What’s the Apostille Convention?

The Apostille Convention (officially known as the Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents) is an international treaty that simplifies the authentication of documents used in different countries around the world. The Apostille Convention only applies to countries that are signatories. The Apostille Convention came into force for Australia on 16 March 1995.

According to the Apostille Convention, public documents that have been issued with a certificate called an apostille, will be recognised by other counties that are also signatories to the Apostille Convention. Further authentication by the foreign office of the intended destination country is not required.

The Apostille Convention defines ‘public documents’ as:

  • documents from an authority or an official connected with a court or tribunal;
  • public administrative documents prepared by an administrative agency or government authority; or
  • documents issued or signed by a notary public.

In Australia, only the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has the authority to issue an apostille.

If the intended destination country is not a signatory to the Apostille Convention, then documents sent to that country must be authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and authenticated by the intended destination country’s foreign office in Australia before the documents will be recognised by the intended destination country.

For more information, also visit

If the intended destination country is not a party to the Hague Apostille Convention, then you may need to have your document ‘authenticated’ by DFAT once it has been notarised by a notary public. See the related FAQ: What’s ‘authentication’?

Other FAQs regarding our notary public services

If you have any other questions regarding our notary public services, please contact our office on 02 9687 8885 to speak with our notary public or visit our other frequently asked questions, also found below:

Phang Legal - 15 years serving the community

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: 2010-01-01 00:00:22 / Last edited: 2018-05-26 15:09:06