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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: