Frequently Asked Questions about Authenticating Documents in British Columbia

Q. How long will it take to process my documents?

A. Processing times depend on volume received and can change without notice.

Q. Can I check the status of my request?

A. It may not be possible for our office to confirm the status of your request. Please refer to your tracking information to know if your document was received or sent back out to you.

Q. Is there a rush service available?

A. No, but if it is urgent please state this in the cover letter when submitting your document(s) for authentication.

Q. Can I have my documents authenticated in person?

A. No, we do not have walk-in or while-you-wait service.

Q. Is there a fee for authentication?

A. Please refer to Document Authentication Fee.

Q. Will the Government of British Columbia send my documents to a foreign embassy or consulate?

A. Yes, if indicated on your cover letter and / or you have provided a prepaid  return envelope that can be tracked.

Q. Can I send cash?

A. Please refer to the Document Authentication Fee.

Q. Do I have to include a return envelope?

A. Your document will be sent back via regular mail unless you provide a prepaid return envelope that can be tracked. Please refer to Return Mail Service for more information.

Q. Can I track documents returned via regular mail?

A. Canada Post regular mail has no tracking.

Q. What is a prepaid envelope?

A. Please refer to Return Mail Service.

Q. Do you authenticate original documents or copies?

A. Depends on the type and content of the documents and where the document is going, since some countries will only accept authenticated original documents.

Q. Can I send you a photocopy of my document instead of my original?

A. We do not authenticate photocopies.

Q. Will you authenticate a document certified by a commissioner for taking affidavits for British Columbia?

A. No.

Q. Do I need to send my original passport or ID with my document for authentication?

A. No. Authentication does not require any identification to be submitted.

Q. Do I need to list all the documents on your request form or only the ones requiring authentication?

A. Only the ones requiring authentication. If a document does not require authentication, do not send it to us with your package unless instructions on this website direct you to. Please refer to Submitting your Documents for Authentication.

Q. What if I need to include additional items for the embassy or consulate?

A. If you are including additional items meant only for the embassy or consulate, ensure they are in a separate envelope and clearly marked as not for authentication. If your authenticated document needs to be sent directly to a foreign embassy or consulate, you must also provide mailing instructions. Please refer to Return Mail Service.

Q. Can my document authentication request be declined?

A. Yes, please refer to After Submitting Documents for Authentication.

Q. Do you authenticate documents for use in Canada?

A. No, authenticated documents are for use outside of Canada only.

Q. Do you authenticate funeral home death certificates?

A. Yes, funeral homes issue official BC Vital Statistic death certificates. Documents signed by a funeral home employee are not accepted.

Q. Do authentication certificates expire?

A. Some time limits exist, but that is up to the country, consulate, embassy or entity abroad to determine and verify.

Q. Can you make photocopies of my documents?

A. No.

Q. Can I use a waybill to get my documents returned to me?

A. Please refer to Return Mail Service.

Q. Will you stamp my original certificates/diploma?

A. We do not stamp documents, we will attach an authentication certificate to the front of your document. The consulate or embassy may stamp or seal your document when they legalize it.

Q. Why do my documents need to be notarized before authentication?

A. Our office may not accept certain documents as originals due to the legal nature of the document and may require notarization. Please see BC Notarized Documents for more information.

Q. Why do you need my email and phone number on the request form?

A. Our office may need to contact you if there are any issues with your documents.

Q. Who can I contact if I still have questions?

A. Email: BCAuthentication@gov.bc.ca or Telephone: 250 387-4376

Mail/Courier Address:

Ministry of Attorney General
OIC Administration Office
Attention: BC Authentication Program
1001 Douglas Street (PO Box 9280 Stn Prov Govt)
Victoria, BC V8W 2C5