Overseas governments sometimes need proof that Australian documents, or the signatures of Australian officials on documents, are genuine before they will accept them. The Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT) is able to certify that a signature, stamp or seal on a document affixed by a Notary Public is genuine by checking it against a specimen held on file, and then affixing the document with an Authentication or Apostille. This is a legal process. DFAT will only affix Authentications or Apostilles once they are satisfied the signature, stamp or seal on a document is not fraudulent. Instances of attempted fraud in the past mean that they need to be cautious about issuing an Authentication or Apostille.
That depends on the country you are dealing with.
- As a general rule, countries that are party to the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents require an Apostille on documents which qualify as Australian public documents. A full list of countries that are party to this convention can be found at the Hague Conference on Private International Law website.
- Documents going to countries that are no party to the Hague Convention mentioned above generally require an Authentication. These countries include China, Vietnam and most of the middle east.
- Please check with the government of the country concerned to find out which stamp you need, and which documents (if any) you need to have Authenticated or Apostillised. This advice can only be provided by the overseas government you are dealing with, or with those countries that have embassies and/or consulates in Australia.
You need to give DFAT a document with an original signature, seal or stamp on it. That means either the original document or a notarised copy. DFAT can stamp any official Australian Government document with an original signature, stamp or seal on it. If the document is not an official Australian Government document (such as legal documents or medical certificates) the document (or a copy of it) must be notarised by an Australian Notary Public (Notaries are senior legal practitioners who authenticate, prepare, attest, witness and certify original and copy legal documents for use overseas) before you bring it to DFAT.
- Translated documents must either be notarised by an Australian Notary Public, or have been translated and signed/stamped by the accredited translating
- All business documents must be notarised or certified by the relevant chamber of commerce/industry or notarised by an Australian Notary Public.
- Marriage Certificates must be issued by the Registrar of Births, Death & Marriages.
- All tertiary education documents must be signed by an Australian Notary Public or signed and stamped by the central Student Administration area of the issuing institution. Please note that some universities will not sign and stamp their documents, in which case the document must be notarised by an Australian Notary Public.
If you need your document bound with a ribbon and seal, the document must be signed on every page by the person whose signature we are authenticating (ie. A bound document must carry the same signature of the same Australian Notary Public or Government Official on every page). Binding costs extra.
Apostille: AUD$60 per single-sided one page document Authentication: AUD$20 per single-sided one page document Binding: AUD$20 per document in addition to the above charge (for double sided one page documents and documents of two or more pages) If you can’t get to an office, check with the DFAT office in your state or territory about how to send the document and how it will be returned to you, as well as what fees are applicable.
An Apostille may be obtained from DFAT state office in Perth. Contact details are provided below: Phone: (08) 9231 4499 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; or Address: 17th Floor, Exchange House, Sherwood Court, Perth
An Authentication may be obtained from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade state or territory offices and Australian Embassies, High Commissions, Consultates and/or Consulate-General’s offices. Please note, Honorary Consuls cannot issue authentications.
The contents of this brochure are based on information supplied from the website of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.