In Australia but have documents for use overseas?
A ‘Notary Public’, ‘Public Notary’ or ‘Notary’ is a senior legal practitioner who prepares, attests, witnesses and certifies original and copied legal documents for use overseas. Many professionals in Australia can witness signatures and certify copies of documents for use in Australia. However, only a Notary Public can witness signatures on documents for use outside Australia.
After being appointed a Notary Public obtains their own official ‘seal’ or ‘stamp’ which is registered with their signature and stored in a database held by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). The ‘seal’ or ‘stamp’ is placed alongside or underneath the Notary Public’s signature on the document being notarised.
The services of a Notary Public may be required for commercial transactions, such as trade documents, letters of credit, or contracts between foreign businesses, or they can be for personal transactions, such as certification of passports, academic transcripts, citizenship certificates, overseas police checks and probate documents.
The process of notarisation of documents includes:
- A Notarial Certificate: The notarisation of documents includes attaching a ‘notarial certificate’. A notarial certificate is a record of the Notary Public’s intervention and evidences the authentication by the Notary Public of the document to which it relates. There is no such thing as a standard ‘one-size fits all’ notarial certificate.
- An ‘apostille’ or ‘authentication’: In addition to the notarial certificate an ‘apostille’ or ‘authentication’ will be required depending on the country in which the document is to be used. An ‘apostille’ is required for countries which are a signatory to the 1961 Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents (the ‘Hague Apostille Convention’) whereas ‘authentication’ is required for countries which are not signatories of the Hague Apostille Convention. An apostille involves sending the documents and notarial certificate to DFAT to have the Notary Public’s seal and signature checks against their records and then sending the documents to the recipient country. Authentication involves sending the documents to DFAT and then the additional step of sending the documents to the recipient county’s consulate or embassy before sending the documents to the recipient country.
- Verification of Identity: Notaries must also confirm the identity of a signatory and therefore will require production of identity documents such as a current passport or driver’s licence or birth certificate at the time of attending an appointment. If a signatory is acting in an official capacity (such as a director of a registered company), the Notary Public must also be satisfied that the person has capacity to act in that manner. In such cases, the signatory may need to provide a power of attorney as well as personal identity documents.
- Translation: Documents that are not in English may need to be translated before they can be administered by a Notary Public.**
If you need any assistance, contact Salvatore E. Iamarino, Notary Public, at Seventh Street Legal, 158 Seventh Street, Mildura, Victoria, or call 03 5021 4276. Mr Iamarino is a member of The Society of Notaries of Victoria Inc. and adopts the society’s recommended scale of fees, for a copy of these fees please see https://www.notaryservices.com.au/fees.html