About Authentication


  1. All authentication requests must be made using the online request form (replacing the cover letter). See Submitting your Documents for Authentication.
  2. Cash will no longer be accepted. Online payment option is available. See Document Authentication Fee for accepted payment types.
  3. Photocopies of a BC Vital Statistics document will not be accepted for authentication, even if notarized.
  4. Documents submitted for authentication must either be in English or be translated as required. See Translation Requirements for details.

This site will guide you through the process of having a B.C. public document authenticated by the Government of British Columbia for use outside of Canada. In these pages, you will find information on:

  • What authentication is and why a B.C. public document may need to be authenticated
  • What public documents can be authenticated in British Columbia
  • What steps to take for each type of document
  • What the document authentication fee is and how to pay it
  • How long the process typically takes

What is authentication?

B.C. public documents often show the signature (and, if applicable, the seal) of the issuer or of a lawyer, notary or other official.

Notary signature and seal

Sample image of a notary seal and signature

Provincial authentication (notary)

Provincial authentication of notarized documents in British Columbia

Through the authentication process (sometimes called “legalization” or “apostille”):

  • The signature and seal on the public document are confirmed as genuine
  • The authority of the issuer, lawyer, notary or other official to sign at the time of signing is confirmed

The authentication process does not confirm or certify the contents of the B.C. public document.

In British Columbia, public documents are authenticated by the Registrar, Official Documents, or Deputy Registrar, Official Documents, in the Order in Council (OIC) Administration Office. B.C. public documents authenticated in British Columbia can be identified by the authentication certificate riveted (physically attached) to them.

Note that the B.C. Authentication Program is not the same as the federal authentication of documents service offered by Global Affairs Canada. Please check with the consulate, embassy or country that you are dealing with to ensure that you get the type of authentication they will accept.

Is my document eligible for authentication in B.C.?

Documents that are eligible for authentication in B.C. must be either:

  • B.C. public documents, submitted in the format required, for use outside Canada
  • Certain federal Canadian public documents that have been notarized in B.C., submitted in the format required, for use outside Canada (see B.C. Notarized Documents)

If you have a Canadian public document that was issued in a province or territory other than B.C. (even if the document is notarized in B.C.), visit the Global Affairs Canada website for information on how to get your document authenticated for use abroad.

The B.C. Authentication Program is unable to authenticate foreign documents (documents issued outside Canada) for use abroad. 

If you have a foreign document and need it authenticated for use abroad, we recommend that you contact the embassy, high commission or consulate in Canada of the country of issuance. 

Why might a B.C. public document need to be authenticated?

A government or organization of a country outside Canada may need one or more of your B.C. public documents to be authenticated before it will be accepted for use there. Authentication enables the government or organizations to trust that the signature and seal on the document are genuine.

What are the steps in the process?

The typical steps are:

authentication process flow chart

Note: The steps depend on the country that needs the authenticated document and the type of document being authenticated.

Before preparing your document for authentication, please check with the embassy or consulate of the destination country regarding what documents you need and what other steps you may need to take. 

If your document needs to be notarized before authentication, the B.C. Notary Public (B.C. lawyer or B.C. non-lawyer) must already be on file with our office to avoid delays.

Some types of public documents do not need to be notarized before authentication. Review instructions on this website to find out if your document type should be submitted for authentication as a non-notarized original document.

If your B.C. Education Document (K-12 or Post Secondary) was issued by a B.C. public education institution instead of the Ministry of Education, please contact us first to find out which signatories are already on file with our office.

How much does authentication cost?

The fee is $30 per document authenticated. Please refer to Document Authentication Fee for details.