Australian Embassy
Tokyo
Japan

Notarial and document legalisation services available in Japan

Services we can provide

Services we cannot provide

 

Notarial services 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 position title (e.g. Authorised Consular Employee), full name, official Embassy stamp, address, contact number, date, and sign the document in black pen. We cannot certify anything other than an original document.

Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS) Director Identification Number (DIN)

According to the advice on the ABRS website, if you were already a director on or before 31 October 2021, you have until 30 November 2022 to apply for a director ID: Who needs to apply and when | Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS).

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has standardised approved wording for certified copies. We apply the following certification on your certified copy: "This is a true copy of the document presented to me". We cannot and will not be able to alter this wording.

ABRS accepts DFAT’s standard certified copy wording. Details are available on the ABRS website here: Verify your identity | Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS)

We sight and photocopy the original documents, stamp the photocopy with the wording "This is a true copy of the document presented to me", our position title (e.g. Authorised Consular Employee), full name, official Embassy stamp, address, contact number, date, and sign the document in black pen. We cannot certify anything other than an original document.

The Australian Embassy Tokyo can provide certified copies via proxy or postal mail, if preferred.
Postal notarial service instructions are available here: Notarial services by mail 
In-person (including via proxy) notarial serivces are via appointment only: Book Appointment
 

Digital documents

Printed versions of digital documents (documents which are digital in origin) are not recognised as original documents. Therefore, we are also unable to issue certified copies for printed copies of digital documents, nor accept the printed copies as original supporting documents for other processes such as a CNI application.

Digital documents can include electronically issued translated documents, bank statements, bills, documents on court web portals, visa issuance letters etc.

We may be able to recognise a digital document as an original document and issue a certified copy if:

  1. The issuing authority sends an email directly to the Consular Section with the document attached (no password encryption).
  2. You produce the source email (email sent by the issuing authority) to a notarial officer and forward it to the Consular Section (no password encryption).
  3. You log in to your relevant web portal, download the digital document and email the document as an attachment to the Consular Section, in front of Consular staff at the counter. *Note: This option is only available for in-person appointments.

Australian Embassy Tokyo Consular Section email address: [email protected]

Australian Consulate-General Osaka Consular Section email address: [email protected]

FAQs: Certifying copies of original documents

 

Certifying photographs

We can certify that your photograph is of you.

  • The photograph must be for use in Australia. If it's for local use, you may need to find a local authority to certify it.
  • When the consular official confirms you are the person in the picture and sights your valid photo identification, they'll certify it.
  • We will state that the photograph is "a true likeness of [your name]". This is DFAT approved wording. We cannot alter it.

Information is also available on the Smartraveller website.

 

Witnessing signatures on Australian documents

Witnessing an Australian statutory declaration

We can only witness signatures on Australian Commonwealth, state and territory statutory declarations for use in Australia.

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.

We CANNOT witness statutory declarations (regardless of jurisdiction) for use outside of Australia, i.e., we cannot witness Australian statutory declarations to be submitted to foreign government entities, embassies or companies etc.

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 on documents which also require verification of identity (such as land transfer or mortgage documents)

If you need verification of your identity along with your signature witnessed, we may be able to assist. In conjunction with witnessing signatures, DFAT verifies a person's identity using the DFAT Identity Certificate - Witnessing signature and identity certification form. We cannot complete individual forms from other organisations or agencies (such as banks).

Before approaching us for this service, please ensure you confirm with your receiving authority that the "DFAT Identity Certificate - Witnessing signature and identity certification" form is acceptable, and confirm what documents need certifying in order to verify your identity. We will provide certified copies of your ID documents in accordance with the receiving authority's requirements. Fees apply per signature witnessed and per certified copy.

If the receiving authority must have their own forms completed and will not accept the DFAT Identity Certificates, then you must seek the services of other qualified authorities such as Notarial Publics. You should confirm with the receiving authority that they will accept the documents notarised by these authorities before requesting their services.

 

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 (CNI)

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 we 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.

If you plan to apply for a CNI in Japan, please refer to the CNI Application Checklists.

  • Sample of completed CNI form (DO NOT sign page 3 if applying in person at our office, we will witness your signature at your appointment)

If you plan to apply for a CNI in Australia, please refer to Notarial services in Australia.

Offices of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Australia, and the Australian missions in Japan, can issue a CNI for Australians who have their CNI application form witnessed/effected in Australia by an approved witness under the Statutory Declarations Act 1959 (Cth). Please provide your local city office with this list of approved witnesses if your local city office enquires about the suitability of your witness.

Some city offices may request the CNI be issued by an Australian mission in Japan. We encourage you to confirm in advance with your local city office.

City offices in Japan generally require the Application Form as well as the Certificate itself. If you are applying for a CNI in Australia, you should ensure that the issuing office returns both documents to you. If you are applying for a CNI in Japan, our standard practice is to return both documents to all applicants.

City offices in Japan generally also 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

Our role is to witness the affidavit and administer the oath or affirmation. 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 attest to the authenticity or truth of the content of the evidence or information.

Before attending your appointment, please check the following with the recipient or your legal representative and bring along clear instructions to your appointment:

  • Do you and the witness need to sign or initial each page? Or do you only need to sign one page? 
  • Do you have any exhibits to the affidavits? Do the exhibits need to be signed or initialled?
  • If an affidavit contains attachments or is multiple pages, we will bind the pages together as a general rule. Please confirm with your legal representative, or receiving authority, whether they require the affidavit to remain unbinded and provide us with the written confirmation.

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

 

Verification of identity

If you need verification of your identity, we may be able to assist. DFAT verifies a person's identity using only the DFAT Identity Certificate - Identity certification only form. We cannot complete individual forms from other organisations or agencies (such as banks). Before approaching us for this service, please ensure you confirm with your receiving authority that the "DFAT Identity Certificate - Identity certification only" form is acceptable, and confirm what documents need certifying in order to verify your identity. Fees apply per document per copy.

Verification of identity which requires witnessing your signature

Depending on the receiving authorities' requirements, some may require us to witness your signature as part of your identity verification. In such a case, we will witness your signature and issue you a DFAT Identity Certificate - Witnessing signature and identity certification form, which includes providing certified copies of your ID documents in accordance with the receiving authority's requirements. Fees apply per signature witnessed and per certified copy.

If the receiving authority must have their own forms completed and will not accept the DFAT Identity Certificates, then you must seek the services of other qualified authorities such as Notarial Publics. You should confirm with the receiving authority that they will accept the documents notarised by these authorities before requesting their services.

 

Services we cannot provide

Justice of the Peace (JP) services

Australian Justice of the Peace (JP) services are available WITHIN Australia only. JPs work under the jurisdiction of each state or territory in Australia, so there are no JPs in Japan.

Consular Officers at the Australian Embassy in Tokyo can provide Notarial Services (as seen above) as Authorised Consular Employees or Consular Officers, empowered under the Consular Fees Act 1955. Australian consular staff are not JPs.

 

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 the Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation "TSUNAGARI" Tokyo Intercultural Portal site.

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.

 

Department of Home Affairs - Form 1195 Identity Declaration

The Department of Home Affairs advises that Australian consular officers who do not know the person applying for citizenship or evidence of citizenship (the applicant) CANNOT complete the Department of Home Affairs Form 1195 Identity Declaration.

Refer to information on Form 1195 under ‘Who can complete the identity declaration’ for more information. Importantly, the person completing the form and certifying the photograph must know the child.

For further enquiries regarding the Department of Home Affairs - Form 1195 Identity Declaration, please contact the Department of Home Affairs directly:

Department of Home Affairs Global Service Centre (GSC) Telephone Enquiries : +61 2 6196 0196 (Japanese language support services available)
Written Enquiries: Australian Immigration Enquiry Form
Once the form is submitted, a Department of Home Affairs representative will respond to your enquiry.

 

 

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