Legalization of Canadian Documents for Use in Lithuania

 

By Linas Antanavicius, Barrister & Solicitor

Sometimes there is a need to use a Canadian document or a power of attorney in a foreign jurisdiction.  This article provides an overview of the process of legalization of Canadian documents to be used in Lithuania.

The documents are generally powers of attorney, company documents, certificates of marriage, divorce or death, education certificates, documents confirming one’s income and citizenship status, as well as court documents.  They are usually used in selling and buying real estate, incorporating companies in Lithuania, probating estates, registering marriages, applying for divorces, and registering the birth or proving the citizenship of children.

Authentication and Legalization

In order to use Canadian documents in Lithuanian institutions (such as courts, municipalities, corporate registries, land title offices, or banks), the document has to be “authenticated” and “legalized”.

The authentication process entails the verification of the seal and signature of a lawyer, notary public or public official by a Canadian government authority.  The authentication is done by either the federal Department of Federal Affairs AND International Trade or provincial authentication authorities such as the Ministry of the Attorney General in British Columbia.  The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade does not charge a fee for authenticating, while the Ministry of the Attorney General charges a fee.

After a document is “authenticated”, the document needs to be “legalized” by the Lithuanian Embassy in Ottawa.  The Embassy charges a fee.  You can send an unauthenticated document directly to the Embassy.  The employees of the Embassy, at no additional charge, will present the document to the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade for authentication and will legalize the authenticated document afterwards.  In this regard, the Lithuanian Embassy in Ottawa provides a better service than some of the other foreign embassies in Canada, which require an already authenticated document to be submitted for legalization.  The service by the Lithuanian Embassy of submitting the document for authentication saves time because the document does not have to be mailed or couriered to Ottawa twice.  The legalized and translated document can be used in Lithuania.

Powers of Attorney

A power of Attorney allows someone else to act on your behalf.  Powers of attorney have to be signed before a lawyer or a notary public.  There are different legal requirements with respect to the form and content of powers of attorney in Canada and in Lithuania.  For this reason, in order to avoid complications and arguments about the validity of a power of attorney, especially when buying and selling real estate in Lithuania, a power of attorney should be drafted by a Lithuanian notary and signed before a Canadian lawyer or notary public.  Then the power of attorney needs to be authenticated and legalized.