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How to authenticate Canadian documents for use in Costa Rica

by rpetersen

If you are a Canadian citizen and you need to validate Canadian documents for use in Costa Rica then you will need to follow this process.

Any document issued by a Canadian governmental agency is not automatically recognized as valid in Costa Rica.   It must go through a legalization process that confers upon that document the authenticity so that it will be accepted in Costa Rica.

The most common process for the recognition of foreign documents by another country is called an Apostille.   That process applies to those countries that are members of the Hague Convention on the Legalization of Documents.   Currently Canada is not a member therefore the process for Canadian documents is different.

The first step is to ensure that you have a valid original document.   For example if you require a birth certificate to be legalized then ensure that you order one from your provincial government department of vital statistics. The following is a link to the vital statistics departments of Canada: https://www.statcan.gc.ca/eng/health/vital/2012001/con

Once you have the correct document on hand the next step is to have that document authenticated by the Global Affairs office in Ottawa.   According to the web site of the Global Affairs office the following are the steps that they want you to follow to authenticate an official vital statistics document.

Step 1

Read the instructions related to the document(s) that you want to authenticate:

Complete list of documents that can be authenticated

Step 2 Print and complete the request form.

Fillable Request for Authentication form
Step 3

Enclose the form, the documents to be authenticated and a self-addressed stamped envelope or a prepaid courier shipping label.

Courier waybills with account numbers are not accepted.

Send your documents to:

Global Affairs Canada
Authentication Services Section (JLAC)
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, ON Canada K1A 0G2

Step 4

Check the status of your request

Current processing time is 15 working days from the time your documents are received. After that time you can check on your document’s status.

Step 5

If you must send your documents to an embassy, high commission or consulate

Sending your documents to an embassy, high commission or consulate page

The next step in the process is to send your authenticated document to the Costa Rican Embassy in Ottawa for legalization.   They will only authenticate those documents that have been authenticated by the Global Affairs department of Canada.   The cost to legalize each document is US$40.   The address to the Costa Rica Embassy is the following:

350 Sparks St. Suite 701 (Office Tower)
Ottawa, ON, K1R 7S8
Tel: (613) 562-2855
Fax: (613) 562-2582
E-mail: embcr-ca@rree.go.cr

Once you have your legalized document the final step will be to deliver it to the office of the Ministry of Foreign Relations for validation. 

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