Legalisation & Apostille

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NEW PROCEDURE: Apostille in Canada

On January 11, 2024, the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization of Foreign Public Documents (also called the "Apostille Convention"), came into force in Canada. This changes document authentication processes for residents of Canada. 

As of this date, authenticated documents destined for contracting states of the Apostille Convention receive apostille certificates, and no longer require legalization at consulates or embassies. 

Belgium being one of the 126 contracting states of the Apostille Convention, we recognize the Canadian apostille as such. In other words: on these apostilled documents, no additional authentication/legalization is required by Belgium. 

Please check this webpage which gives an overview of the new Canadian procedures. 

PLEASE NOTE: Our legalization services at the Consulate General of Belgium in Montreal remain available (see on this page), but ONLY for Canadian documents which are needed by an authority in Belgium and which cannot be apostilled in Canada: for instance a document signed by a private individual. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE

The Consulate General in Montreal can only legalize documents issued in Canada (with the exception of documents that must be apostilled, which do not need to be legalized by our services)

If your document was issued in Belgium, contact the Legalization Service of the FPS Foreign Affairs in Brussels. 

Introduction

A document that is official and legal in one country is not necessarily official and legal in another. Many documents must therefore be legalised if you wish to use them abroad. 

The legalisation process involves checking the origin of the relevant document. Legalisation is official confirmation that the signature of the civil servant that has signed a document, or the seal or stamp on the document, is legitimate.

It is not only the signature of the person that has issued the document that is legalised, the process can also legalise the signature of the legalising registrar. Every signature, every seal and every stamp will be legalised by the person authorised to do so and who is familiar with each signature, seal or stamp. This explains why various legalisations are sometimes required, in a specific order. 

A country may have signed up to a legalisation treaty that encompasses agreements about how countries accept one another's official documents. Many countries have signed up to the "Apostille Convention" of The Hague of 5 October 1961. With this, just 1 legalisation is required via an apostille stamp.

PLEASE NOTE: On January 11, 2024, the Apostille Convention came into force in Canada. Canadian authorities have started issuing apostille certificates. See the new procedures here

As a consequence, our services no longer legalize documents issued in Canada and which require an apostille certificate.  

Questions and answers about the legalisation of documents

For legalisation from abroad, you can also consult the website of our representative at the location concerned, i.e. Belgian embassies and consulates

Instructions

Please read and follow the instructions below carefully. 
 

CASE 1: Get your documents apostilled

Following documents must be apostilled by Canadian authorities. Please note they must have been issued less than six months ago.  

  • Civil status documents issued by the provincial civil status services
    • Birth certificate; 
    • Death certificate; 
    • Marriage certificate; 
    • Birth registration; 
    • Marriage registration or license. 
  • Criminal record extract from the RCMP showing fingerprints, RCMP seal and the signature of the Director General of Canadian Criminal Real Time Identification Services (CCRTIS). 
  • Any document drawn up by a Canadian notary or lawyer (e.g. power of attorney) *for the province of Quebec, contact the Chambre des notaires
  • Court judgments (e.g. divorce decree); 
  • Diploma or transcript issued by a Canadian educational institution; 
  • Certified copy of a Canadian Citizenship certificate or Canadian passport; 
  • Medical certificate; 
  • Death certificate issued by a funeral home; 
  • Translations done in Canada (CTTIC and OTTIAQ). 
     

CASE 2: Get your documents legalized 

From now on, the Consulate General only legalizes documents signed by a private individual in Canada. 

To do this, you must appear in person during our opening hours at the counter of the Consulate General in Montreal. An appointment is not required. 

Bring your original document to be legalized. We will verify the signature on site. 

A fee of 30 CAD is required for each document to be legalized. 

FAQ

What is a legalization? 

Legalization is a type of authentication that guarantees the authenticity of a foreign document and its validity for use in Belgium. 

How will I receive my legalization? 

Canadian documents destined for Belgium are legalized electronically. No more stickers are affixed to the original document. The link to the legalized document is sent directly by email to the applicant, who also receives a receipt to keep. A file number and a date of issue are mentioned in the email and on the receipt. Based on these two pieces of information, the electronic legalization can also be viewed and downloaded at LegalWeb.

When is a translation required? 

A translation is not required to legalize a document. 

However, a foreign document drawn up in a language other than one of the official languages of Belgium (Dutch, French or German) will in principle have to be translated before it can be used in Belgium. Please ask your correspondent in Belgium whether a translation is necessary and, if so, in which language. 

The translation must be done by a certified translator. It can be done in Canada or in Belgium. 

  • If the document is translated in Canada, it must be translated by a certified translator (see e.g. CTTIC and OTTIAQ lists). The translation must also be authenticated beforehand – see point 1 of the instructions – and then legalized at the Consulate General of Belgium in Montreal. 
  • If the document is translated in Belgium, you should have it translated by a sworn translator. The sworn translator will also legalize the translated document. You can access the list of sworn translators via the yellow pages or the courts. This is the preferred option. 

Please note: Belgian embassies and consulates do not provide translation services nor references from translators. 

How to legalize a document issued in Belgium? 

For any legalization of a document issued in Belgium, please contact the Legalization Department of the FPS Foreign Affairs in Brussels.