Notarising documents in Australia for use in other countries
Usually, documents from Australia or signed in Australia must be notarised before they can be sent to and used in other countries around the world.
Notarisation is performed by a notary public. Generally, notarisation is the first step before those notarised documents are either stamped with an apostille by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) or authenticated by DFAT and then legalised by the foreign office of the intended destination country.
Notarial acts (ie, notarisation) performed by a notary public usually involve the notary identifying a person (and witnessing their signature) or the notary identifying a document (and certifying a copy of that document or verifying the information within that document).
Usually, if you’re sending your documents to or using your documents in another country, then you’ll need to have them notarised. But if you’re using your documents in Australia, then you don’t need to have them notarised – and assistance from a justice of the peace would normally be enough. You can still have your documents notarised for use in Australia, but it may be considered an unnecessary formality or expense for what’s required in Australia.
How do I notarise a document?
Easy. Notarising a document in Australia is as simple as making an appointment with a notary public.
If you’re signing a document, then you’ll need to visit the notary in person to sign the document in front of them so that they can identify you and witness you sign. If you need a certified copy of a document, then you’ll need to present the original document so that the copy can be certified and notarised.
Who is a notary public?
In Australia, a notary public is a senior lawyer who has completed further qualifications to be admitted as a notary public. This means they have been a practising lawyer for many years and completed further studies before they can become a notary public.
What documents do we attest and notarise?
Some of the documents that we regularly attest and notarise for clients include:
- Power of attorney or Letter of Authority signed in Australia appointing someone to handle your property, business or personal financial matters on your behalf – as well as the Revocation of Power of Attorney. The power of attorney is probably the most frequently requested document to be signed, attested and notarised by our office.
- Property transfers and dealing documents signed in Australia for transacting property in other countries.
- Legal and court forms and documents signed in Australia for legal matters and court proceedings in other countries.
- Personal and commercial agreements or contracts signed in Australia for use in other countries. If you’re signing on behalf of a company, you may also need ‘company documents’ such as a certificate of good standing.
- Photo and personal identification documents such as passports, Australian driver licences, Medicare card, council and water rates, or utility bills. Other forms of identification can also be attested and notarised, but generally, other countries require photo identification in the absence of a national identity card system in Australia.
- Personal certificates from Australia such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, change of name certificates, and Australian citizenship certificates. These certificates are generally issued by the relevant registry in each Australian state or by the Australian Government.
- Visa and Immigration documents from the Department of Home Affairs, such as the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO), visa grant notices, and international movement records from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
- Financial documents like bank statements issued by Australian banks, financial statements or tax-related documents from the Australian Tax Office (ATO). We can also attest and notarise the Bankruptcy Register Search from the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA).
- Court documents issued by Australian courts, such as divorce orders, the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.
- Education documents from Australian institutions, such as school reports, college degrees, university testamurs and transcripts. These documents must be verified with the issuing institution before they can be attested and notarised. We cannot attest or notarise education documents issued from countries other than Australia.
- Medical documents from Australian doctors, medical centre or hospitals. Documents such as doctor’s letters, medical reports, pathology results and prescriptions for medicines must be verified with the issuing doctor, medical centre or hospital before they can be attested and notarised.
- Professional qualification documents from Australian accredited bodies, such as the Law Society, CPA Australia, and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).
- Employment documents from Australian employers, like referral letters, references and recommendations, and payslips. These documents must be verified with the issuing employer before they can be attested and notarised.
- Company documents relating to Australian companies, like a certificate of good standing, attested copies of certificates of incorporation, resolution and minutes, constitutions and memorandum of association etc. These documents must be obtained directly from ASIC for public information or produced by a director of the company if they relate to documents from their corporate register.
- Criminal history documents issued by Australian police agencies like the Australian Federal Police (AFP) or state police, or by private organisations accredited by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC). The National Police Check certificate is available as a physical hard copy document or as a digital certificate in some cases.
Usually, if documents must be certified, you must be able to provide the original hard copy document to us. Some documents, especially if those documents are only available as electronic documents, can be emailed to us directly by whoever issued the documents. Whenever possible, we will also verify documents with whoever issued the documents to complete the notarisation.
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 offerings; 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 and beyond.
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 countries all over the world.