Confirming personal identity for overseas legal documents

Verifying your identity for overseas use

As a busy legal practice with clients overseas, one of our biggest challenges is ensuring that our clients sign (and we can prove that they have signed) legal documents in a way that will be valid in Australia. Generally, we will direct our clients to verify their identity by signing those legal documents in front of a public notary in their current resident country.

The role of a public notary is like an ‘international justice of the peace’, and accordingly, a public notary will often be tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that the person named in the legal documents or the person supposed to sign those legal documents is the person who has signed them. Certification by a public notary is a widely accepted form of proof recognised by most countries around the world.

In the same way, if you are in Australia but you need to sign legal documents intended for another country, you should probably be signing those legal documents in front of a public notary in Australia – or as otherwise directed by your lawyer in that country as to what is considered legally valid or acceptable.

Whenever clients ask us to witness their signature on legal documents intended to be used overseas, we will witness their signature and verify their identity according to their photograph identification – generally either their passport or their Australian drivers licence. If the legal documents that they are signing refer to a specific identification document, then we ask our clients to bring that specific identification document as well.

Aside from us witnessing our client’s signature and signing and sealing (notarising) the legal documents, some legal documents must also be authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, or stamped with an apostille, or authenticated by the relevant foreign office of the intended destination country.

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Do you have any questions regarding this article?

If you have never had to have a document notarised before, you may find our role as a notary public, the notary public services that we provide, and this whole process (especially authentication, legalisation and apostille) to be confusing and daunting. Do not worry! We are here to try to simplify it, make it easy for you to understand, and to guide you or assist you with achieving your desired goal.

Please contact us or visit our Frequently Asked Questions for more information regarding this article or our notary public services.

Click here to see the flowchart that we created to help you understand the process regarding notarisation, apostille, authentication and legalisation.

So, what next?

If you are now ready to proceed with having your document notarised, please visit our Notary Fees page for a FREE quote on our notary public services or just call us on 02 9687 8885 and speak to our friendly staff about your requirements.

Why choose Phang Legal for your notary public services?

We are a leading provider of notary public services in Sydney known for our low-cost fixed fee notary services, our availability to provide notary public services on short notice, and our focus on personal and timely notary public services. With our offices conveniently located in Parramatta, the geographic centre of the Sydney metropolitan area, our notary public assists clients from across all suburbs of Sydney and beyond.

Ern Phang, Notary Public


Notary Public

This website is maintained by Phang Legal, an incorporated legal practice in Parramatta and a leading provider of notary public services to clients across Sydney. Extensive experience and low-cost fixed prices ensures quality services and satisfied clients.

is the solicitor director of Phang Legal and a notary public. Ern regularly writes about his experiences as a notary public and the kinds of issues faced by his clients in sending documents overseas.

All information contained in this article is for general purposes only and correct as at the time of publication. You should only rely on information and advice that is specific to your situation and current at the time you wish to rely on it.

Posted: 2013-06-15 09:00:30 / Last edited: 2018-05-26 15:09:07