Travel documents and attestation when moving overseas from Australia
Are you thinking of moving overseas?
If your mind is turning to other shores, you’re not alone. Many graduating students, workers and dual citizens are moving overseas from Australia. As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic with the associated lockdowns and harsh travel restrictions, a lot of people are rethinking exactly where it is that they want to call home.
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The transition from ‘stranded abroad’ to ‘looking to leave’
During the first stage of the pandemic in 2020, we saw a general drop-off in outbound document attestation requests, and mostly found ourselves working on requests from Australians stuck abroad and unable to return home. Fast forward to 2023 and although Australians working overseas still make up a lot of our attestation requests, demand is up again for document attestation from people moving from Australia to destinations overseas. And the people coming through are from all walks of life: students returning to their home countries, Aussie degrees in hand; professionals taking overseas postings; and separated families reuniting abroad.
We’ve particularly noticed an uptick in document attestation requests from highly skilled workers giving up on calling Australia home. A lot of the people we’ve talked to cite pandemic restrictions as their primary reason for leaving. One client returning to the UK told us, “We love living in Australia, we have an incredible lifestyle here, but living here has always been based on the idea that if anything happened to our parents or family overseas, we could fly back in a day. That concept has been irreparably broken.”
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016 Census, 49% of Australians were either born overseas or had at least one parent who was born overseas. Add to those the non-citizen permanent residents and visa holders who pre-pandemic were working and studying to build their lives here in Australia. That’s a whole lot of people with serious ties abroad, who are likely to be having these sorts of conversations in their households.
Airlines are creeping towards pre-pandemic flight levels, with the UAE—our most popular destination—now well covered by the major carriers.
Document attestation for overseas travel
In order to travel overseas and obtain the necessary visas (such as holiday or working visas) you need to ensure that you have all of your official documentation organised. In many cases, document attestation for overseas travel is mandatory, read below for examples of situations where legalised documentation might be requested.
Below are some examples of important documents you will need to have on hand when travelling. Some of these may also need to be attested in order to be used for any official purpose such as applying for work or securing a rental property.
- High School Certificates
- Birth Certificates
- Children’s Birth Certificates
- Marriage Certificates
- Name Change Certificates
- Citizenship Certificates
- Divorce & Custody Orders
- National Police Certificates
Foreign governments or businesses usually require proof that the documents are genuine. This means they need to be attested in the country of origin before they’re accepted. It’s also much easier, and less costly, to have Australian documents legalised in Australia, rather than the host country (for more on attestation options, check out our Ultimate Guide to Attestation.
Immigration authorities may refuse entry if they assess that the documents you carry indicate you may violate local visa conditions. If in doubt, check with the foreign mission of the country you’re planning to work in before your departure.
Some countries may require your original documents to be translated or attested for official use. You need to confirm any requirements for your documents before you leave Australia by contacting the embassy of the country you wish to travel to.
We advise that you undertake all document attestation—including notarisation of copies, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) authentication and relevant foreign embassy attestation—before departing Australia. Of course, if you need help once you’re abroad, we’re here for you — and serving Australians overseas using our remote service is exactly why Authentifier came to exist in the first place!
How to attest your documents before you move overseas
To get your documents legalised in Australia, you’ll need a Notarial Certificate. A Notarial Certificate is a written, signed and sealed statement from an Australian Notary Public, enabling copies of the documents to be used overseas.
Depending on the requirements of your host country, the Notarial Certificate may need to be sent to the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT) to be authenticated.
Once the documents have been authenticated by DFAT, they may also require legalisation by the foreign embassy located in Australia. For the UAE, for example, this means the documents need to be sent to the UAE Embassy in Canberra.
Make sure you scan and save your legalised documents once you receive them. In some cases, you may be able to use your scanned copies to support your application for work or education, but it’s a good idea to have online copies available anyway.
If you’re using Authentifier to manage this process, we’ll share electronic copies with you via Dropbox. That way, you have a secured means of accessing copies of your documents while you wait for the originals to be delivered.
Moving overseas from Australia checklist
There’s obviously a huge list of things to do in a move abroad, from shipping your things and organising removalists to finding somewhere to live when you arrive. Here we’re looking at the 4 key pieces of admin you need to leave Australia and to work or study overseas off the back of your Australian-gained certifications.
Need help with the document legalisation process?
How it works:
- Online document inspection: if you’ve got your original documents with you, we can sight them online (e.g. via Zoom or Skype).
- Notarisation of copies of inspected documents: we’ll draft and issue a Notarial Certificate, which certifies the copies of the documents for use overseas.
- DFAT authentication: if your documents need to be authenticated by DFAT, we’ll take care of the application process for you.
- Embassy attestation: we’ll liaise with the Australian-based embassy of the host country to get your documents legalised.
- Provision of documents: your legalised documents will be sent to you via Express Post and you’ll also receive access to electronic versions via Dropbox. If required, we
Generally, this process is conducted online, and we can liaise with you and your associated family members wherever you are. Our fixed fee for this service covers DFAT authentication fees, embassy attestation fees and Express Post costs (Australian addresses).
The two key pieces of admin you need to leave Australia? A Your travel documents and attestation of your Australian documents so they can be used overseas. We’ve helped thousands of Australians authenticate their documents over the years — let us help make attestation easy for you too.
Good luck with your move!
Skip the embassy. Skip the DFAT queue. Skip the admin. Take the stress out of document legalisation and let us manage the entire process for you.