Apostille Certificate Services

Meaning of Document Legalization (international law)

Authentication by legalization is widely used in international commerce and civil law matters in those jurisdictions where the simpler apostille system has not been adopted (e.g.: Canada, China).

Broadly speaking, the aim of any international document authentication process is to solve a fundamentally practical problem: how can civil and judicial officials reliably verify the authenticity of a document that was issued abroad? Legalization attempts to solve this dilemma by creating a chain of authentications, each by a progressively higher government authority so as to ultimately narrow the point of contact between countries to a single designated official (usually in the national department responsible for foreign affairs). Therefore, by authenticating the signature and seal of this final official a foreign jurisdiction can authenticate the entire chain of verifications back to the entity responsible for issuing the original document without scrutinizing each "link" individually.