Australian Embassy
Tokyo
Japan

Notarial and document legalisation services available in Japan

Services we can provide

Services we cannot provide

 

Notarial service fees

Certifying copies of original documents

We certify copies of Australian documents, or documents intended for use in Australia. We photocopy the original documents, stamp the photocopy with the wording "This is a true copy of the document presented to me", our address, date, and sign the document in black pen. We cannot certify anything other than an original document.

FAQs: Certifying copies of original documents
 

Witnessing Signatures on Australian documents

Witnessing an Australian statutory declaration

We can witness signatures on Australian Commonwealth, state and territory statutory declarations. We will affix our stamps and sign the document in black pen. For further information and declaration form templates visit the Attorney-General's Department website.

When you make a statutory declaration, you are declaring that the statements in it are true. If you intentionally make a false statement in a declaration, you can be charged with an offence.

FAQs: Australian statutory declarations

Witnessing signatures for Australian Driver’s Licence renewals

We cannot provide Australian driver's license renewal kits or process licence fee payments.

To obtain an overseas Australian driver's license renewal kit, please contact the Transport Authority in your state.

As part of the overseas Australian driver's license renewal application, some states require that you have your signature witnessed and photograph endorsed at an Australian mission.
 

Witnessing signatures for Australian wills and powers of attorney

We witness signatures on wills and powers of attorney. We will affix stamps to the documents with our seal, name and position, address, date, and sign the document in black pen.

We do not have the authority to provide legal advice, to draw up legal documents, or to guarantee the legal effectiveness of documents we witness. The precise requirements for the effective witnessing of a will or power of attorney are dictated by the jurisdiction in which the document is to be relied. It is up to you to check these requirements before bringing the documents to an Australian mission for witnessing. If you are overseas and would like to make a will or an enduring power of attorney for use in Australia, make sure you contact a solicitor or the public trustee/advocate for your state or territory before you contact a foreign solicitor. More general information is also available online.

Smartraveller: wills and enduring powers of attorney

ASIC MONEYSMART: wills and powers of attorney
 

Certificates of No Impediment to Marriage

To get married in Japan, please contact your city office for information and advice on local requirements and necessary documentation. Before a foreign national may marry, Japanese authorities require a certificate issued by the Australian Government stating that those authorities do not know of any impediment to the marriage. This certificate is known as a Certificate of No Impediment (CNI). Certificates of No Impediment are not a requirement of Australian law.

Australian citizens and permanent residents can apply by completing the application form and submitting it along with your passport and  your partner's passport, or similar identity document. If either party is divorced or widowed, please also provide the relevant divorce order or death certificate (and English translation performed by a professional translation company or translator, where the original document is not in English). We aim to issue certificates at the time of lodgement.

Download Application Form:  PDF (editable)

City offices in Japan generally require a Japanese translation of both the Application Form and the CNI itself. We cannot provide translation services. However, the following templates may assist you with the translation:

Download Application Form Japanese Translation Templates: PDF (editable)
Download Japanese Translation Templates: Word | PDF

Refer to our Marriage and Divorce page and FAQs: Getting married in Japan for further information.
 

Authentications and apostilles

Overseas authorities will often request that you have your Australian document/s legalised either through an authentication or an apostille before a document can be accepted for local use. Consular Officers will certify that a signature or seal on an original official Australian public document is genuine by checking it against a specimen held on our database, and applying an authentication certificate to the document.

Issuing authentications and apostilles are legal processes that we will only perform once we are satisfied the document is genuine and will not be used for a fraudulent purpose. We aim to issue authentications within two working days.

Which stamp do I need - authentication or an apostille?

You should check with the local authorities requesting the document as to their requirements in order to ensure that the appropriate service is provided for your documents to be accepted. Consular staff cannot advise clients of foreign requirements. We can provide the following general information.

Apostille
As a general rule, countries that are party to the 1961 Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents require an apostille on documents that qualify as Australian public documents. A full list of countries that are party to this convention can be found at the Hague Conference on Private International Law website.

Authentication
Documents going to countries that are not party to the Hague Convention generally require an authentication. Some countries impose restrictions on how an authentication is affixed. For example, you may not be allowed to have an Australian notary public certify your foreign document as a true copy for the purposes of having an authentication affixed.

Refer to the Smartraveller website for further information on authentications and apostilles.
 

Australian affidavits, oaths and affirmations

We witness Australian affidavits and affirmations. We will administer the oath, affix stamps to the documents with our seal, name and position, address, date, and sign the document in black pen.

The precise form that an affidavit is to take is dictated by the relevant Commonwealth, state or territory legislation under which the affidavit is made or the proceedings in which the evidence contained in it is to be relied on. An affidavit that has not been drawn up correctly may not be legally effective. It is up to you to check these requirements before bringing the documents to an Australian mission for witnessing.

FAQ: Australian affidavits, oaths and affirmations
 

Signature certificates (sign shomei)

The Australian Government does not maintain a register of its citizen's signatures and Australian missions in Japan have no authority to issue signature certificates (sign shomei). Your Australian passport is considered proof of your signature.

In Japan, a personal seal (inkan or hanko) is commonly used instead of a signature. Australians residing in Japan should register a personal seal with their local city office upon arrival. We are unable to provide guidance on registration procedures. For advice, contact your local city office. More general information is also available online on the CLAIR website, and Tokyo International Communication Committee website.

Australians in Japan temporarily (i.e. those on a 90 day temporary visitor entry visa) or Australians that are unable to register a personal seal should contact a Japanese Notary Public for a signature certificate.

Japanese Notary Public - Telephone: +81 3 3502 8050
 

Witnessing signatures on documents for non-Australian jurisdictions

Australian consular officers are only permitted to witness Australian forms being made for use in Australia by an Australian entity.  Documents intended for use in non-Australian jurisdictions should be witnessed by a Notary Public or other qualified witness, in accordance with that country’s practice.

Australians requiring signature witnessing on declarations for company registrations in Japan should seek alternatives in accordance with local law. If uncertain, we suggest you consult a legal professional.

The Japanese Government was advised in July 2016 that Australian missions in Japan would no longer witness signatures on documents for use in Japan.

If requested by foreign jurisdictions, we can certify copies of documents that are Australian in origin, such as an Australian passport or driver’s licence to prove your identity.

Where more detailed documentation relating to company registrations is required, you may need to contact an Australian Notary Public. Australian Notaries Public are given wide-ranging statutory powers to witness documents for use overseas, providing they can ascertain that a signatory acting in an official representative capacity (e.g. a secretary or director of an ASIC registered company) has the authority to sign on behalf of the company.

 
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