The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has proscribed the circumstances under which notarial certificates verifying educational records such as testamurs issued by schools, colleges and universities can be authenticated. This means that notarial certificates which do not comply with the requirements will not be authenticated.
According to a Practice Note issues by the Australian and New Zealand College of Notaries last month, DFAT will refuse to authenticate any certificate that (a) relate to educational records originating outside of Australia, or (b) certificates that do not assert the notary’s verification of the original educational record. The only exception to the latter concerns primary and secondary school documents, as well as documents issued by TAFE and other training college records that include a “nationally recognised training stamp”.
It is possible to have the original educational record authenticated by DFAT. This option means that the notary is not required for the process of verification or authentication. However, this also means that DFAT will affix its apostille or authentication on the original educational record itself. Some people may wish to retain their originals unblemished by DFAT. In that case, the following procedure can be followed with the assistance of a notary:
- The client will have to provide written authority to the notary authorising the notary to make inquiries on behalf of the client with respect to the client’s educational records. This is necessary to overcome privacy constraints which may prevent some institutions from disclosing such information.
- The Notary will then have to inspect the client’s records and verify their authenticity. In many cases this would involve obtaining access to the educational institution’s online verification system. Alternatively, the institution will have to be contacted and arrangements made for the verification process. Either way, the Notary must be satisfied that the documents he is notarising are true and correct.
- The Notary will have to draft a certificate which is specifically phrased such that the notary has independently and personally verified that the educational record is a true and accurate record of the original that it purports to be an original.
The ANZCN has provided a template notarial certificate to its members, which can be used in the case of a client wanting to have his educational records authenticated but who does not want his originals physically compromised. Also provided with this Practice Note is a list of contacts for key educational institutions which can assist in the verification of their records.
This is a summary of a Practice Note issued by the ANZCN. Practitioners who would like more details about the Practice Note should contact the College directly. Client who require their educational records notarised for use overseas are encouraged to contact a local notary via this website.