Authenticating Immigration Documents at DFAT

DFAT will authenticate some immigration documents

We previously wrote about notarising VEVO documents as evidence of residency in Australia as recorded by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. If you need to prove that you are entitled to live, work and remain in Australia, especially if they are not an Australian citizen or dual citizenship holder, then this is going to be important for you.

Our ability to verify your residency status is limited to the results that we are able to obtain through VEVO – the Australian Government’s visa entitlement verification online (VEVO) system – since visas are no longer evidenced by printed labels in passports.

The VEVO information that is available to you through your own account is not the same as what we can access through our organisational account. The information available to us is generally limited to the passport number and some basic details about the nature of your visa. Unfortunately, if you are a permanent resident, the VEVO will include a statement to the effect of ‘the holder is a resident or a citizen’, which has caused some problems in foreign countries that do not recognise dual citizenship (ie, you cannot be an Australian citizen). Accordingly, although we provide this notary public service and there are many countries that accept it – it is not accepted by all countries.

Fortunately, there is now an alternative available through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). We have been advised by DFAT that they will authenticate some documents issued by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, and this is important because most (if not all) of their documents are now issued electronically. If you can show that your document came from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (ie, it was emailed to you and you can show the email trail), DFAT will authenticate a printed copy of that document without it having been notarised. In this case, they will treat it as an original public document issued by another Australian government department and authenticate it for the purposes of legalisation through a foreign office.

Despite this position with respect to authentications, DFAT will not stamp these documents with an apostille. Documents that must be stamped with an apostille still must be notarised first.

For more information regarding what DFAT will and will not stamp, and what it requires you to do/bring to satisfy it that the documents have been issued by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, please contact DFAT directly on 1300 935 260.

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Ern Phang


Public Notary

This website is maintained by Phang Legal, an incorporated legal practice in Parramatta and a leading provider of public notary services to clients across Sydney. Extensive experience and low-cost fixed prices ensures quality services and satisfied clients.

is the solicitor director of Phang Legal and a public notary. Ern regularly writes about his experiences as a public notary and the kinds of issues faced by his clients in sending documents overseas.

This information is correct as at the date of publication (2017-06-13 08:30:41) and may not include subsequent changes.

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