How Can You Authenticate Documents For A Foreign Entity?

26 October 2022
 Categories: Law, Blog


If you're conducting some business overseas and need to prove to an authority in that country that you have certain affairs in Australia, you may need to generate some documentation. Typically, a foreign government authority may need proof that those documents are legal, genuine or original, and you may need to go through a certain procedure to comply. What is typically involved in a situation like this, and how should you go about your work?

Notarising Documents

Often, the first step in proving that these documents are genuine or generated by a specific individual is to get them notarised. That is a relatively simple procedure, and you will need to present yourself to a notary public, who then confirms the details. Still, many overseas institutions will then require that document to be further authenticated by either the Australian government or by an official consulate or embassy. This involves a specific procedure depending on the institution in question.

Getting Further Authentication

If the documents have to be authenticated by the government, this will typically fall to an official from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. They will then review the documents and issue what is known as an "apostille" certificate that basically confirms the signature and seal of the notary public.

An apostille is a type of stamp that is attached or fixed to the original notarised document. This confirms that the document originated in Australia, and most foreign countries that conform to the Hague Convention will accept it.

How To Proceed

So, in order to move forward, you will first need to get in touch with a notary public authorised by the Australian government to witness signatures and certify documentation. You will need to present yourself in person to the notary and usually have to bring identification, like a driver's licence or passport.

You may then need to get in touch with the government department so they can authenticate the notary's seal and attach the apostille. Often, a notary can help you with these arrangements, but you need to discuss your specific case with their office first.

Understanding The Requirement

Always ensure that you fully understand the requirements of the person or entity that initially requested the documentation. There is rarely such a thing as a set procedure, but if you don't follow the process correctly, you may find that the documentation is rejected, and you'll have to start again. Therefore, it's best if you download those instructions and discuss the case in more detail with your notary.

Reach out to a law service such as BSG Lawyers to learn more.