Authentications and Apostilles

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 and Trade (DFAT) are able to certify that a signature, stamp or seal on a document is genuine by checking it against a specimen from the Notary held on file, and then stamping the document with an Authentication or Apostille.

Whether you need an Authentication or Apostille 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 not party to the Hague Convention 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 stamped. 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.

More information is available at http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/authen.html.

Details of the South Australia State Office of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade are at http://www.dfat.gov.au/adelaide/index.html and their office is located at 55 Currie St, Adelaide SA 5000.

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