FAQs – Documents

Written documentation is at the heart of all notary public services. Everything that we provide in relation to our notary public services relates to some kind of document or another that will be used in other countries outside of Australia.

Generally, if you are signing a document then your document should be prepared in accordance with the laws of the intended destination country, or to the satisfaction of the person/organisation that may be receiving the document.

Always get legal advice

Consult a qualified lawyer in the intended destination country to ensure that you receive the right advice. If you are signing your document in Australia, or if you need an Australian document to be certified and/or verified, then because of the connection with Australia that document will need to be notarised by a notary public in Australia.

As a leading provider of notary public services in Sydney, we regularly deal with documents from all over the world and in many different languages. Our experience with providing notary public services means we are familiar with the requirements of common intended destination countries such as India, Malaysia, Singapore, China, Philippines, Fiji, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, Croatia, Bosnia, Poland, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Argentina, Venezuela, Chile, and the United States of America.

FAQs for documents requiring notary public services

If you have questions regarding documents for your intended destination country, please review the frequently asked questions here or call our office on 02 9687 8885 to speak to our notary public.

Yes, but our notary public services are limited to preparing the notary certificate.

We do not practice in laws of other countries, and so if you need a specific document for that country, such as a power of attorney, you should have that power of attorney document properly prepared for you by a lawyer in the intended destination country. Occasionally you may also be able to download forms from the internet – although you should seek relevant advice before making changes to those forms.

If we prepare any kind of document (other than the notary certificate) for you to use in another country, we do not take responsibility for whether that document is acceptable or legally valid in that country. You must make your own enquiries at all times to satisfy yourself that you have met the requirements of the intended destination country. In most cases, we are unable to check whether your document is correct or valid according to the laws of the intended destination country.

See also Do you prepare documents for overseas?

No. We know that some countries (like India) sometimes print their legal documents on special paper, commonly known as stamp paper or bonded paper – which is a form of prepaid duty. Please be aware that this kind of paper is not available in Australia.

If your document must be prepared on this kind of paper, you need to arrange for your lawyer in that country to prepare it for you and send you the hard copy by mail.

Notarising your document without Stamped Paper

If your lawyer sends you the document in electronic form to be printed in Australia, you will probably only be able to print it on paper that is readily available in Australia – such as A4, although in our experience this has not been an issue as the document may need to be formally “stamped” or marked once it reaches the intended destination country and the relevant duty has been paid.

In the past, clients have purchased stamps from Australia Post and attached those stamps to their document! However, we suspect that this will not satisfy the requirements of any foreign country with respect to their local duty liability. We DO NOT recommend this course of action without proper and competent legal advice from a lawyer admitted in the intended destination country.

See also Do you have stamp paper or bonded paper?

Yes, and no. Different countries use different documents (and wording), so we are unable to provide a ‘standard’ template that can be used for all countries and in all situations.

There are many forms of templates for different documents available on the internet, and even though many clients use these forms successfully, the internet can often be an unreliable source of information.

Where can I find templates for the documents that I need?

The standing advice is to have your documents prepared by your lawyer in the intended destination country to ensure that it will be legally valid and acceptable according to their laws to avoid any hassle, delay or additional unnecessary cost. Otherwise, you may be able to find templates on from the relevant foreign office or government departments, or failing all that you may be able to find templates on the internet.

See also Do you have any templates for what the document needs to look like or the wording?

Depends. Your documents should probably be in the language, or translated into the language, used by the intended destination country. However, if we need to verify that we have explained the document to you, or that we have understood the contents of the document, then the document should be in English or translated into English.

Please check out our Document Translation services for more information. If your document is written in a language other than English but it needs to be used in Australia, then you will probably need to have it translated by a NAATI accredited translator.

NAATI accredited translators are accredited for translations in Australia, however they may not be recognised by other countries. Please check with your intended destination country regarding their specific translation requirements.

See also Do my documents need to be in English or in any other language?

No. To protect our computer network from virus and malware, we maintain a strict policy that prohibits using our office computers to access files and other data from unknown sources.

If your documents are on an email or in a USB stick, you must print them before attending our office. You can print them at local print shops or local internet cafes which are all in short walking distance from our office in Parramatta.

See also My documents are on email or in a USB stick, can I print them at your office?

At this stage, we do not ‘digitally’ notarise electronic documents.

All documents for notarisation must be in physical form (ie, printed on paper), and you must bring those documents with you (see related FAQ).

We acknowledge that as technology continues to advance, traditional areas of law such as notary public services will eventually need to evolve and embrace the concept of notarising an electronic document. Although Australia has yet to recognise the role of an ‘e-notary’ or accept ‘electronic notarisation’, other countries such as the US appear to be more advanced in this regard.

For the time being, we have raised this issue with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, but have been advised that they have not considered the issue as yet. In our view, it is only a matter of time.

See also Will you notarise an electronic document?

Yes, we will bind your documents if you have multiple pages, and your documents must be legalised, by authentication or apostille, through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). The binding will include a notary certificate.

How will you bind my documents?

If your documents need to be bound, or we attach a notary certificate to your documents, we will bind your documents with ribbon and secure the ribbon to your documents or our notary certificate with our seal. This form of binding will be accepted by DFAT and by most foreign offices and countries all over the world.

What about DFAT binding?

In addition to or instead of us binding your documents, DFAT may also bind your documents if you require authentication or an apostille and you have more than one document or if we attach a notary certificate to your documents. Please be aware that DFAT charge a different fee for bound documents. Sometimes if you have many pages, binding your document will be a cheaper option than stamping each page separately. For more information regarding how DFAT treat bound documents, also visit

We will discuss the options with you to ensure that we provide you with the most cost effective solution to meet your requirements and satisfy the legal formalities of the intended destination country.

See also Will you bind my documents?

No, but you may bring your own copies. If you do not bring copies, we are able to copy most original documents in our office at no additional cost.

However, if your documents are large (ie, larger than A4), complex or bound in any way, we recommend bringing your own copies. You can copy them at any one of the local print shops (ie, MBE Parramatta) which are all within walking distance from our office in Parramatta. If it is too difficult for you to arrange your own copies of ‘large documents’, we can still make arrangements to have them copied by outsourcing them to a local print shop, however, there will be an additional cost charged to you as a disbursement/out-of-pocket expense.

See also If I need certified copies of original documents, do I need to bring my own copies?

Depends on whether your signature on the document needs to be witnessed by the notary public, or the notary public just needs to certify a copy of the document.

If your document bears your signature, and your signature needs to be witnessed by a notary public then you must attend in person with the document and sign the document in the presence of the notary public.

If your document is an original document and you only require a certified true copy of that document to be notarised, then you may send someone else. Whoever attends our office will still need to bring their personal photograph identification (ie, Australian drivers licence or passport) to verify their identity for our records.

See also Do I need to bring the document myself or I can send someone else?

Yes, but you will need to sign the document again in front of our notary public before it will be notarised by our notary public – even if it has already been signed and witnessed before.

If you are sending the document as a certified original or certified true copy of the original document, we can provide you with a certificate that confirms it is a certified original or certified true copy of the original document, however our notary certificate will also clarify that we did not witness the document being signed.

If you need to have your signature witnessed by a notary public, you will either need to sign the document again in the presence of our notary public or whenever possible, prepare a fresh document for signing and witnessing. Be aware that re-signing a document that has already been signed may be legally valid, but it might look messy, unclear and create confusion leading to rejection in the intended destination country.

See also My document needs to be witnessed but I have already signed it. Can it still be notarised?

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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

Ern Phang
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.

Ern Phang 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: 2010-01-01 00:00:51 / Last edited: 2018-05-26 15:09:05