Notarising your testamur – is it necessary?
Sending your testamur, qualifications and academic records to other countries
We regularly help students who have studied in Australia and want to use their education documents in another country. Some common requests include:
- Primary school reports and letters
- Secondary high school reports and letters.
- High School certificates, academic records and results, especially for HSC qualifications.
- Certificates, transcripts and completion letters from public colleges (ie, TAFE NSW) and private colleges.
- Certificates, testamurs, transcripts and completion and public universities and private universities.
- Qualifications and accreditations from professional bodies.
Aside from notarising these education and qualification documents for use in other countries, we also assist with legalisation (see below), if required.
Legalisation of Australian education documents
Depending on the intended destination country, documents that have been notarised in Australia must be either:
- Stamped with an apostille from Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT); or
- Authenticated by DFAT and then legalised by the foreign representative office of the intended destination country.
One of our most asked questions is whether it’s necessary to submit the original testamur or a notarised copy. The short answer is that it’s not up to us. We don’t decide whether you must submit original documents or notarised copies. The answer to this question lies with the intended recipient and the intended destination country.
Some recipients may accept a notarised copy of your original Australian education documents. Some have started to accept electronic education documents or notarised printed copies of electronic education documents. It’s always best to ask the intended recipient and seek their directions. They’ll be able to tell you whether you must submit your original testamur or whether a notarised copy is acceptable. They should also be able to tell you whether your education documents must be stamped with an apostille or be authenticated and legalised.
Aside from the intended recipient’s requirements, some countries also have specific requirements for Australian education documents. For example, education documents intended for Saudi Arabia must be authenticated by DFAT and attested by the Saudi Cultural Mission. Education documents for Italy require an apostille and a ‘declaration of value‘. Aside from DFAT authentication, Australian education documents for Qatar must be accompanied by transcripts and a separate completion letter issued by the issuing college or university before they can be legalised by the Qatar Embassy.
The problem with notarising your original testamur
Most colleges and universities will only issue one original testamur. It’s important to look after that original document and not damage it or mark it in any way. This means you really shouldn’t notarise it or have it authenticated or stamped with an apostille. You might not be able to use your original testamur for other purposes if it’s damaged, lost or just marked in some way. So it’s important to look after it.
While you might be able to apply for a replacement, it may always be marked as a replacement. You won’t receive another testamur in the same way that you received your original testamur on your graduation. Be sure of the requirements before you commit to having your original testamur notarised, authenticated or stamped with an apostille. There’s no turning back.
The general requirement for notarising Australian education documents
One of the primary functions of notaries in Australia is to verify and certify Australian documents for use in other countries around the world. In many cases, this relates to using Australian education documents. Many of our clients must prove their qualifications to obtain visas, for employment or for further studies. If you’re sending your Australian education documents to other countries, we can help by notarising those documents as well as assisting with satisfying the various requirements of the intended recipient or the intended destination country.
Preparing the notary certificate
Before notarising an Australian testamur, we verify the information with the issuing college or university. If the university doesn’t have an online verification tool, we’ll contact the college or university directly. If there are other documents, such as transcripts or completion letters, then those generally must be verified directly with the college or university as that information doesn’t normally appear online.
After verifying the testamur, we’ll prepare a notary certificate confirming that we’ve verified the information in the testamur and other education documents with the issuing college or university. Depending on the requirement of the intended destination country, and the availability of the documents or the verification provided by the college or university, we may vary the notary certificate to properly address the situation or the requirement.
The alternative to notarisation
If you obtained your testamur from a public university, check whether student service can certify your testamur. If your university has an authorised officer recognised by DFAT, you can bypass notarising your testamur. DFAT can authenticate or stamp your original testamur with an apostille according to the authorised officer’s stamp and signature. If you don’t want to mark your original testamur, for the reasons that we’ve outlined above, then you’ll still need to have a copy of your original testamur notarised.
If you obtained your testamur from a private university or college, you have no choice but to have a copy of your original testamur notarised by a notary public. Private universities and colleges do not have authorised officers recognised by DFAT.
Do you have any questions?
Sending documents from Australia to other countries can be complicated. We make it simple.
If your documents must be stamped with an apostille or authenticated and then legalised, we can help with that too. We've also created a flowchart to explain the process.
So, what's next?
Why choose Phang Legal for your notary public services?
We're a leading provider of notary public services in Sydney. We're known for our experience and expertise in notarising documents for other countries, our low-cost fixed fees and service offering, and our availability to help on short notice.
Our office is conveniently located in Parramatta, the geographic centre of the Sydney metropolitan area. We help clients from across Sydney and beyond with personal, professional and timely notary public services.
This website is maintained by Phang Legal, a boutique law firm in Parramatta and a leading provider of quality notary public services to satisfied clients across Sydney.
Ern Phang is a director of Phang Legal and a notary public (since 2005). Ern regularly writes about his experiences as a notary public and the issues faced by his clients in sending documents to other countries.