DFAT’s website: one set of procedures to rule us all

There are few things more annoying in life than when you are trying to get something done in a hurry but first need to spend hours getting your head around multiple sets of conflicting local rules, customs and practices that seem to apply to the same type of application or document, depending on where you live.  It’s also annoying when some of the rules are not written down and you don’t find out you need something to complete your application until you turn up to apply.

In Australia, we’re lucky that neither of these problems arises when it comes to the notarisation of documents by a Notary Public or requests to the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT) for the legalisation of notarised documents through the process of authentication or apostille.


DFAT has a centralised website that helpfully summarises its rules and practices when it comes to authentications and apostilles.  These rules and practices apply nationally – they don’t vary from DFAT office to DFAT office or from State to State, making them easy to follow anywhere in Australia.  If you are overseas and need documents legalised at an Australian Embassy, High Commission or other mission outside of Australia, see here.

The DFAT site also contains a wealth of useful information about Notaries Public – and when you should seek their help. It provides lots of plain English guidance on DFAT’s exact role in legalising notarised documents.

So, before you set off to DFAT’s office with a bundle of notarised documents, it’s well worth taking a few minutes to read up on DFAT’s procedures.  Of course, if you still have any questions about the rules or process, you should also feel free to speak with your friendly Notary Public.

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