Notarial services (legalising documents) overseas
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) provides notarial services overseas. We deliver these services through our embassies and consulates.
Explore this page for information about our notarial services overseas. These include:
- Certificates of No Impediment to Marriage (CNI)
- certifying photos and true copies of documents
- witnessing signatures
- Certification of Identity
- legalising documents
- how to request our notarial services overseas
Before you request our notarial services, ask the receiving authority what they need from you. In many cases, you won't need our services.
This page is for Australians who need notarial services overseas. If you or your documents are in Australia, see notarial services in Australia.
Certificates of No Impediment to marriage (CNI)
We can issue Certificates of No Impediment to Marriage (CNI) overseas.
We can't tell you if you need a CNI to get married. You must ask the receiving authority. In many cases, you won't need it.
However the receiving authority may ask you for other documents from Australia. This includes Single Status Certificates, No Record Result Certificates and Divorce Certificates. You can get these from a registry of births, deaths and marriages in Australia.
See our information about Certificates of No Impediment to Marriage (CNI).
Certifying photographs and copies of original documents
We can certify photographs and true copies of documents overseas.
We can't tell you if you need a photograph or true copy certified, or if DFAT must do it. Ask the receiving authority if you need it certified and who can do it for you.
In many cases, you can find a local authorised person to do it for you.
If you still need DFAT to do it, see how to request our notarial services.
True copies of documents
We can photocopy your original document, and certify it is a true copy.
- Documents must be Australian, or for use in Australia.
- We apply the following certification on it: "This is a true copy of the document presented to me". This is DFAT approved wording. We won't alter it.
- We don't certify or endorse the contents in your document. We only certify the copy is identical.
We can certify that your photograph is of you.
- The photograph must be for use in Australia. If it's for local use, you may need to find a local authority to certify it.
- When the consular official confirms you are the person in the picture and sights your valid photo identification, they'll certify it.
- We will state that the photograph is "a true likeness of [your name]". This is DFAT approved wording. We won't alter it.
We can witness signatures on many official Australian documents, for use in Australia.
Be aware that you may not need DFAT to witness your signature. In many cases, you can find someone else locally to witness it for you. Ask the receiving authority in Australia who else can witness it for you.
Documents we can witness
- Property transfers. Only for buying or selling property in Australia.
- Australian statutory declarations. Only for use in Australia. Learn more about statutory declarations (Attorney-General's Department)
- DFAT forms. This includes the Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage application form.
- Notices of intended marriage. Learn more about Australian marriage forms (Attorney-General's Department)
- Most federal government forms.
- Some state government forms and private sector forms. Ask the form's issuing authority if they accept consular officials as authorised witnesses.
We don't witness signatures on overseas documents. Ask local authorities who can witness for you. Or get legal advice.
A consular official can also administer the oath or affirmation on an Australian affidavit.
- Your lawyer must provide clear instructions as to what they need in and on the affidavit. We can't provide legal information or advice.
- Before you bring an affidavit to us, contact your lawyer. Get their advice and specific instructions.
- If an affidavit contains attachments or is multiple pages, we will bind the pages together. Some receiving authorities don't accept bound documents. Ask the receiving document if they'll accept it.
Learn more about affidavits (Family Court of Australia).
Preparing for your appointment
- Before you request our services, always ask the receiving authority who else can witness it for you. You may not need DFAT.
- Ask the receiving authority in Australia if they also need a DFAT Identify Certificate.
- Bring your passport to your appointment. We must confirm your identity before we can witness your signature.
DFAT Identity Certificates
We can verify your identity using a DFAT Identity Certificate.
We can't tell you if you need one. You must ask the receiving authority.
Be aware that we only verify identities using the DFAT Identity Certificate. We can't use, complete or sign any other organisation's document to verify your identity.
Legalising documents overseas
DFAT can legalise most original Australian public documents overseas. We deliver this service through our embassies and consulates.
We also legalise documents in Australia. You can mail your documents and application form to DFAT in Australia. See our page on documents in Australia.
Which documents do I need legalised?
We can't tell you what documents you must get legalised. You must ask the overseas authority who asked you for the document.
Be aware that many overseas authorities don't ask for legalised documents. They may accept your originals as-is. You may not need our services.
Before submitting your documents to us for legalisation, contact the receiving authority. Ask what they need. Or, ask an official from their embassy or consulate in Australia.
What is document legalisation?
Legalisation is the process where we verify the signature, seal or stamp on a document. We compare it to what we have on record.
Once we confirm the match, we attach an apostille or authentication certificate to it. Ask the receiving authority what they need.
The apostille or authentication certificate verifies the signature and/or seal on the document. You can then present it to the authority overseas who asked you for it.
Documents we can legalise overseas
We can legalise many types of documents for use overseas. Documents must be Australian public documents. This means:
- originals issued by an Australian government agency or official
- originals issued by an Australian educational institution
- copies notarised by an Australian Notary Public
See more about different types of public documents we legalise.
Prepare your documents for legalisation overseas
Follow these steps before you request our documents legalisation services.
- Ask the overseas authority which documents they need. Ask them which ones you must also get legalised. We can't tell you what they may want.
- Find out if you'll need either an apostille or an authentication for your documents.
- Confirm the documents are eligible for legalising by DFAT. If in doubt, contact us first.
- If your documents aren't eligible as-is, you may need to get them notarised first. Find a Notary Public in Australia. Send your document to them. Once notarised, we can legalise it.
- Gather your documents. Check if there's any special requirements for your type of document.
You may have additional steps to take to prepare some documents for legalisation. Learn more about preparing your documents for legalisation.
How to request notarial services overseas
To request any of our notarial services overseas, contact your nearest Australian embassy or consulate. Their website may provide more information about their services.
- Some embassies and consulates can only provide limited services. Ask what notarial services they can provide.
- Many have limited times when they can provide notarial services. Check their opening hours.
- You may need to make an appointment. Call or check their website first to find out.
Be aware that consulates operated by an Honorary Consul don't provide notarial services.
If your nearest embassy or consulate can't legalise your documents, you can post them for processing in Australia. See documents in Australia.
Fees and charges for notarial services overseas
Fee schedule from 1 January 2020. All fees are in Australian dollars.
- Administering an oath or receiving a declaration or affirmation: $73
- Witnessing a signature or seal on a form or declaration: $73
- Preparing a declaration or other document: $73
- Verifying and certifying a copy of a document or part of a document: $73
- Signing a document, or affixing a seal to a document or other article: $73
- Preparation and issue of an Apostille certificate: $84
- Preparation and issue of an Authentication certificate: $84
- Preparation and issue of a Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage: $148
Fees for notarial services increase on 1 January every year. Fees paid for notarial services are non-refundable.
Payment options will vary depending on local banking facilities in the country. Please contact the mission directly if you have any further questions.
- Learn more about preparing your documents for legalisation.
- Read about our notarial services in Australia.
- Apply for a Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage (CNI).
- How to verify an apostille on a document.
- Find your nearest Australian embassy or consulate.
Need to verify an Apostille?
Use our online portal
Foreign authorities may request a document to be issued with an Apostille or an Authentication certificate before they will accept it. This is called ‘legalisation’.
Explore this page for information about how to find out if you need your document legalised and which documents we can legalise in Australia.