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Who can witness my sponsorship or invitation letter?

Different kinds of sponsorship or invitation letters

As a leading provider of notary public services in Sydney, we assist many clients with attesting their signatures on sponsorship or invitation letters and other documents required for immigration and visa purposes. Some of the common requests include:

  • Sponsorship and invitation letters for visa purposes. If you’re an Australian citizen or permanent resident, you may be asked to provide a sponsorship or invitation letter to family members who wish to travel to Australia. This is intended to be evidence in support of their visa application. In many cases, you’ll be asked to provide this letter in the form of a statutory declaration or an ‘affidavit of support’.
  • Affidavit of support. Sworn written statements, statutory declarations or an affidavit of support are legal documents in which you swear the contents of your document to be true. Usually, in the context of immigration and visa issues, this will include information about your relationship with the person who is travelling and your ability to financially support them while they visit Australia. Sworn written statements must be signed in front of a prescribed witness. There are many categories of prescribed witnesses in Australia (depending on your state), but in many cases, the prescribed witness for this purpose is a notary public.
  • Character statutory declaration. Sometimes you may be required to provide a statutory declaration regarding your character. For example, you must declare that you have never been convicted of a crime in any country or that you have never been charged with any violent or sex crimes. You may require the character statutory declaration in addition to any formal evidence of your criminal background check.
  • Sponsorship, guarantees and undertakings for financial support in relation to further studies. Some universities and tertiary institutions require evidence that students can afford the financial commitment of enrolment. If you’re sponsoring someone to study in another country, then there’s a chance that you’ll be required to provide a sponsorship letter. The sponsorship letter basically provides details of your financial situation and an undertaking that you will sponsor (or financially support) the student in their further studies.

A sponsorship or invitation for visa purposes must be witnessed

If you’re sponsoring or inviting someone to Australia, you may be required to sign a sponsorship or invitation letter in support of their visa application. In many cases, you’ll be asked to sign that letter in front of a prescribed witness or an authorised witness like a justice of the peace. Depending on the intended destination country, that authorised witness might need to be a notary public. This means your sponsorship or invitation letter must be notarised.

Generally, documents signed in Australia but used in another country must be attested by a notary public. You may even need to have those documents stamped with an apostille or authenticated by the foreign representative office of the intended destination country. The requirements can vary depending on the intended recipient and who you’re dealing with.

Australian government forms for immigration purposes

Sometimes we receive requests for assistance from people who’ve been asked to have Australian government forms notarised. Usually, Australian government forms don’t require notarisation because they’re used in Australia rather than in another country.

In those cases, the requirement to have those forms notarised is usually because their sponsoring employer, visa consultant or migration agent directs them to have their forms attested by a notary. It’s not a requirement of the form or the Australian government.

Some migration agents, visa consultants or sponsoring employers also recommend writing the letter in the form of a statutory declaration witnessed and attested by an authorised witness like a justice of the peace, lawyer or notary public.

Do we prepare the sponsorship or invitation letter?

No, we’re not involved in actually writing or preparing the sponsorship or invitation letter. You should seek advice from your migration agent or visa consultant as to what’s actually required, including the form and format of that letter.

Our primary role is to provide notary public services, which includes verifying your identity and confirming that we witnessed your signature on the letter.

If you intend to write the letter in the form of a statutory declaration or an affidavit, there are many templates available on the internet. However, we usually don’t recommend using just any template. There are specific templates for statutory declarations or affidavits used in Australia. If you’re sending the statutory declaration or affidavit to another country, then you should use the form or format that will be valid in that country.

Apostille or Authentication and Legalisation

Depending on the intended destination country, you may also need to have your letter stamped with an apostille or authenticated and then legalised by the foreign representative office of the intended destination country.

An apostille is a stamp issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) that, when applied to your letter, will mean your letter can be recognised in countries that are members of the Apostille Convention. If the intended destination country is not a member of the Apostille Convention, then instead of the apostille, your letter should be authenticated (also by DFAT) and then legalised by the foreign representative office of that country. Both processes ensure that your letter will be recognised in the intended destination country. This level of formality is not always required, so you should always check with your migration agent or visa consultant before doing anything.

Document Legalisation Process in Australia (including apostille)

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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.

Not sure what you need? Contact us or visit our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

So, what’s next?

Visit our Notary Fees page for a free quote for our notary public services. Otherwise, call us on +61 2 9687 8885 to speak with our friendly team about your requirements.

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.

Ern Phang
Ern Phang
Notary Public

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.

All information on this website is for general purposes only and correct at the time of publication. Only rely on information and advice that is specific to your situation and current at the time you wish to rely on it.
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