Authentications and Apostilles
Overseas governments sometimes need proof that Australian documents are genuine before they will accept them. Please confirm requirements with the Embassy or Consulate of the country you are submitting the documents to. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will certify that official signatures, stamps or seals on a document are genuine by checking them against a specimen held on file, and stamping the document with an Authentication or Apostille.
In most cases, documents can be processed in 24 hours (available the next working day). There may be a delay if we do not have a specimen signature on file of the person who has signed your document (this means we will need to verify their signature), or at peak times (such as during university graduation periods).
What is an Authentication or Apostille?
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) will certify that a signature, stamp or seal on an official Australian document is genuine by checking it against a specimen held on file, and stamping the document with an authentication or apostille.
This is a legal process. DFAT will only issue stamps once satisfied that the signature, stamp or seal on a document is not fraudulent. Instances of attempted fraud in the past require DFAT needs to be cautious about issuing its stamp.
Which stamp do I need: Authentication or Apostille?
This advice can only be provided by the overseas government you are dealing with through their embassy and/or consulate in Australia.
As a general guide, documents going to countries that are party to the 1961 Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents require an apostille, for example: Italy, Greece, and many others.
Documents going to countries that are not party to the Hague Convention generally require an authentication, for example: China, most Middle Eastern countries and many others.
What documents are accepted?
We accept original documents issued by Australian Government departments with an official signature, seal or stamp; or documents signed and sealed by an Australian Notary Public. All Australian public documents must have an original signature, stamp or seal in order to be stamped.
If the document is not government issued (such as a power of attorney or an article of association for a company) it must be notarised by a notary public. You can find your nearest Notary Public by looking in the Yellow Pages or www.societyofnotaries-qld.org/locations.htm.
When presenting the documents to DFAT, please ensure every page requiring a stamp has been signed by either an authorised officer from the issuing authority or the notary public. Documents legally bound by a Notary Public are acceptable.
Translated documents must either be notarised by an Australian Notary Public, or have been translated and signed/stamped by a translator accredited with the National Authority for Accredited Translators and Interpreters (NAATI).
Business documents must be notarised by an Australian Notary Public or, if for Authentication only, certified by the relevant chamber of commerce/industry.
For the requirements for education documents please see “General Information for Education Documents”
Preparing your documents for Authentication/Apostille
We have provided the following guidance to help you prepare your documents prior to lodging them with us. Getting your documents ready in the correct form will speed up your application and minimise our need to request further information from you.
|Type of document||What you should do before lodgement|
An original Government document (such as a Birth, Marriage or Death Certificate, or AFP/State Police Check)
A copy of a Government document (including a copy of an Australian Passport)
A private document (including private education institution documents, contracts, wills and Powers of Attorney)
A public tertiary education document, certificate, or letter
A public primary or secondary school document, certificate or letter
How much does it cost?
- $60 for a single-sided one page document
- $80 for a binding (double sided or multiple page document where every page bears an official signature/stamp/seal)
- $20 for a single-sided one page document
- $40 for a binding (double sided or multiple page document document where every page bears an official signature/stamp/seal)
How can I pay?
When lodging in person we accept MasterCard, Visa, Australian money order, Australian bank cheque, cash and EFTPOS. Bank cheques and money orders are to be made out to “Dept. of Foreign Affairs and Trade”.
When posting documents to us we accept payment by bank cheque, money order or credit card – using the following form.
How long does it take?
In most cases, documents can be processed within one (1) working day. We do not have a same day service.
There may be a delay if:
- We do not have a specimen signature of the person who has signed the document on file (this means we will need to obtain their signature for verification)
- There is any question about the authenticity of the document.
Where do I have to go?
You can lodge your document over the counter at our office:
150 Charlotte Street
Brisbane Qld 4000
Counter Hours: 9am-1pm
We cannot accept documents over the counter after 1pm. You do not need an appointment and you do not need to be the owner of the document to lodge it. We also accept documents through the post (see below)
What if I can’t get to the Brisbane office?
Download the following form:
On the form please indicate which country/foreign government your document is for. You can post your document and completed Notarial Request form to the following postal address:
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
GPO Box 879
Brisbane QLD 4001
We will send the document back to you by standard mail for no extra charge or you can request us to send it back via express post. You may otherwise enclose a self-addressed Express or Registered Post envelope if you prefer.
Australia Post introduced a new pricing structure with effect from 8 April 2013. These changes affect the cost of domestic Express Post and Express Courier International with prices that more accurately reflect the costs of delivery.
For postage within Australia, the costs for the purchase of Express Post envelopes are as follows:
- Express Post C5 (162mm x 229mm) = $5.70 each
- Express Post B4 (250mm x 353mm) = $6.80 each
For international postage, we can send documents overseas by standard Air Mail at no extra charge, or by Express Courier International service.
A list of international parcel zones and countries is available on the Australia Post website.
DFAT does not assume any responsibility for documents once they have been posted. Items posted with domestic Express Post or Express Courier International may be tracked online. Enter your tracking number at to locate your parcel.
All payment must be in Australian dollars.
|Description||Zone||Price per envelope|
(size: 390mm x 290mm)
What if I am overseas?
Australian High Commissions, Embassies and Consulates can provide authentications for Australian documents. They are not able to issue apostilles, which must be issued from within Australia.
If you need to send your document to our office from overseas, please follow the steps in, “What if I can’t get to the Brisbane office”, for posting your document to us. You can choose to have your document returned to you via standard airmail at no extra charge, or via the Express Courier International (ECI) service (costs apply). This option can be indicated on the Application and Credit Card Payment Form. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you require further information.
General information for education documents
We cannot authenticate or apostille documents from government universities and TAFE without the signature of an authorised officer of the student centre from the university. If you are sending documents to the university student centre, you MUST notify them that the document is going to DFAT.
For School Certificates or Reports:
- For State Primary and Secondary school certificates or reports, these will need to be either endorsed with an original signature by an authorised officer from the government education authority (not the Principal of the school) or notarised by a notary public. For Primary and Secondary schools you must go to a notary public to notarise the document.
- For Junior and Senior certificates issued by Queensland Studies Authority (QSA) should be endorsed by authorised officer from the QSA. This is an additional endorsement that you must obtain directly from the QSA before presenting documents to our office.
Documents from private Universities and Colleges must be endorsed by an Australian Notary Public.
Authenticating fingerprint checks
If applying for an overseas police clearance you may be asked to have a fingerprint check authenticated by DFAT. Queensland Police issued fingerprint checks will need to be bound in most cases and the relevant fee for binding a double sided page will apply. Please note that this process may take extra processing time where we need to verify the police officer’s signature.
Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage
You need to contact the authorities in the country where you are to be married or their Embassy, High Commission or Consulate in Australia. They are your primary contact for what is required from you to be able to marry in their country.
You need to enquire as to whether you have to obtain a Certificate of No Impediment (CNI), whether it needs to be authenticated or apostilled and if it will be accepted if issued in Australia. Often foreign governments will only accept a CNI if it is issued by the Australian Embassy in that country. We cannot guarantee that a CNI issued within Australia will be accepted overseas, which is why it is best that you confirm this with the foreign government.
If you are an Australian citizen and you are marrying an Australian citizen, you will need to find out if each party is required to provide a CNI. If so, you will need to fill out an application form for each person. Please complete both the male and female columns.
If you need a CNI issued within Australia, you can complete the form in our office, as we have staff available to witness your signature.
You will need to provide birth certificates or passports of the Australian citizen/s, or proof of permanent residency in Australia. Certified copies will be accepted by our office or if you are having the application form signed in our office, please bring the documents and we can make copies for our files.
If you have been married before you will need to provide your divorce papers or death certificate of spouse and complete the details of the divorce / death on the CNI application form where the question is asked. We need to sight and photocopy these documents of evidence. Some countries may require these documents to be authenticated or apostilled by our office.
CNI processing costs $90 each. If an authentication of any document is required it costs an additional $20 per certificate and if an apostille is required it costs an additional $60. If any papers which require legalisation (authentication or apostille) are more than one page, the cost increases by $20 for a legal binding. Payment can be made by completing and returning the Application and Credit Card Payment Form [PDF 219 KB]
If you are overseas and are able to obtain a CNI from the Australian Embassy / High Commission in that country, but you require an apostille, the only way you can obtain the apostille is to send the document back to Australia.