The ultimate (and headache-free) guide to attestation

So you’re moving overseas and you’ve been told you need to get your documents attested before you can start working in another country. The first thing a lot of people do is go to their internet search engine and look up ‘What is Document Attestation?‘ because unless you’ve been through this process before, both the terminology and the process of how to get documents attested will likely be completely new to you. The process of attestation can be confusing and time-consuming. There are a lot of steps involved and red tape to cut through. In this blog post, we will discuss the process of document attestation and provide a step-by-step guide on how to get it done headache-free.

What is document attestation and why do you need it? 

Notarised university degree
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Notarial seal and qatar embassy stamp

Attestation of documents is a process that verifies the authenticity of the document.  Attestation is often required when you are trying to get your document certified for use in a foreign country. Most of the people we help are either moving overseas for work or are already working overseas and need their Australian documents attested in support of a visa application or job offer.

The reasons why can include a range of people at different stages of life, moving abroad for a diverse variety of reasons. Some people move for further study, some for work, some for travel. Or perhaps you want to get married in another country and need to prove you are not already married in your country of origin, possibly needing a divorce certificate or other supporting evidence. Read more about situational examples in our article Who needs document attestation services?.

We get it — the language around attestation can be new and confusing! And the process is often referred to in different ways, depending on where in the world you are. Here in Australia, and in the UAE (our top attestation destination request), ‘attestation’ is the most commonly used term for document verification services. To read more on the language differences, check out our article Authentication. Attestation. Legalisation. What’s with all the lingo?

Documents that typically require attestation for personal use

There are some common documents that regularly need an attestation for verification purposes. These fall into three main categories:

Australian educational documents

If you plan on living and working overseas, continuing your education or having your education officially recognised, you will require attested education documents.

Australian educational documents that often require attestation include:

  • Australian university degrees
  • Australian technical college (TAFE) qualifications
  • Australian secondary school certificates
  • Australian primary school certificates

Read more on attesting education documents:

Australian public documents

Public documents include documents issued by Australian government departments or agencies, such as Births, Deaths and Marriages or the Australian Federal Police.

Australian public documents that may require attestation for use overseas include:

  • Police Clearance Certificate
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Birth Certificate

Read more on Authenticating Australian Government documents.

Australian personal documents

Personal or private documents can include documents for identification purposes, such as your passport.

Australian personal documents that often require attestation include:

  • Australian passport
  • Australian driver’s license
  • Power of Attorney
  • Statutory declaration

Documents that typically require attestation for corporate use

Australian businesses opening up in new markets overseas require attestation of commercial documents in addition to the personal document attestation required for individuals.

Commercial documents that may need attesting include:

  • ASIC Company Extract
  • ASIC Company Registration
  • Shareholders Resolution
  • Board of Directors Minutes
  • Assignment Deed
  • Power of Attorney
  • Company Constitution
  • Trust Deed
  • Commercial License
  • Franchise Agreement
  • Agency Agreement
  • Partnership Agreement
  • ISO Certificate
  • Financial Statement
  • Trademark Registration

What countries require attestation?

Always check that attestation is required for your documents from the country requesting verified copies, as the rules are different across many jurisdictions. The countries we most frequently get asked to attest documents for are the UAE, Qatar, Thailand, Iraq and Lebanon.

A lot of other countries outside of these five jurisdictions don’t actually need attested documents, instead requiring a simpler Apostille Certificate. Any country signed up to the Hague Convention falls into this category. An Apostille doesn’t require embassy or DFAT verification steps, so the process is a lot cheaper. Here’s the full list of Hague Apostille Convention member countries.

Our process automatically calculates whether you need an Apostille or attestation, so you don’t need to think about it and the price will update to reflect the requirements needed for where you’re going.

The headache-free approach to attestation

Most of the people we help are either moving overseas for work, or are already working overseas and need their Australian documents attested again, but without the hassle of having to come back to Australia to get it done.

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Attestation of documents in Australia

If you’re in Australia, you can get your documents attested in person with the various authorities if you’ve done your research. It can be complicated and time-consuming, but it can be done!

Option 1: do it yourself

  • Step 1: obtain your original document
  • Step 2: verify your document to be sure it is valid for attestation
  • Step 3: find an Australian notary to issue a Notarial Certificate
  • Step 4: obtain Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT) authentication of the notarised document
  • Step 5: attend the relevant foreign embassy to get an Attestation Certificate for the notarised and authenticated document.

Option 2: done for you

  • Step 1: send us a scan of your original document
  • Step 2: sit back while we handle document notarisation, DFAT authentication and embassy attestation
  • Step 3: check your mailbox for your attested documents.

Attestation of documents outside of Australia

In many jurisdictions, it’s a requirement that documents need to be attested in the country of origin. So a visit to the local Australian Embassy won’t cut it. If you’re already outside of Australia, it’s obviously cost-prohibitive to fly all the way back just to go through the process of getting your Australian documents and visiting the various authorities to get them attested.

We built the Authentifier business specifically to service a need for online document attestation services. Our online service has grown even stronger during the COVID-19 pandemic as our digital setup meant we were one of the only operators able to provide attestation services to Australians stuck abroad due to border closures.

At Authentifier, we handle the entire document attestation process for you remotely and take the red tape out of the equation, so you can get on with the million other things you need to do.

Tips for ensuring a quick and easy attestation process

Try to get your documents attested before you move overseas if you can.

While our service is a perfect fit for people who aren’t able to get certificate attestation here in Australia, it can be easier to start the process before you travel if you can. The main reason for this is that it can be easier to source your original documents. After that, the process of using our online service is the same no matter where in the world you are.

Save yourself the headache and get help!

We’d love it if you chose us to help you. We have experience doing this stuff every day and have built longstanding relationships with embassy and consulate staff, as well as at DFAT with many years of helping both individuals and corporates with Australian document attestation services. We have in-depth experience across a range of use-cases, and so are well equipped to handle questions and concerns that come up because we’ve seen it all before.

Save our details for next time

Many of our clients keep coming back for the simple reason that once we have processed documents for you once, we can keep them on file on our secure server (only if you opt-in, of course!), making the process even easier for your next move and the one after that.

How to submit a document for attestation

We’ve stripped back the process to make document attestation really easy. Simply fill out our online form and it will automatically calculate what you need depending on where you’re going. All you need to do is upload your documents along with any extra info you need us to be aware of and our team will get on it straight away.

Key points

Document attestation is complicated. The standard process requires the help of a notary public, DFAT paperwork and a visit to Canberra, then an embassy or consulate visit with all the paperwork that goes along with that.

If you are looking to get your documents attested, our online process makes it easy and headache-free. We take the hassle out of getting everything organised for you, so all you need to do is submit your documents and we will take care of the rest. Our team of experts are here to help make this process as smooth as possible for you, so don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Further reading
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