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Some Australian Federal and State laws require that a signature on a document be witnessed by an Australian Consular Officer or have other procedures applied before the document can be used for legal purposes, or in an Australian court of law. Solicitors, justices of the peace, and notaries public normally perform these functions in Australia. It is possible for solicitors, justices of the peace or public notaries in Hong Kong to also perform these services.
Notarial services are provided by Consular Officers for Australians. They are also provided in cases where the documents are Australian in origin, or are intended for use in Australia, or have been requested by an Australian Federal, State or Local Government authority. We are unable to provide notarial services related to visa or migration, please refer to our Visas and migration page of our website for further information.
Consular staff cannot provide advice on specific legal requirements, including what documents need to be signed or certified. Papers should be presented to officers in an ordered fashion and clear instructions should be given on your particular requirements. If you are unsure of the legislative requirements relating to witnessing signatures on a particular document, you should seek independent legal advice.
Please note, by witnessing a signature on a document, neither the Australian Government nor the Australian Consulate-General guarantees the legal effectiveness of the document or the accuracy of its contents.
Below is a summary of what services we can provide. For more detailed information, please visit:
- Authentication and Apostilles including education documents
- Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage
- Certifying documents and certified passport letter
- Issue of letters for Certificate of No Criminal Conviction
- Property and mortgage documents
- Notice of Intended Marriage
- Witnessing signatures (statutory declarations and affidavits)
- Witnessing renewal of Australian Driver's Licence
Authority to perform notarial acts
It is the responsibility of the person seeking notarial services from the Australian Consulate-General to provide legislative proof that an Australian Consular Official holds the authority to perform the notarial services requested.
Please make sure you check with the end recipient of the document(s), and/or with your lawyer, that a Consular Official has the authority to perform the procedure required on your documents.
Please allow two standard business working days for collection of some documents - see separate guidelines for each document.
What to bring
Please bring photograph identification which shows your current name and signature. A passport or photo driver's licence would normally be sufficient, however check the instructions that come with your documents as occasionally several forms of identification are required.
Please be aware that Consular Staff are unable to make any endorsement as to the identity of a person, and as such we are unable to endorse photographs as being a true photograph of an applicant.
For the Consulate to witness your land transfer or mortgage document you must bring along written instructions from an Australian legal practitioner, law practice licensed conveyancer, or mortgagee (bank etc.)
Alternative Providers of Notarial Services in Hong Kong and Macau
A Consular Officer is not a Justice of the Peace (JP) or Notary Public.
Please check with the recipient of your documents whether a signature by a Consular Officer is an acceptable substitute for a JP or Notary Public. If the end recipient of your document specifies that it must be signed/witnessed by a Notary Public, please contact the Hong Kong Society of Notaries for a listing of Notaries in Hong Kong.
You may also wish to investigate whether your document can be witnessed by another professional in Hong Kong (for instance a local doctor or accountant), including one who may also have accreditation in Australia, for instance an Australian Chartered Accountant living in Hong Kong.
For Macau, please refer to Notarial services in Macau.
Notarial services we cannot provide
'Identifiers Certificates' or 'Verification of Identity Certificates'
The Consulate can complete the DFAT Identity Certificate for land, property or mortgage transactions. The Consulate will not sign or complete any other 'Identifiers Certificates' or 'Verification of Identity Certificates' for land transfer or mortgage document. You should check with your Australian representative what is required, and if the DFAT Identity Certificate is suitable, before visiting the Australian Consulate. We cannot provide advice on what documents you need to have witnessed or certified.
Our role is limited to:
- certifying copies of identity (e.g. passports etc) or supporting documents (e.g. rates notices etc);
- completing the DFAT Identity Certificate; and
- witnessing your signature on land or property documents (e.g. land transfer form, authority to appoint an agent form etc).
Further information can be found at http://smartraveller.gov.au/services/legalising-documents-overseas.html under the heading "Selling or buying land or property in Australia?"
Letters of No Objection
The Consulate will not provide Letters of No Objection on behalf of the Australian Government.
Please ensure that documents relating to the notarial services you require from the Australian Government/Embassy/Consulate, are presented in the correct form and that you provide the correct instructions for the notarial service you require. If you are unsure of the legislative requirements relating to the notarial service you require, you should seek independent legal advice. Please note that neither the Australian Government nor the Australian Embassy/High Commission/Consulate in Post/Country guarantees the legal effectiveness of the notarised document or the accuracy of its content. Fees paid for notarial services are non-refundable.