If you have school-aged children and you are intending to relocate from Australia to Lebanon, you will probably need to consider enrolling your children into a school in Lebanon. However, before you can do this you will need to have your children’s education documents notarised, authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and then legalised by the Lebanese Embassy in Canberra or by the Lebanese Consulate in your capital city.
The main steps to notarising, authenticating and legalising your children’s education documents are as follows.
Verification. We start by obtaining the original school reports and/or enrolment confirmation. The fastest and easiest way for this to happen is for the school to send us the documents directly. They can send it by email or by hard copy to our office and we will verify them immediately. If the school will not or cannot send the documents to us directly, then you may need to make your own arrangements to have the original documents delivered to our office. We will need to send any documents received by our office, not directly from the school, back to the school for verification. Unfortunately, the turnaround time for this process is subject to the school’s ability to respond promptly.
Notarisation. Once we have been able to verify the documents with the school, we can then proceed with the notarisation. In most cases, we will prepare a separate notary certificate confirming that we have seen what appears to be original documents and that we have verified those documents with the school that issued them. We then bind the notary certificate to the original documents (this is necessary as the Lebanese Embassy/Consulate will only accept original documents for legalisation – more on this later). We generally can notarise the documents as soon as we have received the documents from the school or after we have received verification from the school.
Authentication. After the documents have been notarised they must be authenticated by DFAT. Authentication is an endorsement by DFAT on behalf of the Australian Government confirming that the documents have been notarised by a public notary. The process to authenticate the document is generally very simple. You can either make your own arrangements with DFAT which requires calling them to make an appointment, or our office can arrange all of this for you for a fixed fee – which also includes DFAT’s filing fee. You normally need to allow for about 1 week for notarised documents to be authenticated, however this timing can vary slightly depending on DFAT’s workload.
Legalisation. After the documents have been authenticated by DFAT (and previously notarised by our notary public), they must also be legalised by the foreign office of the intended destination country – which, in this case, is Lebanon. Legalisation is an endorsement by the Lebanese Embassy or Consulate confirming that the documents have been authenticated by DFAT. Without legalisation from the Lebanese Embassy or Consulate, the documents would not be accepted in Lebanon because there is very little way to confirm and verify that the documents are actually true and correct. However, once the documents have been verified (with the school), notarised (by our office), authenticated (by DFAT) then acceptance by the Lebanese Embassy or Consulate means that the documents can now be sent to the intended school in Lebanon. Be aware that the Lebanese Embassy or Consulate has various requirements, such as the documents must be original documents and they will charge a fee for legalisation. If you attempt to submit copies of documents, even if those documents are certified and/or notarised, it is likely that the Lebanese Embassy and Consulate will reject them.