We often get frustrated with seemingly unnecessary red tape and arbitrary rules – but every once in a while we run across requirements from other countries that are mind boggling. For those who have never encountered this, it goes something like this.
A government agency or business in a country your client does business in requires a copy of a document. If they were here, they may not need that document in the first place, but even if they do it would be a simple manner of scanning and emailing a pdf.
But no, they require a notarial copy – still simple enough. Then they say the document needs to have a corporate seal as well. Explaining that most Canadian companies don’t have corporate seals because they have not been required here for decades doesn’t help – its easier and cheaper to just buy a corporate seal.
But they won’t accept a notarial copy on its own, it has to be consularized, meaning the document has to go to that country’s embassy or consulate to be vetted and stamped or formalized in some way. So you look up the process for that on the consulate web site and see that they have very specific rules about things such as what time of day they will accept documents, what ID has to be provided by the requesting person, and the need to bind the document together in a way that avoids substitution. It may suggest methods such as sealing wax or an eyelet. No staples allowed. So the firm gets canvassed to see if there exists anywhere an eyelet/rivet tool that some lawyers used decades ago to fasten wills together. That fails, so you end up sending the document to a print shop to be bound.
Before the bound document goes to the consulate, it has to go to the provincial Ministry of Government Services so they can sign the document to confirm that the notary who signed it is really a notary. Then it goes to the consulate where they add their official seal for a modest fee.
But we are still not done. All of this is in English, so you have to send it to be translated by a certified translation agency or law firm in the country it is going to.
Then it can go to whomever requested it.
By the time this is all done, that document copy has been certified/stamped/sealed by: originating company, notary, provincial official, consulate, official translator.
The task that would have taken 5 minutes here has stretched into hours of work, various fees, and an elapsed time that might be measured in weeks.