Services we provide

Within Australia, most notarial services (including witnessing and certifying of documents) are provided by Australian Notaries Public.

However, within Australia, as part of DFAT's role as the local authority for a number of international conventions or arrangements, we provide the following services:

  • issuing of Certificates of no Impediment to Marriage (CNI) (including witnessing the signature on the application form)
  • legalisation of signatures and/or seals that appear on Australian public documents (apostilles and authentications)

We cannot certify copies of documents or witness signatures. If you require these services, and your documents are intended for use overseas, you should contact an Australian notary public and arrange for them to witness the signature, or certify a copy of your document.

How can I get an authentication, apostille or Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage (CNI)?

What are authentications and apostilles?

Foreign governments sometimes need proof the signatures of Australian officials on documents are genuine before they can be accepted. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) will certify that a signature, stamp or seal on an official Australian public document is genuine by checking it against a specimen held on file, and provide a certificate or stamp in the form of an 'authentication' or an 'apostille' stating certain facts. The authentication or apostille is then signed by DFAT staff and sealed with a wet and a dry seal.

This is a legal process. DFAT will only issue an authentication or apostille once satisfied that the signature, stamp or seal on the document is not fraudulent.

Which certification do I need - authentication or an apostille?

That depends on the foreign government you are dealing with. Advice can be provided by the country's embassy and/or consulate in Australia. You may also be referred to the organisation requesting the document. DFAT staff cannot advise clients of foreign requirements. We can provide the following general information.

Apostille

As a general rule, countries that are party to the 1961 Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents require an apostille on documents that qualify as Australian public documents. These countries include Italy, Croatia, Greece, the Netherlands, Israel, South Korea and many others. A full list of countries that are party to this convention can be found at the Hague Conference on Private International Law website.

Some countries will accept an apostille for certain types of documents, and many require an original government document to have been issued within 3 months of the apostille being affixed. This is especially the case in relation to birth and marriage certificates issued by the State Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM). You must check the foreign requirements. Often, it is the original BDM certificate that requires an apostille, not a translation or copy of it.

From 1 July 2015, most Australian missions overseas are permitted to issue an Australian apostille on original public documents.

Online verification is available for apostilles issued by Australia on or after 14 December 2015. To verify an apostille online, visit the verify an apostille page.

Authentication

Documents going to countries that are not party to the Hague Convention generally require an authentication. These countries include China, the UAE, Iraq, and many others. Some countries impose restrictions on how an authentication is affixed. For example, you may not be allowed to have an Australian notary public certify your foreign document as a true copy for the purposes of having an authentication affixed. It may be required to be signed by their Embassy in Australia after DFAT has stamped it and their Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the capital city. The requirements vary from country to country.

Can I get both certifications?

There may be occasions when you wish to use the same document in multiple countries, some of which may be signatories to the Hague Convention and others which are not. To ensure that your document is acceptable to the receiving country, it would be in your best interests to have two original documents legalised - one with an authentication and the other with an apostille.

What documents can be legalised with an apostille or authentication?

We accept original public documents issued by Australian government departments with an official signature or seal. All Australian public documents must have an official signature or seal in order to be certified with an authentication or apostille. Some government issued documents do not have signatures or seals on them. In this case, the document is usually not eligible for legalisation.

Laminated or damaged documents will be refused. Replacements will need to be obtained from the issuing authority.

If the Australian document is not government issued (such as a power of attorney or an article of association for a company) it must be certified and/or witnessed by an Australian notary public. For more information, please see the What is a Notary Public? section.

Education documents presented to DFAT for an authentication or apostille must have been issued by an Australian accredited education authority. See the Australian Qualifications Framework website for more information on who can issue education documents in Australia. If your education document was issued by an institution in a foreign country, it will need to be authenticated or apostilled by that country, not by DFAT.

If you intend to present a photocopy of your original document, it must first be certified and signed by an Australian notary public. A document certified by an Australian consular or diplomatic officer while it was outside of Australia can only be issued with an authentication not an apostille. Before paying for a certified copy to be legalised, first make sure the foreign authority will allow copies to be presented. Normally, documents accompanying foreign citizenship or visa applications must be original copies. For example, applying for dual citizenship for your children born to your Italian spouse, you will require a copy of the marriage certificate and birth certificates (all originals) issued by the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages (in addition to other documents).

Please note, the authentication or apostille certificate will be issued on the original government document or notarised copy that you lodge with DFAT, we do not make copies for the purpose of issuing an authentication or apostille.

Please read the following guide to help you prepare your Australian documents prior to lodging them with us. Getting your documents ready in the correct form will prevent delays in servicing your document.

What do I need to do to have my document legalised?

Type of document What you should do before lodgement
Government documents
An original Australian Government document (such as a certificate from the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Australian court document, police issued fingerprints or AFP/State police check) You can submit the document to us without further requirements. Note: We cannot accept commemorative certificates, such as the 'Certificate of Marriage' bearing the signature of the bride and groom.
A photocopy of an Australian government document (including a copy of an Australian passport) Your document must be certified, signed and sealed by an Australian notary public
Private documents
An Australian private document (including company documents, wills and powers of attorney) Your document must be certified, signed and sealed by an Australian notary public
Commercial documents
An Australian commercial document with a signature or seal from ASIC, the ATO, the TGA or trademarks office. Note - Some commercial documents issued by Australian government agencies such as ASIC or the ATO only use computer generated signatures or seals. You can submit the document to us without further requirements if it contains a signature or seal (whether ink or electronic). Electronic documents or printouts from online ASIC registers with no signature or seal can only be authenticated (not apostilled)
A business chamber or chamber of commerce and industry document These can only be authenticated. If you require an apostille, your document must be certified, signed and sealed by an Australian notary public
Education documents
An original Australian public university document/degree Your degree or award must be verified and signed as a 'true and accurate record' by the central student administration office of the issuing institution, unless that institution has a public online verification register. For other documents most universities have an existing arrangement with DFAT to have certain staff provide a verification of content. When you contact your university's student administration centre to arrange this, let them know that your document needs to be signed for DFAT. See below for list of universities with online verification or contacts for central student administration offices.
An Australian state technical college (CIT, TAFE etc), or tertiary institution qualification or document Your document must be signed by an authorised officer of the state/territory Department of Education or relevant accrediting authority. Most education departments have an existing arrangement with DFAT to have certain staff provide this service. Copies can be certified by an Australian notary public.
An Australian secondary school qualification (such as HSC, VCE etc) or document Your document must be verified and signed by an authorised officer of the relevant issuing organisation (eg. the NSW Board of Studies, the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority, etc) or an Australian notary public.
An Australian public primary school document Your document must be signed by an authorised officer of the state/territory Department of Education. Most education departments have an existing arrangement with DFAT to have certain staff provide this service. When you contact the education department to arrange this, let them know that your document needs to be signed for DFAT.
An Australian private college/school document Documents from Australian accredited private schools and colleges will need to be certified and sealed by an Australian notary public
Foreign language documents
Translations Your translation must be completed, certified and signed by a translator accredited through the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters Ltd (NAATI). The translator must sign both a copy of the original document, and the translated document and certify that it is a "true and accurate translation of the text provided on the attached"
Documents prepared by an Australian notary public in a foreign language You can submit the document to us without further requirements.

Australian university contacts for verifying content as a 'true and accurate record'.

University Method of verification
Australian National University (ANU) Online verification available for some awards. If your award is not listed contact enrolments@anu.edu.au to discuss options.
Central Queensland University Email verification available through the Student Business Centre. You may need to provide a signed consent form to DFAT or your notary public (if using a certified copy)
Curtin University Online verification available for some awards
Deakin University Online verification available for some awards
Edith Cowan University Online verification available for some awards
Griffith University Online verification available for some awards
La Trobe University Email the Student Centre to discuss options
Macquarie University Online verification available for some awards
Monash University Online verification available for some awards
Murdoch University Online verification available for some awards
Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Online verification available for some awards
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) Online verification available for some awards
Swinburne University of Technology Online verification available for some awards
The University of Queensland Online verification available for some awards
University of Melbourne Online verification available for some awards
University of New South Wales (UNSW) Email the Student Central or the Transcripts area to discuss options
University of Newcastle You will need to request and complete an authorisation form from the University of Newcastle for them to verify the academic record.
University of South Australia Online verification available for some awards
University of Sydney Email the Academic Records Section to discuss options
University of Tasmania Online verification available for some awards
University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) Online verification available for some awards
University of Western Australia Online verification available for some awards
University of Wollongong Online verification available for some awards
Western Sydney University Online verification available for some awards

What is a notary public?

A notary public is not the same as a Justice of the Peace (JP).

Notaries public are senior legal practitioners who prepare, attest, witness and certify original and copied legal documents for use overseas. DFAT officers are not notaries public. A list of notaries public can be found on Supreme Court or Law Society listings for each State or Territory. You can also search in telephone directories using the search 'Notary Public' and your post code. Alternatively use the Society of Notaries responsible for your state/territory as listed below:

Many professionals in Australia can witness signatures and certify copies of documents. For the purpose of legalising your document for use overseas, (ie through an authentication or apostille), DFAT cannot accept documents signed by these professionals. Only documents signed by Australian notaries public or Australian consular or diplomatic officers overseas can be accepted.

Generally, Justices of the Peace (JP) cannot sign documents for DFAT legalisation purposes. The exception is documents from Western Australia signed by JPs who perform the function in relation to their role within a local court. We also cannot accept documents signed by foreign notaries public.

When presenting multiple page documents for authentication or apostille, please ensure every page has been signed in full or the pages have been legally bound by an Australian notary public.

Note: Services provided by notary public will incur a fee.

What if my document is not Australian in origin?

Legalisations are available at foreign embassies and consulates in Australia. If you have a foreign document requiring authentication or apostille, you should contact the embassy or consulate of the country that issued the document to arrange it. Depending on the services provided by the issuing country's embassy or consulate, this may entail sending your documents back to the country of origin.

I want to get married overseas - can DFAT help?

Neither DFAT nor its missions overseas can advise on other countries' specific requirements for Australians to get married overseas. For details of marriage requirements you should contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country in which you would like to marry for their advice.

If you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident wishing to marry overseas, the foreign government may request that you have a Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage (CNI) issued. DFAT in Australia can issue a CNI, however many foreign governments will only accept CNIs issued by the Australian mission (embassy or consulate) within their country. If you are getting married overseas you will need to confirm with the foreign government:

  • Whether or not the CNI is required;
  • Where it should be issued (ie in Australia or through an Australian mission overseas);
  • If it needs any additional legalisation (authentication or apostille) and
  • If you require a 'Single Status Certificate' or 'No Record Result' (please note, these are not issued by DFAT, they are issued by the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in your state or territory).

If you confirm that the foreign government will accept a Certificate of No Impediment issued from within Australia, please download and complete the application form and provide a certified copy of your Australian passport and similar identity documents for your partner. We also require proof of dissolution of any previous marriages (such as a divorce or death certificate).

Please note that DFAT does not issue 'Single Status Certificates or 'No Record Results'. These are issued by the State Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages. DFAT can authenticate or apostille an original document issued by the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages by confirming the signature of the registrar or seal appearing on the document is genuine.

How can I get an authentication, apostille or CNI?

Download and complete the document legalisation request form.

Mail your document(s), document legalisation request form and a self-addressed return envelope to us at the postal address on form. If you are applying for a CNI you will also need to send the CNI application form and supporting documents with the document service request form above.

We recommend that you send your document via registered post, include a self-addressed registered post envelope for its safe return and keep a copy of both tracking numbers. DFAT cannot take responsibility for documents lost in the mail.

You may otherwise lodge your document over the counter with the Australian Passport Office in your capital city. You can also arrange for someone else to attend on your behalf. We do not take appointments.

Within Australia documents can be presented over the counter from 8.30am until 1pm Monday to Friday.

Where to lodge your documents in person

City Address
Adelaide Level 5
55 Currie St Adelaide
Brisbane Level 17
150 Charlotte St
Brisbane
Canberra Passport Office R G Casey Building
Sydney Avenue
Barton ACT
Darwin Level 5
Northern Territory House
22 Mitchell Street
Darwin
Hobart Level 1
111 Macquarie Street
Hobart
Melbourne Passport Office Level 2
Collins Square
747 Collins Street
Docklands
Perth Level 17
Exchange Tower
Sherwood Court
Perth
Sydney Passport Office Level 7
26 Lee St (near Central station)
Sydney

Lodging your form via mail

Melbourne

Australian Passport Office Authentications Section
GPO Box 2239
MELBOURNE VIC 3001

Sydney

Australian Passport Office Authentications Section
GPO Box 2239
SYDNEY NSW 2001

How much does it cost?

Apostille

$60 - Single page document

$80 - Multiple page document requiring binding

Authentication

$20 - Single page document

$40 - Multiple page document requiring binding

Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage

$90

A full listing of fees is available in the Consular Fees Regulations 1990.

How long does it take?

In some cases, single paged documents can be processed on the same day of lodgment if the signature being presented for verification already exists on our database. Where multiple (more than 5 documents) or complex documents are presented there will be delays in processing, but usually they will be available for collection or mailed to you the next business day.

There can be delays experienced at the end of the school year and during peak holiday periods as the demand on our service increases during these times.

There may also be a delay if there is any question about the authenticity of the document.

Authenticating fingerprint checks or police records

If applying for an overseas police clearance you may be asked to have a fingerprint check authenticated by DFAT. Please note that this process may take extra processing time where we need to verify the police officer's signature.

DFAT cannot request National Police Clearance Certificates or other documents on behalf of clients. Only the individual may obtain this information directly from the relevant state, territory or federal police force.

You may wish to enquire with the Australian Federal Police about obtaining a National Police Clearance Certificate.

Further enquiries

Email: authentications@dfat.gov.au
Telephone: 1300 935 260