Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the implementation of measures to mitigate the spread of the disease, the Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs has put the following procedures in place for members of the public who wish to apply for the authentication of documents:
- Applicants are asked to download, print and complete the Authentication Form: “Details of Person Submitting documents for authentication”
- Applicants can also download, print and complete the Authorization Form if they wish to authorize someone to collect said documents on their behalf: “Authorization Letter for Collection of Documents”
- Applicants can then scan the completed forms and the supporting documents they wish to have authenticated and email the same to firstname.lastname@example.org
- After the verification of these documents by officers in the Consular Affairs Division, applicants will receive an email stating when they can submit all of the aforementioned documents to the Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs. Original documents must be submitted to the Drop Off Box either through TTPost or dropped off in person. Please see the Ministry’s address below.
- The process for authentication takes three (3) working days. Applicants will be informed via email as to when they can collect said documents at the Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs.
Authentication and Legalisation of Documents
Documents issued in Trinidad and Tobago which are to be used overseas for business or other personal reasons must be authenticated and legalized before the country in which they are to be used will accept them.
The Consular Affairs Division is ready to assist in the authentication and legalization of said documents once the country in which they are to be used has identified them for such authentication or legalization. The Consular Affairs Division cannot identify which documents are to be authenticated or legalized.
- Authentication. This is the process whereby the Ministry attests or certifies that the signature and stamp/seal on the document is that of the person authorised to sign on behalf of the organisation which issued the document and that the document itself does not appear to be fraudulent.
- Legalization is the process of document authentication observed by some governments. If you intend to use a document overseas then local authorities may require it to be legalized before it can be considered valid.
- Each country has its own legalization requirements determined by the type of document being legalized and its intended use. Please check with the local authorities or Embassy of the country where your documents are to be used for the current requirements.
- The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents, also known as the Apostille Convention, is an international agreement that specifies the modalities through which a document issued by one of the Member States to the Convention can be certified for legal purposes in all the other contracting Member States. Certification under the Apostille Convention is done with an Apostille stamp. Contracting Parties to the Apostille Convention agree to accept Apostilles in place of any other form of legalization or authentication. This is done in order to simplify cross border laws and remove the need for various legislation rule which may differ from one jurisdiction to another. It is the international certification that supplements notarization (which is done for domestic certification) and removes the need for double certification by the originating country and then by the receiving country.
- Legalisation. This is the process where the Consular Officer in the Embassy, High Commission or Consulate representing the government of the country where the document is intended to be used attests that the signature and stamp/seal of the authenticating officer of the Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs is legitimate. This is done by Embassies, High Commissions or Consulates resident in Trinidad and Tobago after the Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs has authenticated the document.
- Legalisation is also done by the Ministry in attesting to documents originating in Trinidad and Tobago which are authenticated by a Consular Representative in an Embassy, High Commission or Consulate in Trinidad and Tobago.
- Legalisation is also done by Trinidad and Tobago Embassies, High Commissions or Consulates attesting to documents which are created abroad so that they are acceptable for use in Trinidad and Tobago.
Certification. The Consular Affairs Division can also certify photocopies of documents provided that they will be accepted in the country where they are intended to be used. The certified document must also be counter-certified by the Consular Officer in the Embassy, High Commission or Consulate of the country where the document is intended to be used.
- The Ministry can only authenticate or legalise documents that are executed in Trinidad and Tobago
- Trinidad and Tobago Consular Officers overseas can legalise documents originating abroad intended for use in Trinidad and Tobago, once they have been:
- authenticated by the competent authority in those countries
- In the case of sworn statements or declarations, the person making such statement or declaration must first sign before a Justice of the Peace (JP) or a Notary Public (NP) resident in Trinidad and Tobago
- All documents to be authenticated must bear the original signature, stamp or seal from a Trinidad and Tobago recognised organisation or institution
Documents the Ministry Authenticates (Most Frequently)
- Vital records (birth, marriage, death certificates) and other documents issued by the Registrar General’s Department such as Deed Polls and Certificates of No Impediment to Marriage
- Educational certificates, diplomas, transcripts and similar documents certified by the Ministry of Education
- Sworn declarations, statements, affidavits, powers-of-attorney and similar documents signed before a Justice of the Peace or a Notary Public
- Court documents
- Medical documents certified by the Ministry of Health
- Company documents, commercial certificates of free sale
- Any other document provided that they are duly signed by a recognised authority.