Some foreign authorities may request a document to be issued with an Apostille or an Authentication certificate before it will be accepted by that foreign country. This is referred to as ‘legalisation’.
Legalisation verifies that the signature, stamp or seal on it is genuine. We can legalise Australian documents for use overseas.
Explore this page to learn:
- if you need a document legalised
- about legalisation
- which documents we can legalise
- translations and electronic documents
- how to submit your documents for legalisation
Before submitting your documents to us for legalisation, contact the receiving authority. Ask what they need, and for a list of people who can legalise the documents.
Do I need my document legalised?
You must ask the receiving authority what documents they want, and which ones you must get legalised.
We can't tell you what an authority in another country wants, needs or expects. You must ask them directly. Be aware that many overseas authorities don't ask for legalised documents. They may accept your originals or copies as-is.
Some common examples of when authorities ask for legalised documents are below.
- If you're going overseas to study or work, the receiving authority may ask for a range of Australian documents. This could include your degree, transcript and other identity documents. Some you'll just need notarised, others you'll need legalised.
- Employers often ask for legalised education documents. Academic fraud is a common issue worldwide. Legalising documents is part of wider process to verify people's credentials.
- If you're going overseas to get married, the overseas authority may ask for Australian documents. They may want proof that you're free to marry. This could include a Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage (CNI), divorce certificate or other evidence.
- If your child is travelling without both parents, the overseas authorities may ask for documents. You may need to present court or other documents to prove your child can travel. This helps prevent international parental child abduction (Attorney-General's Department).
You must ask the receiving authority overseas what they expect of you. Or, ask an official from their embassy or consulate in Australia.
What is document legalisation?
Document legalisation is the process to verify a signature, stamp or seal on a document. Once legalised, a person can use it in another country.
- Some authorities may not recognise or accept a foreign document until it's legalised.
- The government in each country can only legalise documents issued in their country.
- Once verified, officials issue an apostille or authentication certificate on the original document.
In some cases, documents must be notarised before you can submit them for us to legalise.
Who can legalise documents for use overseas?
The Department of Foreign affairs and Trade (DFAT) is the Australian legalisation authority. No other authority in Australia can 'legalise' documents. However, others can 'notarise' them.
We deliver our legislation services in Australia and overseas.
Who can notarise documents for use overseas?
Australian Notary Publics can 'notarise' documents for use overseas. This is different from legalising.
Many receiving authorities are satisfied with a notarised document. They may not ask you to take the extra step to get it legalised.
We can't tell you what an overseas authority wants. Always ask them to specify what they need.
Authentication and apostilles
The Australian government legalises documents by issuing either an apostille or authentication certificate.
We apply either an apostille or authentication certificate to the original document you supply.
The apostille or authentication certificate verifies the signature, stamp or seal on the original document, or that of the Notary Public for documents they've notarised.
We can't advise which one you need. You must ask the receiving authority overseas what they want. Or, ask an official from their embassy or consulate in Australia.
Documents we can legalise
We can legalise many types of documents for use overseas. Documents must be Australian public documents. This means documents that are:
- originals issued by an Australian government agency or official
- originals issued by an Australian educational institution
- copies notarised by an Australian Notary Public
We can legalise private documents, once they are notarised by an Australian Notary Public. If a document is notarised, it becomes a 'public document'.
Australian Government documents
We can legalise many original Australian Government documents.
This includes most documents issued by Australian births, deaths and marriage registries. It also includes documents issued by courts, police and government departments.
We can legalise Australian:
- birth certificates, including ceremonial certificates and extracts
- marriage certificates (excluding ceremonial certificates)
- death certificates
- Single Status or Record of No Result certificates
- court documents, including Divorce Certificates
- Police Criminal Record Checks or Fingerprint Reports
- Australian citizenship certificate or International Movement Record (Department of Home Affairs)
- Australian government commercial documents (e.g. ASIC, ATO or TGA documents)
- other Australian government issued documents
We only accept original documents, or copies of documents notarised by an Australian Notary Public.
Australian university documents
We can legalise most official university documents from Australian institutions. This includes documents from public and private universities.
We can legalise Australian degrees, awards, transcripts, certificates, letters and other official tertiary documents. We can legalise your original document, or a copy notarised by an Australian Notary Public.
We don't accept any foreign education documents. Even if notarised by an Australian Notary Public.
Original university documents
You can submit original university documents for us to legalise, once verified by the university.
- You need to contact your university to verify your original degree as a 'true and accurate record'. This could be available via an online portal.
- We apply the apostille or authentication directly to the document you submit.
- If you don't want a mark on your original degree or transcript, supply us with a copy notarised by an Australian Notary Public.
Notarised copies of university documents
If you plan to submit a copy of your Australia tertiary education document, the copy must meet specific requirements.
- We can accept copies notarised by an Australian Notary public. Ask the Notary about the process.
- Copies notarised by a Notary Public also need to be verified by the university. The Notary will coordinate this.
- There's specific wording the Australian Notary Public must use when they notarise your copy. They must state that 'the original record has been verified with the issuing institution'. A statement by a Notary Public that the document is a ‘true copy’ does not satisfy this verification.
Australian TAFE documents
We can legalise official documents from Australian Public Colleges of Technical and Further Education (TAFE).
Original Australian TAFE documents
We can legalise original TAFE documents.
If you don't want us to mark your original document, supply us with a notarised copy.
Notarised copies of Australian TAFE documents
We can legalise notarised copies of TAFE documents.
An Australian Notary Public must notarise your copy. We won't accept certified true copies from justices of the peace or other authorised witnesses.
The apostille or authentication certificate we issue verifies the signature/seal/stamp of the Australian Notary Public.
Australian private school and college documents
We can legalise education documents from Australian private schools and colleges, once notarised. This includes registered training organisations (RTOs) (Australians Skills Quality Authority).
- Before submitting to us for legalisation, you must take them to an Australian Notary Public.
- The Notary Public can notarise them, applying their signature/stamp/seal.
- Once notarised, submit your document to us for legalisation in Australia or overseas.
- We issue the apostille or authentication certificate on the document you supply.
- Our apostille or authentication verifies the signature/seal/stamp of the Australian Notary Public, not that of the issuing body.
In some Australian states and territories, the Department of Education may also verify, and apply their departmental seal, to original education documents issued by private schools and colleges.
In these circumstances, we can issue an apostille or authentication certificate which verifies the signature/seal/stamp of the authorised officer from the relevant state or territory education body.
Australian primary and secondary school documents
We can legalise some original primary and secondary school documents. You must either get the document:
- verified and signed by an authorised officer from the relevant state or territory government education body, or
- notarised by an Australian Notary Public
The Apostille or Authentication certificate we issue verifies the signature/seal/stamp of the authorised officer or Notary Public.
We cannot legalise documents only signed by the school administration.
Other Australian documents
We can legalise many documents notarised by a Notary Public in Australia. These may include:
- private documents (e.g. Power of Attorney, wills, bank statements, company documents)
- documents issued by an authorised Australian chamber of commerce and industry
- documents in a foreign language, if prepared by an Notary Public in Australia
We only accept other Australian documents once notarised in Australia. If you need any other kind of documents legalised, first find a Notary Public in Australia.
Translations and electronic copies of Australian documents
Translating your document
We can legalise some translated documents. The translation you submit for legalisation must include:
- the translator's name and signature
- the official National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) stamp, including their practitioner ID
- a short statement in English confirming it's a ‘true and accurate translation of the original’
- the date of translation
You must also submit a copy of the original document, signed by the translator.
Electronic copies of official Australia documents
We accept some official Australian public documents electronically.
- We only accept documents originally issued electronically. This includes some court issued documents, such as divorce certificates.
- Before submitting an electronic document, contact us on 1300 935 260. A DFAT official will confirm if it's eligible and advise where to email it.
- If your original document is electronic, you must submit it in its original electronic form. Don't submit a printed copy. Even if signed by a justice of the peace. We can't accept it.
- Submit it by email, to the address the DFAT official provided.
- A DFAT official will print it, and issue an authentication or apostille certificate on our printed copy. We can only legalise copies of electronic documents that we've printed ourselves.
For more information about submitting electronic documents, contact us. Overseas, contact the nearest Australian embassy or consulate. In Australia, call 1300 935 260.
How to submit a document for legalisation
The process to submit your documents for legalisation depends on their location.
- We deliver our services in Australia by mail, and through Australian Passport Offices. See documents in Australia.
- Overseas, we deliver legalisation services through our embassies and consulates. See documents overseas.
- Read how to submit documents in Australia or overseas
- Read general advice about getting married overseas. See how to get a Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage (CNI),
- See our general advice on travelling with children.
- See more about going overseas to study, live or work.
- Find out what documents you need, and which ones you must get legalised. Ask an official from their embassy or consulate in Australia.
- For many documents, contact your nearest registry of births, deaths and marriages.
- Find a NAATI Certified Translator or a Recognised Practising Translator.
- Read about international parental child abduction (Attorney-General's Department).