Canadian consular officials abroad have authority under the Canada Evidence Act and corresponding provincial and territorial statutes to perform a variety of notarial services. These services are offered, however, only when no local service providers exist. 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.
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 may be accepted abroad, consult Global Affairs Canada’s Authentication of Documents section. Documents should be authenticated in Canada before your departure.
To obtain a Statement in Lieu of Certification of Non-Impediment to Marriage Abroad, read the dedicated section on the Authentication of Documents webpage before you leave Canada. Canadian consular officials abroad may also be able to help you.
Foreign documents, such as death and marriage certificates, may be authenticated by officials at the nearest Canadian government office abroad. A fee is charged for each specialized service provided.
When no local service providers exist, consular officials abroad may provide some other notarial services, which may include witnessing a signature on a document and certifying true copies of an original document presented to the official. Fees also apply for each of these services, where they are offered.
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, for a fee
- authenticate, for a fee, original seals and signatures on some foreign documents, provided comparable specimens have been received from local authorities
- refer you to Global Affairs Canada’s Authentication and Service of Documents Section to authenticate Canadian documents so they may 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 some documents that meet strict requirements
- administer oaths and affirmations
- witness signatures
- notarize certain documents if they 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/notarial documents
- verify the identity of a Canadian on behalf of a third party
- 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
- authenticate documents containing content that may be misleading or used for fraudulent purposes
- solemnize a marriage
- issue a certificate that confirms marital status, non-impediment, or freedom to marry, abroad or in Canada
- 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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