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Legalisation Authentication & Apostille

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Legalisation, Authentications & Apostille

Justin Betar is able to guide you through the many and often complex requirements of legalisation authentication and apostille.  Getting your document overseas to its destination in the least expensive and fastest possible way is Justin's approach.

Below is some of the things to consider when you need to get your document overseas.

Embassies & Consulates

Most foreign countries require notarised documents to be countersigned or sealed by their Embassies or Consulates in Australia. Some countries require the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to certify the signature & seal of a Notary. Individuals requiring documents to be notarised should make their own enquiries with the appropriate Embassy or Consulate to ascertain their particular requirements.

Legalisation & Authentication

Documents notarised by a Notary in Australia for use abroad must be "legalised" or "authenticated", before becoming valid in a foreign country. "Legalisation" is the process by which the signature & seal of a Notary is authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT) before a notarised document is made available overseas for its designated purpose. The need for the authentication process is to establish a chain of authentication with respect to the signature & seal on the notarised document. That is, in authenticating a notarised document, DFAT verifies that the signature & seal which appears on the document is the true signature & seal of who it purports to be.

DFAT always adds to its certification: "In so certifying, neither I, nor the Department, endorse, or make any statement as to the accuracy of the contents of this document".


The Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade, where applicable, places an "Apostille" stamp on notarised documents originating in Australia for use in most foreign countries.

It does so because it is a signatory to "The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirements of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents", which commenced operation in Australia in 1995.

Not all countries are signatories to his Convention & those that are not still insist that notarised documents be "legalised" or "authenticated". Italy, Greece, The Netherlands, Russia & the UK are among the signatories to the Hague Convention; China, Vietnam & most Middle Eastern countries are among those that are not.

The Apostille, signed by an officer of DFAT, confirms that the notarised document "has been signed by the named person acting in the capacity of a Notary, & bears the seal of the named Notary".

An Apostille stamp replaces the need for the "chain of authentication" process. Fees are payable to DFAT & Consulates for Authentications & Apostilles. Individuals should make their own enquiries with the relevant Embassy or Consulate to ascertain the formal requirements of the country where a notarised document is to be used. It is not the responsibility of a Notary to advise on the official requirements or processes of the Australian Government or the government of the country where the notarised document is destined for use.

Attending on a Notary?

When the services of a Notary are required, it is customary to make an appointment with the Notary at his/her office during business hours. Some Notaries are prepared to attend at your home or office, but only in exceptional circumstance. A specific request & additional fees are payable for this special service.

On attending your appointment, if you are not personally known to the Notary, you must bring with you a formal identity document, such as a current Passport or Driver's Licence, displaying a recent photograph of yourself, to enable the Notary to identify you. A Notary must be satisfied that you fully comprehend the document to be witnessed or authenticated, particularly a document written in a foreign language.

A Notary does not usually provide legal advice on a document presented for notarial services. If you require legal advice, this is a separate function & should be undertaken beforehand. A Notary must be certain that you comprehend the nature & contents of the document which is to be witnessed or authenticated.

A Notary must also be certain that you understand its effect when sent abroad. A Notary may insist that a document be translated into English, if it is not properly understood. A Notary may require the presence of a qualified interpreter, if there is a language or communication problem.

Notary Fees

All Notary Publics charge professional fees for their services. In NSW Notarial fees are determined by a recommended fee scheduled. Some charges are on a time basis & therefore the cost will depend on the time spent performing the notarial service.

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