intended for use in Canada

Canadian government officials abroad cannot: 

  • interfere in private legal matters or another country’s judicial affairs
  • provide legal advice
  • obtain a criminal record check on your behalf
  • issue letters of guarantee
  • issue letters of facilitation to be used as travel documents, proof of citizenship or personal identification
  • draft or modify legal documents
  • stamp documents to confirm they have been “seen” at a Canadian government office abroad
  • certify the genuineness, legality or credibility of documents
  • recommend lawyers or guarantee their reliability or competence
  • assess legal documents or provide advice on their content, validity or any other aspect
  • authenticate documents that require a consular officer to act as an agent for another entity, such as a bank, for the purpose of fulfilling legal and regulatory obligations
  • authenticate documents containing content that may be misleading or used for fraudulent purposes
  • solemnize a marriage
  • issue a certificate indicating that a foreign divorce will be recognized in Canada    

For more information, contact the nearest Canadian government office abroad.

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