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Dealing with Foreign Embassies / Consulates in Australia

If a document is to be legalised for use overseas, it will usually be witnessed and certified by an Australian public notary who verifies the originality of a document or the signature of a signatory. After notarisation, the document will need to be authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in Australia. After these two steps are conducted, the authenticated document will be sent to the relevant embassy/consulate.

When documents are to be legalised for use overseas, it can be requested that the documents receive an official stamp from the relevant embassy/consulate within Australia. Depending on which country you require documents to be legalised, the procedure can differ. Due to the powers and unique nature of the embassies/consulates, they really can set the agenda for what they require and how the applications are completed, what supporting documentation is required and even how payment is made.

For some embassies/consulates all you need to send through is the authenticated document, a covering letter, a self-addressed return envelope and payment. Some embassies/consulates require a little more supporting documents, such as a scanned copy of the applicant’s passport, a consent form (Qatar), proof of academic verification (Saudi Arabia) or even an original handwritten application form (China).

There are some embassies/consulates that only require authenticated documents (and associated supporting documents) to be posted to the embassy/consulate within Australia, such as those for the UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. This contrasts to the Chinese Consulate, who require the applicant (or their agent) to physically attend the Consulate to have documents legalised.

Payment is another example of differences between the embassies/consulates. Some of the methods by which embassies/consulates request payment include electronic funds transfer (Qatar), credit card (UAE), company cheque (Kuwait and Saudi Arabia), money order (Indonesia, Thailand and The Philippines), cash (Lebanon) and even US dollars (El Salvador).

Prior to going straight to the embassy/consulate for which you require documents legalised, it is advisable to go online or call the embassy/consulate in order to find out the exact procedure and fees applicable for your documents in order to save time and money in the long run. However, if you do require assistance navigating the sometimes cumbersome task of legalisation, please contact us at notary@bannermans.com.au.