The Australian Consulate-General can witness your signature on some land, mortgage or property documents, certify documents and complete the DFAT Identity Certificate. We can’t provide legal advice. See below for our step-by-step guide and some other helpful hints. Notary publics http://www.notaries.org.hk can also witness most documents.
We cannot complete Transfer of Land Act 1958 from Victoria. In relation to land transactions in Victoria, a person must have their identity verified by Australia Post. Australia Post will not verify a person’s identity if they are outside Australia. In these cases, you must seek the assistance of a conveyancer or lawyer to complete your conveyancing transaction and conduct verification of your identity.
Step 1: Seek advice from your Australian legal practitioner, law practice licensed conveyancer, or mortgagee (bank etc). Each document is different and we can’t tell you what you need. Check with the person or organisation which sent you your documents to see if an Australian Consular Officer can witness your signature on the document.
Step 2: Ask your representative to prepare your documents and provide written instructions that include:
Dear Australian Consulate-General Hong Kong
I request your assistance with the following:
- Witnessing of ___ number of copies of documents ____ (insert name of documents). These documents can be witnessed by a ____ (insert list of persons who can witness e.g. consular officer, consul, notary public).
- If applicable; The document does not include the title reference and lot number because ____ (insert reason if applicable e.g. property is yet to be assigned a lot number)
- Certifying ___ number of copies of _____ (insert types of documents e.g. passport, Hong Kong ID card). These must be coloured copies (if applicable).
- Completing a DFAT Identity Certificate for ______ (insert names of clients). Only one certificate is completed per client. Each certificate must be accompanied by at least 1 certified document. Representative must advise what documents are to be included at point (g) on the Identity Certificate.
Step 3: Make an appointment for a "Property/mortgage documents" accoridng to the State/Territory of your property at the following link
Each state and territory requires different personnel at the Consulate to witness your signature on the documents. Please ensure you select the correct state/territory for property/mortgage documents. The appointment includes witnessing of your document, certifying of documents and completing the DFAT identity certificate (depending on your requirements).
Applicants without an appointment will not be seen so please ensure you go online in advance to make an appointment. If you select the wrong service, we may not be able to help at your appointment time.
Urgent appointments: if your document is urgent please contact a notary public. See http://www.notaries.org.hk/index.aspx for a list of notaries in Hong Kong.
Step 4: Visit our office
23/F Harbour Centre
25 Harbour Road
Things to bring to your appointment:
- A letter from your Australian legal practitioner, law practice licensed conveyancer, or mortgagee (bank etc) asking the Consulate to witness your mortgage documents, complete a DFAT identity certificate and certify your documents. The letter should list exactly how many copies of each document are required (see step 2).
- Your documents for witnessing (do not sign before the appointment),
- Your passport and other documents to be certified. You will need to have photo ID that matches the name on the document you are signing.
- Credit card to pay Fees.
Fees for completing a land transfer at the Consulate can be over HKD5,000. We charge a witnessing fee per document per person and a certified copy fee per document per copy. For example, a couple who is purchasing a property and requires two copies of a mortgage document plus two certified documents each (e.g. a passport and a Hong Kong ID) will be charged 4 x witnessing + 4 x certifying = 8 charges. This would be HKD 3,000-4,000 depending on the monthly exchange rate. You might want to first contact a notary public to see if they can witness your documents for a lower fee. The Consulate’s current fees are available here. There is no charge for the DFAT Identity Certificate.
Step 5: Send your documents to your representative. We do not do this for you.
See below for more information on what we can and can’t do.
Visit Smartraveller http://smartraveller.gov.au/services/legalising-documents-overseas.html under the heading "Selling or buying land or property in Australia?"
'Identifiers Certificates' or 'Verification of Identity Certificates'
The Consulate can complete the DFAT Identity Certificate for transactions in Australia. The Consulate will not sign any other 'Identifiers Certificates' or 'Verification of Identity Certificates'. Please check with your receiving authority in Australia to confirm the DFAT Identity Certificate will meet their requirements before visiting the Australian Consulate.
The Consulate can complete the DFAT Identity Certificate on its own without witnessing the applicant execute a document. Please note part (g) is omitted so please confirm with your Australian representative if this is sufficient.
For us to complete the certificate, we will need to certify at least one of your ID document.
See a lawyer for legal advice. Consulate staff do not provide legal advice. We suggest someone from the state where you are purchasing the property.
Who else can do this?
Check with your representative to see if someone else can witness or certify your documents. Each state has different requirements.
Verification of Identity: An international financial institution or law practice would also be able to use overseas personnel to conduct verification of identity e.g. if you are dealing with an Australian bank with a presence in Hong Kong such as NAB, CBA, ANZ or Westpac they can complete the verification of identity in Hong Kong for free.
If you are a notary public in Hong Kong or Macau and would like to leave some business cards in our office, you can send them to the Consulate with attention: Consular and Passports Manager.
Sorry the Consulate does not allow urgent appointments for land transfers. See Who else can do this? For alternate options. We may make an exception for Western Australian land transfers but you will need to be flexible with our schedule.