Legalization validates a foreign public document by verifying the authenticity of the signature and the legitimacy of the signing authority. Legalization does not certify the content of the document.
The Hague Apostille is a simplified procedure that has the same purpose as legalization and is applied between the States party to the Convention of 5 October 1961, which abolished the requirement to legalize foreign public documents.
In general, unless a specific rule provides exemption from this obligation, all foreign public documents must be legalized or apostilled to be valid in Spain, and all Spanish public documents must be legalized or apostilled to be valid abroad.
Only original legalized or apostilled documents (or true copies issued by the same body that issued the original) are admissible. Legalized or apostilled photocopies cannot replace the original document.
The legalization or apostille has no expiry date, but if the document has a time-limited validity, that of the legalization or apostille shall be equally limited.
A) Legalization of foreign documents at the Consular Office
Can I apostille my official Canadian documents?
Canada is not a party to The Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents, mostly known as the Apostille Convention. Therefore, any official Canadian document needs to be legalized through diplomatic channels in order to take effect in Spain.
Which documents can I legalize at the Consulate General in Toronto?
NOTE: THE CONSULATE GENERAL OF SPAIN IN TORONTO ONLY LEGALIZES CANADIAN DOCUMENTS ISSUED BY ORGANIZATIONS OR INSTITUTIONS LOCATED WITHIN ITS CONSULAR JURISDICTION
- We ONLY legalize original documents or certified copies issued by the same authority issuing the original document. Certified photocopies from authorities different than those issuing the document, even though they are authenticated by Global Affairs Canada, will not be valid in Spain.
- We ONLY legalize documents that have been authenticated by Global Affairs Canada. Documents authenticated by any Canadian provincial authority will not be legalized.
- We do not legalize translations
, even though they have been authenticated by Global Affairs Canada. If you need a document to be translated, we suggest that you contact any of the Sworn Translators/Interpreters named by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation. You can find an updated list here
- If you require legalization of documents issued by organizations or institutions located in our consular jurisdiction, which are not public official documents, you will need to notarize them before a Canadian Notary Public before continuing with the authentication and legalization procedures.
Which type of documents can be legalized?
- ACADEMIC CERTIFICATES OR DIPLOMAS ISSUED BY CANADIAN ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS located in our consular jurisdiction. At this Consulate General, we will legalize academic certificates and diplomas where Global Affairs Canada has directly authenticated the signature of the Educational Centre’s Principal or competent officer appearing on the academic certificate or diploma. Likewise, the Consulate will accept academic certificates or diplomas notarized and authenticated by Global Affairs Canada, as long as it appears, in writing or in an attached affidavit, that the notary public has verified the identity and authenticated the signature of the Educational Centre’s Principal or competent officer appearing in the academic certificate or diploma.
- BIRTH, DEATH, MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE CERTIFICATES ISSUED BY CIVIL REGISTRIES IN OUR CONSULAR JURISDICTION stating facts that have occurred in our consular jurisdiction.
- OTHER DOCUMENTS, issued by institutions located in our consular jurisdiction. These documents need to be notarized by a Canadian Notary Public before continuing with the authentication and legalization procedures.
What is the procedure to follow?
1) Send by mail your original document to:
Authentication Services Section (JLAC)
Global Affairs Canada
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, ON K1A 0G2
Global Affairs Canada will seal and sign the document with the purpose of authenticating the signature of the authority issuing the document. When you apply for the authentication to Global Affairs Canada by mail, you can ask for the authenticated document to be sent to your mailing address or you can select the option "Forward to an embassy/consulate"
in the "Request for Authentication Service"
form and fill out the following address:
Consulate General of Spain
2 Bloor Street East,
Toronto, ON M4W 1A8
3) Global Affairs Canada will send the document to the Consulate General of Spain in Toronto. In this case, you must include in the package to Global Affairs Canada along with the documents to be legalized, a sealed envelope, addressed “To the Consulate General of Spain”, with a certified cheque or money order payable to the Consulate General of Spain in Toronto with the amount of the consular fee for the legalization or legalizations to be completed by the Consulate, a prepaid envelope and a note with your contact information, including your full name, mailing address, phone and email.
4) The Consulate General will legalize the signature of the civil servant at Global Affairs Canada, but only when we have received the payment of the consular fee.
How can I pay the consular fee?
- You have two options to pay depending on whether you are:
A) WITHIN CANADA: Guaranteed or certified cheque in Canadian dollars or money order, payable to the “Consulate General of Spain in Toronto”. This cheque will have been included with the documents sent to Global Affairs Canada in a sealed envelope addressed to the Consulate General of Spain in Toronto. Personal cheques will not be accepted.
B) OUTSIDE OF CANADA: Bank transfer. As soon as we receive your document from Global Affairs Canada, we will get in contact with you to inform you of the cost of the consular fee and the certified mail to your mailing address, as well as the bank and account number to make the transfer. In this case, the transfer must be made in Canadian dollars (never in another currency) and for the exact amount. A reminder that you must pay any bank expenses associated to the bank transfer.
How can I get my documents back?
In order to mail documents to you, you have to provide us with a mailing address. It cannot be a postal office box.
- WITHIN CANADA: You must provide a prepaid XPRESS POST envelope from Canada Post.
- OUTSIDE OF CANADA: We will send the documents by certified mail, once we receive your bank transfer with the amount of the consular fee and the certified mail.
In all circumstances, the Consulate General will not be responsible for any issues, delays or loss of documents sent by mail.
How can I contact the Department of Legalizations?
You can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
or call at (+1) 416-977-1661 EXT. 1. We will only answer with respect to information which cannot be found on the website.
B) Obtaining an apostille for foreign documents
The Hague apostille is the exclusive competence of the authorities of the country issuing the document. Documents apostilled by the authorities of the issuing country do not require any additional procedure from the Consular Office, and may be presented directly in Spain.
The text of the Convention of 5 October 1961, which abolished the requirement to legalize foreign public documents, together with the list of States party to the Convention and the authorities in each State competent to apostille a document is available at the following link:
In the European Union, Regulation 2016/1191 exempts the interested party from the apostille requirement in certain cases. For more information, consult the European Union information page or the Regulation
C) Legalization or apostille of Spanish documents
Information on how to legalize or apostille documents issued by the Spanish authorities is available (in Spanish) on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation.
The Consular Office does not legalize or apostille documents issued in Spain.