Spring 2021 - Plan Ahead for when Sydney reopens for business

It's 1 September 2021 - the first day of Spring. If you've been paying attention to the news, you'd know that the NSW Government has been hinting at a move towards lifting the current restrictions and allowing businesses to reopen. For all our clients who have been waiting patiently, thank you.

As soon as the restrictions have been lifted, we plan to reopen with revised processes and procedures to align ourselves with a post-vaccination society. This means, subject to government announcements or directions regarding the requirement for vaccinations, we'll be ensuring that all of our staff who are present in our office have been fully vaccinated and all clients who must visit our office are also fully vaccinated.

What's so important about vaccination?

The lack of immunity and the associated fear is largely what's driven the pandemic panic in Australia. Unlike what people have experienced overseas, we haven't had mass infections or deaths as a result of the coronavirus. Perhaps that's why there have been pockets of ambivalence within our community, much to our own risk. Despite the relatively low numbers in Australia, taking these steps (any or all of these steps) to prevent the global pandemic from becoming a true Australian epidemic is necessary.

We're sure that for all the people who have passed away due to COVID-19 all over the world, especially pre-vaccination, they had no chance or choice. In that sense, we're fortunate that there's now a vaccine available and if those people had a choice, do you think they would have taken it knowing that the alternative was almost certain death? Sadly, we know people who have died from the coronavirus and many of our clients (especially with family in India) have suffered the loss of a loved one from it as well. Perhaps if you know someone, it also puts it into context for you to make your own decision about vaccination.

Let's be clear though, this position certainly doesn't make us "pro-vax" and we certainly wouldn't be labeling anyone who disagrees as "anti-vax". Right now, we're just assessing the current situation for what it is with a view to formulating a clear position and a path to move forward. That's how we can best help everyone else around us make their own decision and plan ahead as well.

Doing our bit

We acknowledge that vaccination doesn't actually mean immunity, but it does give the community a fighting chance against infection or possibly spreading it. Of course, being fully vaccinated doesn't stop us from following other practices like social distancing, wearing masks, or disinfecting the office - it just helps.

Our office policy to ensure that all of our staff have been fully vaccinated is not only in their best interest, but yours too - and it doesn't just end there. It protects us and our family, them and their family, and you and your family or anyone who just so happens to come into contact with any of us along the way. The last thing we would want is for your visit to our office to have long-lasting serious health consequences for anyone.

Of course, if you choose not to vaccinate, that's your own decision as well and we don't specifically have a problem with that either - that's your own choice. It just means that with the way things are going, we might not be able to help you if the services that you need also require you to be physically present in our office. That's not just for your own safety, but also for our own and our staff (and all our families etc - anyway, you get the point). If the services that you need don't require you to be physically present in our office, then it doesn't really matter whether you're vaccinated or not. Many of our services can still be done online, as we've pointed out several times in this blog. Services such as certifying or verifying and certifying certain documents can still happen without you coming to the office, but if you need us to witness you sign a document or you need us to verify your identity, then this would require you to be physically present in our office and therefore, vaccinated.

Get ready

So while it hasn't been confirmed as yet and as mentioned we're waiting on the next round of state and federal government announcements on the matter, we're just asking everyone who plans on visiting us for notary public services once the restrictions have been lifted, to prepare themselves accordingly. As you may know, the vaccination process from the first dose to the second dose does take a few weeks and so it would be necessary to plan that in advance to ensure that you're fully vaccinated by the time Sydney is open for business. Even if the government (or we) do not impose mandatory vaccination, isn't it in your best interest anyway? Just something to consider.

Another week, increasing infections and the possible extension to restrictions in Sydney

If you're to ask us whether the restrictions will be lifted on 28 August 2021 as previously announced by the NSW Government, we'll honestly tell you that we don't think they will be (or should be) considering the increasing number of reported cases of infection.

Basically, this means we must be prepared for the current arrangement to continue.

No witnessing

At the moment, we have suspended our witnessing services simply because you cannot come to our office. Witnessing requires you to be here, in person, and physically sign your document in our presence. We must see you sign and we must identify you before we can also sign as your witness and notarise or attest your document to confirm that it was signed by you and that we witnessed you sign. That's a pretty simple exercise under normal circumstances, but not possible with the current restrictions.

Alternatives to physical signing and witnessing

If you're looking for an alternative to a face-to-face appointment, you need to speak to your lawyer overseas to see whether they'll accept your document being signed in any other way (ie, digital signatures) without it being notarised in Australia. Otherwise, we can't offer an alternative to the traditional process of signing, witnessing and notarising.

In New South Wales, and for documents used here (in NSW and potentially in other parts of Australia), the NSW government introduced legislation that recognises electronic signing and electronic witnessing of documents. This legislation was introduced last year (2020) and has been extended to deal with the current situation. However, this applies to documents used here only. It doesn't apply to notary public services and doesn't apply to documents intended to be used in India. For the requirements of your document to be used in India, you need to ask your lawyer in India as it must comply with the laws in India (and for each specific state etc) not New South Wales.

For all other documents not requiring witnessing...

For all other documents not requiring witnessing, such as certifying or attesting copies of documents, these notary public services are still continuing as they have been over the last few weeks.

If you need a certified copy of your document to be attested or notarised (ie, passports or Australian birth certificates etc), we can:

  • Arrange for a same-day courier to collect your original documents from you and deliver them to our office
  • Copy your original documents and notarise them
  • Arrange for a same-day courier to return your original documents and notarised copies to you

This service will continue even after the restrictions have been lifted for clients who wish to take advantage of this service to avoid the time, hassle and potential risks of visiting our office during the pandemic.

What next?

To obtain a quote on our notary public services for India, please visit https://www.notary-parramatta.com.au/notary-fees/.

Get quote to notarise Indian documents

Acknowledgements

This blog is supported and maintained by Phang Legal. Phang Legal is a leading provider of notary public services in Sydney. With offices conveniently located in Parramatta, Phang Legal supports and services the Indian community across Sydney with readily available and easily accessible notary public services at highly competitive rates.

For more information regarding notary public services for documents going to India, view our notary publications at https://www.notary-parramatta.com.au/jurisdiction/india-notary/.

Frequently asked questions regarding our notary public services can also be found at https://www.notary-parramatta.com.au/faqs/.

For Hindi to English translation services by NAATI accredited translators, see https://hindi-naati-translation.blogspot.com.au/.

Ern Phang
Notary Public

Ern Phang is the solicitor director of Phang Legal and a notary public. Ern regularly writes about his experiences as a notary public, including the kinds of problems and solutions that his clients face when sending documents to India.

IMPORTANT: the information in this article is correct at the time of publication, however the law constantly changes. This means you should always refer to the most recent articles because we try to update this blog on a regular basis with the most current information.

Declaring that you're the one and the same person

How do you prove that you're the one and the same person?

There are various reasons why you need to be able to prove that you're the one and the same person, especially when it comes to dealing with VFS. In this article, we address the two main requests that we receive from clients - namely, Form J and the IDLV process.

Form J - Statutory Declaration for Change of Appearance

For some people, they've changed their appearance and therefore VFS requires them to file Form J. For example, if you've grown/cut your hair, if you previously wore a turban, if you were a child but now are an adult, or you've had an accident or surgery that changes your appearance.

Previously, Form J could be signed in front of a justice of the peace however, after recent changes (in 2020) that's no longer the case. Even though the form hasn't changed and it still refers to a justice of the peace, if you live in New South Wales, you must declare and sign this form in front of a notary public. The notary public must notarise your form before you can submit it to VFS. If you're not sure about what to do with the form or how it should be signed, please visit the VFS website or contact them for more information.

We assist many clients by taking their declaration (that they have changed their appearance), witnessing them sign the form and notarising the form. Unfortunately (as of August 2021) we've had to suspend this service due to the current restrictions and stay-at-home orders from the NSW Government, but as soon as these restrictions have been lifted we intend to resume these services.

IDLV - Indian Drivers Licence Verification

If you want to convert your Indian drivers licence to a NSW drivers licence and you want to have your past driving history recognised here (so that you don't have to start again with a learners licence), you may need to follow the IDLV process from VFS.

If your name on your passport and your Indian drivers licence aren't identical, your application must also include an affidavit declaring that you're the one and the same person which needs to be signed in front of a notary public and include an apostille stamp from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). Again, this is a process that we assist many clients with because there's always been a requirement for notarisation.

If you need help with this process, then as part of our IDLV service offering, we prepare:

  • the IDLV affidavit in which you declare that you're the one and the same person
  • a notary certificate in which we declare that you appear to be the one and the same person, and
  • certified and notarised copies of your Indian passport and Indian drivers licence.

After your documents have been notarised and bound together, we then arrange for the apostille stamp from DFAT. As Australia and India are both members of the Apostille Convention, the apostille stamp is the formal recognition between both countries that the document has been properly notarised and will be accepted by the other without any additional authentication or legalisation.

Again, unfortunately, due to the current restrictions and stay-at-home orders from the NSW Government, we've also had to suspend these services until these restrictions have been lifted. If you're intending to submit the IDLV application to VFS, there are other things that you'll still need to do and prepare for before we can assist you. so please review the checklist first.

What next?

To obtain a quote on our notary public services for India, please visit https://www.notary-parramatta.com.au/notary-fees/.

Get quote to notarise Indian documents

Acknowledgements

This blog is supported and maintained by Phang Legal. Phang Legal is a leading provider of notary public services in Sydney. With offices conveniently located in Parramatta, Phang Legal supports and services the Indian community across Sydney with readily available and easily accessible notary public services at highly competitive rates.

For more information regarding notary public services for documents going to India, view our notary publications at https://www.notary-parramatta.com.au/jurisdiction/india-notary/.

Frequently asked questions regarding our notary public services can also be found at https://www.notary-parramatta.com.au/faqs/.

For Hindi to English translation services by NAATI accredited translators, see https://hindi-naati-translation.blogspot.com.au/.

Ern Phang
Notary Public

Ern Phang is the solicitor director of Phang Legal and a notary public. Ern regularly writes about his experiences as a notary public, including the kinds of problems and solutions that his clients face when sending documents to India.

IMPORTANT: the information in this article is correct at the time of publication, however the law constantly changes. This means you should always refer to the most recent articles because we try to update this blog on a regular basis with the most current information.

No face-to-face appointments until the restrictions have been lifted

Like everyone else, we're also affected by the restrictions that have been imposed across Sydney. Since the end of June, we have suspended a large portion of our notary public services that require face-to-face appointments. We know it's an inconvenience to many of our clients, especially those who have urgent matters that require documents to be signed, witnessed, and notarised - but we don't make this decision lightly as it also comes at a substantial financial cost to us.

While we appreciate the continued interest and support from people enquiring with our office for assistance, we are also saddened and disappointed at the level of anger and argument that has been directed at us for complying with the current restrictions and 'stay-at-home' orders. To those people, just because we can't help you right now, we're not the cause of your problem or the reason for your predicament. Stop blaming us.

Many clients continue to benefit from our service IF they don't require face-to-face appointments. In those cases, they've accepted our offer to arrange for couriers to collect and deliver their important documents. However, for everyone else especially those who need face-to-face appointments, we apologise. We cannot assist you until the restrictions have been lifted.

The current restrictions are difficult for everyone. We understand. We also ask for understanding in return.

Same-Day Courier and Notary Public Services for clients across Sydney

Finding practical solutions during the restrictions in Sydney

The current restrictions and 'stay at home' orders in Greater Sydney will continue for the remainder of the month. This means that for many people who thought they could wait until our office reopens will now have to consider other alternatives to notarise their documents. Our office will remain closed to the public for face-to-face appointments until the restrictions have been lifted after 28 August 2021 (unless extended).

Despite being closed to the public for face-to-face appointments, we have continued to provide notary public services to the Indian community in a limited capacity.

No witnessing

Due to the restrictions, we aren't able to offer witnessing services. Witnessing services requires you to visit our office in person which you cannot do because of the 'stay at home' orders. Accordingly, this means we cannot notarise documents such as the general power of attorney, special power of attorney or other forms and declarations. You need to sign these documents in person and in our office, and so you'll have to wait until the restrictions have been lifted and our office reopens.

Certifying and attesting copies of document continuing

As for documents that don't require witnessing, we can still assist by notarising those depending on what you require. For example, we're still attesting, certifying and notarising copies of original public documents like passports, Australian birth certificates, Australian marriage certificates or Australian drivers licences. In all cases, this requires us to have the original document and that's where we engage same-day courier services to collect the original document from you and return it to you (with the notarised copies) once it's been completed.

Same day courier service

Some of you have already taken up our offer of including same-day courier services with our notary public services and, despite the occasional hiccup, we think it's working well. Those who have taken advantage of this service have benefited from having their documents notarised and returned to them with minimal hassle and fuss. Although it's more expensive than just notarisation, there are certainly benefits of using the same-day courier as it avoids the effort, time and expense of travelling to our office and that's a blessing that some people can appreciate.

Of course, we admit not everything is perfect and there have been some challenges in using a courier service especially during these restrictions. But please understand that the courier services are actually under higher demand than usual since many people are complying with the 'stay at home' orders and are now relying on these courier services as well.

So if you're in urgent need of notary public services, and you need copies of original documents (such as passports, drivers licences, VEVO/Visa documents) to be attested, certified and notarised, then this is the only available solution at this time.

... or wait

For everyone else, there's still the option of waiting until after the restrictions have been lifted. Assuming the situation in Sydney improves, then we expect the restrictions should be lifted by the end of August 2021. However, please don't ask us when the restrictions will be lifted. We know as much as you know and that's all dependent on government announcements. If you're able to wait, then wait. We'll still be offering notary public services and we can attend to your requirements at that time, otherwise if you urgently need to have your documents certified, attested and notarised and you want to do it now - please take advantage of our current service offering including the same-day courier service.

Attesting copies of your passport (and other documents) during the lockdown

Notary public services continue for some documents

At the moment our office is closed to the public due to the restrictions and the current stay-at-home orders in place across Greater Sydney. However, as a leading provider of notary public services in Sydney that hasn't stopped us from continuing to offer notary public services in support of the Indian community with respect to certain documents.

While we can't provide witnessing services (ie, for the power of attorney or declarations or affidavits) right now, we can still attest, certify and notarise copies of original documents such as:

If you're in urgent need of these services, then please review the following steps to see which relates to you. You can always call us on 02 9687 8885 if you have any questions about whether we're able to assist you and you can always choose to wait until the restrictions have been lifted to make an appointment with our office.

Attesting copies of original passports

Original passports should be delivered to us by courier. You can attempt to post it to us, however considering that items often are lost in the mail, we don't recommend this method.

A courier service is generally a door-to-door service. If you have any trouble arranging your own courier, we can arrange for a courier to collect your documents from you. The courier service that we use is generally a same-day service across Sydney, which sometimes means we can arrange for a collection in the morning and a return delivery by the afternoon (or the following business day at the latest).

Many of our clients have already elected to use service to great success and satisfaction, and so it's already a proven process during these past few weeks.

Attesting copies of Australian visas (VEVO)

As the VEVO is an electronic document, we can verify and notarise a copy of your VEVO without a physical document. In order to notarise your VEVO, we must verify your visa status and obtain a copy of your VEVO from the Department of Home Affairs. This allows us to confirm the details of your visa and we notarise a true and correct printed copy of the electronic document (ie, your VEVO) that we obtain from the Department of Home Affairs.

In most cases (because we offer discount pricing), we notarise a copy of your VEVO with a copy of your passport which also means that you'll need to provide us with your original passport as well (see above). However, if you prefer to avoid the logistics of sending your passport, we can notarise the VEVO by itself.

Once we have notarised your VEVO (and your passport), we arrange for a same-day courier to return the notarised documents (with any original documents) to you.

Attesting copies of Australian personal certificates

Birth certificates, marriage certificates, and death certificates issued in Australia (or for this specifically, issued from NSW) are issued by the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages.

You must either arrange for these documents to be issued by the Registry directly to our office or if you have the original you can either post them or have them delivered to us by a courier. As these certificates can generally be easy to replace (ie, it's just an application to the Registry) we think using the post should be sufficient and it's unnecessary to incur the additional cost of a courier unless you wish to have the possibility of a same-day service or you have other documents, such as your passport.

After we've notarised copies of your certificates, we're able to return the original certificate and the notarised copy to you by same-day courier.

Attesting copies of Australian police clearance certificates

Police certificates issued by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) or the NSW Police can also be sent to us by mail or by courier. We require the original certificate as it contains security features which is important for the purposes of verifying that the document is original and authentic.

If you've obtained your certificate from an authorised accredited body, we can generally verify these certificates online through the relevant website as they're normally issued electronically. If you're not sure whether you can rely on a certificate from an authorised accredited body, we recommend applying for your police clearance certificate from the AFP or NSW Police.

Once we've notarised your police clearance certificate, we'll arrange for it to be returned to you by same-day courier.

Attesting copies of Australian drivers licences

We cannot notarise copies of your digital drivers licence. This means that if you want copies of your drivers licence to be notarised, you must arrange for your original drivers licence to be delivered to us.

We recommend using a courier service to deliver your drivers licence to us rather than sending it to us by post. Once we receive your drivers licence, we're able to notarise a copy of it and return both the notarised copy and the original licence to you by same day courier.

We're unable to notarise copies of an overseas drivers licence UNLESS it's part of our Indian Drivers Licence Verification (IDLV) service. For the time being, due to the current restrictions, we've suspended our IDLV service as it also requires you to attend our office in person to verify your identity and to sign the IDLV affidavit.

Attesting copies of Australian utility bills

If you're attempting to provide evidence of your current address (ie, to VFS) by supplying a copy of your utility bill, it's likely that your utility bill must be notarised. As most utility providers now issue their bills and statements electronically, you must to arrange for your provider to email a copy of your bill to us directly.

Once we receive your bill from your provider, we're able to verify and certify the bill by confirming that it was received directly from your provider. We can then notarise your utility bill on that basis. After we've notarised your utility bill, we'll arrange to have it returned to you by same-day courier which means this  process can be completed quite quickly.

What next?

To obtain a quote on our notary public services for India, please visit https://www.notary-parramatta.com.au/notary-fees/.

Get quote to notarise Indian documents

Acknowledgements

This blog is supported and maintained by Phang Legal. Phang Legal is a leading provider of notary public services in Sydney. With offices conveniently located in Parramatta, Phang Legal supports and services the Indian community across Sydney with readily available and easily accessible notary public services at highly competitive rates.

For more information regarding notary public services for documents going to India, view our notary publications at https://www.notary-parramatta.com.au/jurisdiction/india-notary/.

Frequently asked questions regarding our notary public services can also be found at https://www.notary-parramatta.com.au/faqs/.

For Hindi to English translation services by NAATI accredited translators, see https://hindi-naati-translation.blogspot.com.au/.

Ern Phang
Notary Public

Ern Phang is the solicitor director of Phang Legal and a notary public. Ern regularly writes about his experiences as a notary public, including the kinds of problems and solutions that his clients face when sending documents to India.

IMPORTANT: the information in this article is correct at the time of publication, however the law constantly changes. This means you should always refer to the most recent articles because we try to update this blog on a regular basis with the most current information.

Surviving the lockdown when you need to get things done

Thank you to everyone who has asked about our notary public services. We appreciate your interest and consideration, however as we would have mentioned to you over the phone or by reply email - our office remains closed to the public while the current restrictions and 'stay at home' orders are in place. Stay tuned to government announcements in case the restrictions are extended.

Of course, we understand that some people have very urgent matters that they need to attend to overseas and that delays can be costly. We wish we could help. Our notary public services rely heavily on face-to-face appointments and so the current situation is not ideal for us either.

We will continue to review this situation as it unfolds and in light of government announcements. Further updates will be announced in due course.

What can we notarise during the restrictions in Greater Sydney? (July 2021 update)

We are currently closed for face-to-face appointments

Thanks for your continued interest in our services and our support. Unfortunately, due to the extended restrictions across Greater Sydney, our office is still closed to face-to-face appointments until further notice.

What does this mean?

We're still providing legal and notary public services, however, they're limited to services that don't require face-to-face appointments. These services include:

  • Attesting or certifying copies of documents. Generally, this still means that you must arrange for the original document to be delivered to our office*. We do NOT recommend posting important original documents like passports but if it's urgent and absolutely necessary, then you should arrange for your document to be couriered to our office. Once notarised, our office will arrange for a return courier to ensure that your original documents and notarised copies are returned to you safely and securely.
  • Verifying documents. If you have certain electronic documents that must be verified (such as Australian visa documents (ie, VEVO), Australian educational documents, Australian medical documents, Australian employment documents), these documents can be verified (before being notarised) with whoever issued the documents. Alternatively, if these documents are not electronic documents and there are only original documents, then the same applies as attesting and certifying. We require the original documents to be delivered to our office* before we can contact whoever issued the documents to verify them.

*If you personally deliver original documents to our office, you may be subject to a fine for breaching the current 'stay-at-home' orders. Any documents must be able to be slipped under our door as our office will NOT receive you or open the door for you when you arrive.

Accordingly, we can only recommend that you arrange for your document to be sent by courier (or if you are not concerned that the document could be lost, arrange for it to be posted) otherwise we suggest waiting until the restrictions have been lifted.

Importantly, during the current restrictions, we are not providing services that require a face-to-face appointment, mainly this refers to services that include witnessing. This means we cannot notarise documents such as:

  • Power of attorney, both general power of attorney and special power of attorney.
  • Declarations and affidavits (including the Indian Drivers Licence Verification)
  • Passport renewal forms such as Form V, Form I, or Form J
  • Australian visa renewal such as Form 1229
  • Life certificates
  • Court documents

For this service or for any of these documents that require witnessing or a face-to-face appointment, you must wait until the restrictions have been lifted before calling our office to make an appointment.

Update

Restrictions for Greater Sydney have now been extended to 30 July 2021.

COVID-19 Update - Restrictions in Sydney

Due to the NSW Government announcement and 'stay at home' orders, our office will be closing for face-to-face notary public services until further notice (until restrictions have been lifted).

This means we are unable to assist you if you need to have your signature witnessed or your identity verified (as this requires you to be physically present in our office).

If you have documents that must be certified (ie, copies of passports), we can still assist provided you are able to arrange to have your original passport delivered to our office for certification. Our office will not be receiving documents personally from any individual and so original documents must be slipped under our office door or delivered to us by courier (preferably not by post). 

If you have electronic documents that must be attested (ie, VEVO, employment documents, education documents), you can arrange for these documents to be sent to us directly by the issuing organisation for attestation. 

All documents (ie, notarised documents and originals documents, if any) will only be returned to you by same-day courier unless you wish to wait until the restrictions have been lifted in order to collect them from our office.

Please be aware that we are not considered an essential service and therefore if you insist on visiting our office, you risk a fine for breaching existing orders and we will not receive you at our office.


Attesting and notarising copies of Passports for Police Clearance Certificates

Applying for Police Clearance Certificates?

Applying for police clearance certificates requires a number of attested/notarised documents. For example:

  • If your appearance has changed, you must submit Form J which has been notarised after you have signed it in front of a notary public. Form J is available for download from the VFS website (https://www.vfsglobal.com/india/australia/passport_service/pdf/Form-J.pdf). Witnessing you sign Form J means you must make an appointment to attend our office in person and sign the form in our presence. We then confirm that you are the person who signed the form and we witness your signature and notarise the form.
  • If you are a foreign national, you must submit a notarised copy of your passport. You must arrange for your original passport to be presented to us. We will make a copy and notarise that copy certifying that it is a true and correct copy of the original passport.
  • We also understand that some Indian nationals who do not wish to submit their original Indian passport can also submit a notarised copy of their Indian passport instead of the original.

We provide low cost fixed fee services to attest and notarise a copy of your passport. Check out our recent Google Reviews to see what others have to say about us. https://g.page/phanglegal?share

For more information about applying for the police clearance certificate from VFS, please visit their website and the relevant checklist found on their website (https://www.vfsglobal.com/india/australia/passport_service/pdf/checklist-for-pcc-updated.pdf)

What next?

To obtain a quote on our notary public services for India, please visit https://www.notary-parramatta.com.au/notary-fees/.

Get quote to notarise Indian documents

Acknowledgements

This blog is supported and maintained by Phang Legal. Phang Legal is a leading provider of notary public services in Sydney. With offices conveniently located in Parramatta, Phang Legal supports and services the Indian community across Sydney with readily available and easily accessible notary public services at highly competitive rates.

For more information regarding notary public services for documents going to India, view our notary publications at https://www.notary-parramatta.com.au/jurisdiction/india-notary/.

Frequently asked questions regarding our notary public services can also be found at https://www.notary-parramatta.com.au/faqs/.

For Hindi to English translation services by NAATI accredited translators, see https://hindi-naati-translation.blogspot.com.au/.

Ern Phang
Notary Public

Ern Phang is the solicitor director of Phang Legal and a notary public. Ern regularly writes about his experiences as a notary public, including the kinds of problems and solutions that his clients face when sending documents to India.

IMPORTANT: the information in this article is correct at the time of publication, however the law constantly changes. This means you should always refer to the most recent articles because we try to update this blog on a regular basis with the most current information.

Australian Visa Labels in Indian Passports

What happened to Australian visa labels?

Since 1 September 2015, Australia stopped issuing physical visa labels in foreign passports as proof of a person's Australian visa and moved to an electronic visa system. All Australian visas can now be checked or accessed through the Visa Entitlement Verification Online system (VEVO) maintained by the Department of Home Affairs on behalf of the Australian Government.

VEVO allows visa holders, employers, education providers and other organisations to check visa details and conditions online and it provides up to date and accurate information.

When clients ask us to notarise their visas, this generally means we notarise a copy of their visa as provided by VEVO and after verifying it online with VEVO.

Do I need to notarise my visa through VEVO for VFS?

According to several VFS checklists, you may be required to provide a copy of your passport. For example, for issuing a passport for a minor (under 18 years old), one of the requirements is to provide:

Attach copies of passports of both the parents (First, Last & Visa page- Attested by JP or Notary).

(NSW residents kindly submit documents attested by a Notary Public only, list of NSW notaries available at: https://notarynsw.org.au/find-a-notary)

Not only do you need to provide a copy, but it would need to also be attested. If you live in New South Wales, then your passport must be attested by a notary public - and this is why we receive so many enquiries for this service, but it's not as straight forward as it appears.

What does it mean by "First, Last & Visa page"?

For most passports, regardless of country, the 'first page' is generally a reference to the biographical or details page of the passport holder. This is the page that contains the photograph of the passport holder, their name, date of birth, place of birth, date of issue and expiry etc. Information contained on this page, including the photograph of the passport holder, is the most important information which identifies the passport holder. It would not matter where your passport was issued from, if you need to provide a copy of your passport then it would always include the first page.

In some passports, the 'last page' sometimes has additional information like signatures, emergency contact details, or addresses. In other passports, there is no information because that additional information appears on the second or third page following the biographical page. In the Australian passport, the last page has very little beneficial information (ie, it allows the passport holder to write their address - suggested to be written in pencil so that it can be changed). However, in the Indian passport. the last page contains official information such as the passport holder's father's name, mother's name and addresses. Accordingly, if you have an Australian passport or any other foreign passport that has little to no information on the last page, there would be little to no reason to provide a copy of the last page. If you have an Indian passport, then it would be very important to provide a copy of the last page.

The 'Visa page' contains stamps from various countries confirming visas - however, as discussed, Australia no longer provides visa stamps in foreign passports. Occasionally, depending on how the passport holder enters Australia, there may have been entry or exit stamps, but these are not visa stamps or labels. Without original visa stamps or labels, if you are carrying a foreign passport in Australia, then you do not have a visa page for Australia - and there is where much of the confusion arises when our clients attempt to interpret the requirements outlined in the VFS checklist.

If I do not have a Visa page in my passport, do I provide a copy of my VEVO?

Due to the VFS checklist and the requirement to provide a notarised copy of their passport visa page, many clients also ask us to notarise a copy of their VEVO to confirm their visa status in Australia. However, it is questionable whether this is actually required. Read on.

In our experience, an increasing number of clients have started to 'ignore' this requirement in the VFS checklist, or at least acknowledge that it is not relevant since there is no visa page in their passport. Some clients have unsuccessfully tried to contact VFS for clarification and given up only to rely on their own interpretation, while other clients have managed to speak to someone at VFS and they have been told (as they have reported to us) that the visa page is not required in Australia - and that makes sense.

It is possible that the VFS checklist was based on a generic document that has been applied across different jurisdictions/countries, and the requirements contained in the checklist may not have been properly adapted to address the electronic visa system in Australia. For example, not every passport will have a last page or a last page with important information and not every passport will have a visa page with stamps or labels. If these pages do not exist in your passport, then how can you provide them? Naturally, most people will tend to be cautious and want to provide more information than less information - but that also potentially increases the cost as well as the time and inconvenience when it could just as easily be avoided.

Final words

If you are concerned about the process or the requirements outlined in any VFS checklist (especially the cost of having your VEVO notarised or any other requirement associated with having your documents notarised), you should always check with VFS first. As they are notoriously difficult to connect with, we also encourage you to plan ahead and attempt to sort out these issues well before you actually need to action your request.

Unfortunately, we receive many enquiries from clients who need to have things sorted on the same day, and while we are able to accommodate more often than not, they remain confused and unsure about the process without enough time to check (meaning they probably spend more time and money or make things more complicated than what they need to be). A word of warning so that you do not get caught out in the same situation.

What next?

To obtain a quote on our notary public services for India, please visit https://www.notary-parramatta.com.au/notary-fees/.

Get quote to notarise Indian documents

Acknowledgements

This blog is supported and maintained by Phang Legal. Phang Legal is a leading provider of notary public services in Sydney. With offices conveniently located in Parramatta, Phang Legal supports and services the Indian community across Sydney with readily available and easily accessible notary public services at highly competitive rates.

For more information regarding notary public services for documents going to India, view our notary publications at https://www.notary-parramatta.com.au/jurisdiction/india-notary/.

Frequently asked questions regarding our notary public services can also be found at https://www.notary-parramatta.com.au/faqs/.

For Hindi to English translation services by NAATI accredited translators, see https://hindi-naati-translation.blogspot.com.au/.

Ern Phang
Notary Public

Ern Phang is the solicitor director of Phang Legal and a notary public. Ern regularly writes about his experiences as a notary public, including the kinds of problems and solutions that his clients face when sending documents to India.

IMPORTANT: the information in this article is correct at the time of publication, however the law constantly changes. This means you should always refer to the most recent articles because we try to update this blog on a regular basis with the most current information.

Do you need witnesses for the General Power of Attorney or Special Power of Attorney for India?

Why do you need witnesses?

Many clients ask us whether they need to have witnesses for their power of attorney (both General Power of Attorney and Special Power of Attorney) for India. If you find yourself in the same situation, the simple answer is that you should ask your lawyer in India.

Many of the 'standard' forms and templates for the power of attorney that clients show us (either provided to them by their lawyer, by their bank or by a government office) include a place for 1 or 2 witnesses.

If you were to sign these powers of attorney in India, then presumably you would just follow the requirements in the documents and sign it in front of those witnesses. Those witnesses would then include their details (ie, full name and address) and sign in the spaces provided once you have signed in front of them. Signing in their presence is generally necessary as that is the obligation of the witness to verify that you have signed in front of them.

But what if you are signing the power of attorney here? Do these same requirements apply when you are living in Australia and you are signing the power of attorney for India? Your lawyer in India should be able to advise you on this specific requirement.

Signing the Power of Attorney in Australia

In most cases, if you are living in Australia but you are signing the power of attorney to be used in India, then you would need to sign that power of attorney in front of a notary public (perhaps in addition to the witnesses).

The General Power of Attorney and the Special Power of Attorney must be attested. While the word 'attested' does not clearly indicate what needs to be done to the document, generally this will mean that you must sign the document in front of the notary public and the notary public certifies that you identified yourself by photograph identification and that you signed the document in front of the notary public.

In addition to notarisation, sometimes the notarised power of attorney must also be attested by VFS on behalf of the Indian Consulate. If you are not sure, then these are the questions that you need to ask your lawyer in India. If you have been asked to have your document attested by VFS, then you will also need to check the VFS requirements on their website (ie, there are checklists for documents such as the power of attorney) and ensure that you satisfy them before you visit VFS. These requirements could also include having the notarised power of attorney stamped with an apostille from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (but if you want to know more about this, maybe look through some of the other articles that we have written on this blog).

Get the right advice

Whatever transaction you are planning in India, whether it is to do with property dealings, financial and money matters, or court and legal action, your lawyer who is assisting you with those things will be the best person to advise you as to the specific requirements that they must satisfy in order for your document to be accepted in India. If you do not satisfy these requirements, then you run the risk of having your document rejected and starting all over again - not only a waste of money but a waste of time as well.

Unfortunately, in our experience, many clients do not obtain the right (or clear) advice from their lawyer in India. If this happens to you too, there is not much that we can do to assist in this process and it is up to your lawyer in India to either inform themselves of the specific requirements of whatever they are doing for you - in the context of you being in Australia but signing documents for India - or potentially refer you to another lawyer in India who might be more familiar with the requirements.

Some clients have approached us with documents, like the power of attorney, prepared by lawyers in Australia. We generally do not recommend doing that if those lawyers are not familiar with the laws or the process and procedures in India (keep in mind that there can also be differences between each state and various localities as well as various courts and government offices). A lawyer in Australia is going to be so detached from whatever you are actually doing in India that they are only really guessing what is required without actually knowing what is required. Accordingly, your best advice is always going to be from your lawyer in India especially the lawyer who will actually be using the power of attorney to assist you in whatever you are hoping to achieve in India.

Who can be your witness?

We only provide the services of the notary public and not of other witnesses. If you need to have additional witnesses, you will need to bring them with you - preferably someone that you know rather than a 'stranger'. Your witnesses will also need to be able to properly identify themselves (ie, passport) and be present at the same time as you when you come for your appointment. When we notarise your document we will also confirm that you AND your witnesses both appeared and signed the document in our presence.

What next?

To obtain a quote on our notary public services for India, please visit https://www.notary-parramatta.com.au/notary-fees/.

Get quote to notarise Indian documents

Acknowledgements

This blog is supported and maintained by Phang Legal. Phang Legal is a leading provider of notary public services in Sydney. With offices conveniently located in Parramatta, Phang Legal supports and services the Indian community across Sydney with readily available and easily accessible notary public services at highly competitive rates.

For more information regarding notary public services for documents going to India, view our notary publications at https://www.notary-parramatta.com.au/jurisdiction/india-notary/.

Frequently asked questions regarding our notary public services can also be found at https://www.notary-parramatta.com.au/faqs/.

For Hindi to English translation services by NAATI accredited translators, see https://hindi-naati-translation.blogspot.com.au/.

Ern Phang
Notary Public

Ern Phang is the solicitor director of Phang Legal and a notary public. Ern regularly writes about his experiences as a notary public, including the kinds of problems and solutions that his clients face when sending documents to India.

IMPORTANT: the information in this article is correct at the time of publication, however, the law constantly changes. This means you should always refer to the most recent articles because we try to update this blog on a regular basis with the most current information.

Form V - Can you help me complete this form?

Lost your Indian passport or damaged your Indian passport?

If you've lost or damaged your Indian passport, you'll need to apply to VFS for a replacement. The way you do this is by submitting Form V (please make sure you visit the VFS website to obtain the latest version of this form as it could change without notice).

FORM V, also known as the AFFIDAVIT FOR A PASSPORT IN LIEU OF LOST/DAMAGED PASSPORT, requires you to complete the details contained in the affidavit and then declare and sign it in front of a notary public - that's us!

What information do you need for FORM V?

FORM V contains a number of questions that you must answer. If you don't properly answer the questions or provide the information necessary, your form could be rejected.

I S/o, D/o, W/o Shri... residing at ...

Solemnly affirm as follows:

1. State how and when the passport was lost/damaged and when FIR was lodged at which Police Station and how many passports were lost/damaged earlier?

2. State whether you travelled on the lost/damaged passport, if so state flight number and date and port of entry into India?

3. State whether you availed of any TR concessions/FTS allowance and if so details thereof?

4. State whether non-resident Indian and if resident abroad, the details of the residence as follows:

  • Name of the Country
  • Length of Residence from ...to...
  • Page Nos. of passport bearing departure and arrival stamps

5. State whether the passport had any objection by the PIA and if so the details thereof.

6. State whether you were deported at any time at the expense of the Government and if so was the expenditure incurred reimbursed to Government of India.

I further affirm that I will take utmost care of my passport if issued and the Government will be at liberty to take any legal action under the Passport Act, 1967, if the lapse is repeated.

Still not sure?

If you're not sure how to complete this form, you need to speak to VFS. Ultimately, our role is to confirm your identity, take your declaration, witness your signature and notarise your document.

What next?

To obtain a quote on our notary public services for India, please visit https://www.notary-parramatta.com.au/notary-fees/.

Get quote to notarise Indian documents

Acknowledgements

This blog is supported and maintained by Phang Legal. Phang Legal is a leading provider of notary public services in Sydney. With offices conveniently located in Parramatta, Phang Legal supports and services the Indian community across Sydney with readily available and easily accessible notary public services at highly competitive rates.

For more information regarding notary public services for documents going to India, view our notary publications at https://www.notary-parramatta.com.au/jurisdiction/india-notary/.

Frequently asked questions regarding our notary public services can also be found at https://www.notary-parramatta.com.au/faqs/.

For Hindi to English translation services by NAATI accredited translators, see https://hindi-naati-translation.blogspot.com.au/.

Ern Phang
Notary Public

Ern Phang is the solicitor director of Phang Legal and a notary public. Ern regularly writes about his experiences as a notary public, including the kinds of problems and solutions that his clients face when sending documents to India.

IMPORTANT: the information in this article is correct at the time of publication, however the law constantly changes. This means you should always refer to the most recent articles because we try to update this blog on a regular basis with the most current information.

Attesting copies of your passport - it's easy!

VFS checklist for document attestation

Have you noticed that many of the requirements for VFS have changed, especially for people living in New South Wales? Previously, copies of documents submitted to VFS could be attested or certified by a justice of the peace. That rule no longer applies for people living in New South Wales. If you live in New South Wales, copies of your original documents (such as passports) now must be attested and certified by a notary public (ie, notarised).

As a leading provider of notary public services, we're often asked to help people with attesting their passports. In many cases, clients need to submit a certified and notarised copy of their passports with their applications to have documents like a general power of attorney or special power of attorney attested by VFS. In some cases, the attested copy of their passport is required when applying for new passports, or applying for police checks, or applying for the OCI for them or their children.

How do I get my passport attested?

The process is simple. You just need to bring your original passport to our office, and we'll take care of the rest! It's actually a really quick process with some clients (especially if they've made an appointment) in and out within 5 minutes. It's that quick. It's that simple.

Do I have to make an appointment to attest my passport?

It's always recommended to make an appointment because this ensures that we're able to help you at the time you want to be helped. You could always just come to our office at your convenience, but that doesn't necessarily mean we can help you at that time as we're normally booked with other appointments to help other people. If you're happy to take your chances and to possibly wait, then an appointment is not necessary - but still recommended.

How do I make an appointment to have my passport attested?

Just contact us. It's best to make an appointment by calling us, but you can also contact us by email or by Facebook Messenger - through our website. Calling us ensures that the booking can be made in the fastest and easiest way, especially because most people call and so appointment times can be taken quickly and a lot faster than if you're trying to make a booking by email or Messenger.

Do I need to come in person for my passport to be notarised?

No, if we're just certifying or attesting a copy of the original passport, and we're not required to verify your identity or provide confirmation that you're the person in the passport, then you don't have to come to our office in person. You can send someone else as long as they bring your original passport with them. You could always send the original passport to us by mail, but we don't recommend doing this and we wouldn't return your original passport by mail either - it would only be by courier.

Can I bring someone else's passport to be attested

Yes, as long as you have the original passport then we can still copy and attest that passport even if the person who holds that passport is not present. If you're bringing someone elses passport to our office, our office will still need you to bring your own photograph identification (which could include your own passport) as proof of who you are for our records.

Do I need to make and bring my own copies of my passport?

If you need to have coloured copies of your passport, then you need to bring your own copies. Otherwse, and in most cases, our office will make our own copies of your passport - but it will be a black and white copy.

Will you attest all pages of my passport?

We'll attest whatever you need to have attested. In most cases, our clients only require the front and back page of the passport, if they carry an Indian Passport. Otherwise, if you have any other passport then generally it's only the front page. If you need to attest all pages of your passport, that's not a problem but be aware that our normally low cost fixed fee may change with the increasing number of pages that you need to have attested.

Will you attest the visa page in my passport?

These days, Australian visas no longer appears as a label in the passport. The only way to obtain evidence of the Australian visa is through the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) system. The requirement to attest the visa label in some VFS checklists may be outdated, or written with references to or based on other country requirements - not Australia. If you are concerned about satisfying this requirement, you should contact VFS directly to clarify. We can attest your VEVO or visa grant documents, however the cost associated with attesting this document is separate to and more expensive than attesting the passport.

Will you attest an expired passport?

If the expired passport is clearly an original passport, despite being expired, we'll still attest it. Attestation is simply confirmation that the document being attested is the copy of the original document regardless of its current status or validity. Whether you should be relying on an expired passport or should be using some other document is another question and you should check with VFS (or your lawyer handling whatever transaction you're involved in) before spending the money to have your expired passport attested.

Can I get my passport attested for free?

If you see a justice of the peace to certify a copy of your passport, then their service is free. If you are sending a copy of your passport overseas, cerification by a justice of the peace may not be acceptable. Generally, documents sent overseas (including copies of passports) need to be notarised by a notary public in order to be accepted. If you are sending your documents to VFS first, then make sure you follow the relevant VFS checklist which should detail whether your passport can be certified by a justice of peace (for free) or whether it needs to be attested by a notary public and essentially notarised. If your document must be notarised, there's usually a notary fee involved.

How much does it cost to attest my passport?

Fortunately, we have low cost fixed fees to attest copies of passports. Pricing will change from time to time and so it's always best to call and obtain a quote before you book an appointment, or you can visit our website and use our quoting tool. We try to maintain a notary fee that's lower than the recommended notary fees just to offer you that little bit extra in savings, especially for simple notary services like notarising copies of passports. We promise you won't be disappointed.

What next?

To obtain a quote on our notary public services for India, please visit https://www.notary-parramatta.com.au/notary-fees/.

Get quote to notarise Indian documents

Acknowledgements

This blog is supported and maintained by Phang Legal. Phang Legal is a leading provider of notary public services in Sydney. With offices conveniently located in Parramatta, Phang Legal supports and services the Indian community across Sydney with readily available and easily accessible notary public services at highly competitive rates.

For more information regarding notary public services for documents going to India, view our notary publications at https://www.notary-parramatta.com.au/jurisdiction/india-notary/.

Frequently asked questions regarding our notary public services can also be found at https://www.notary-parramatta.com.au/faqs/.

For Hindi to English translation services by NAATI accredited translators, see https://hindi-naati-translation.blogspot.com.au/.

Ern Phang
Notary Public

Ern Phang is the solicitor director of Phang Legal and a notary public. Ern regularly writes about his experiences as a notary public, including the kinds of problems and solutions that his clients face when sending documents to India.

IMPORTANT: the information in this article is correct at the time of publication, however the law constantly changes. This means you should always refer to the most recent articles because we try to update this blog on a regular basis with the most current information.

UPDATE - Affidavit for the Indian Drivers Licence Verification

What is the IDLV process?

If your name in your Indian drivers licence and your Indian passport is different, you will have problems when you want to convert your licence to an Australian licence and have your previous driving experience recognised in Australia. In addition to any other requirement in the IDLV Checklist, you must also have an affidavit signed by a public notary verifying that you are the one and the same person.

As a leading provider of notary public services in Sydney, we help many clients with the IDLV process and offer 2 option for our services.

  • We prepare the notary certificate and the affidavit to verify that you are the one and the same person. You would then need to apply for your own apostille from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) before submitting your application with the notary certificate, affidavit and the apostille with the rest of the IDLV Checklist requirements to VFS.
  • We prepare the notary certificate and the affidavit to verify that you are the one and the same person, AND we also obtain the apostille from DFAT so that you do not have to look after that part of the process yourself. You would still need to submit your application with the notary certificate, affidavit and the apostille with the rest of the IDLV Checklist requirements to VFS.
Aside from the notary certificate which provides our verification that you are the one and the same person, the affidavit that we prepare is also your declaration that the person referred to in your Indian passport and the person referred to in your Indian drivers licence is the one and the same person.
Are you an
Indian national?
Are you an...
Do you have an
Indian drivers licence?
Do you have an...
Is your name on your passport
and your licence different?
Is your name on your passport...
Are the photographs clear
and the text is legible?
Are the photographs clear...
Are all other information identical?
(ie, date of birth, father's name)
Are all other information identical?...
Contact local driving authority
directly (ie, RMS/RTA in NSW)
Contact local driving authority...
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
No
Review IDLV Checklist and
contact VFS directly for
more information
Review IDLV Checklist and...
No
No
No
No
No
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
We provide you with a Notary
Certificate and Affidavit declaring
that you are the one and the same
person 
in your passport and licence
We provide you with a Notary...
Do you need assistance with
obtaining the Apostille?
Do you need assistance with...
We prepare a Notary Certificate and Affidavit declaring that you are the one and the same person in
your 
passport and licence
We prepare a Notary Certificate and...
We arrange for the Apostille
with the Department of Foreign
Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and
pay the Apostille Fee for you
We arrange for the Apostille...
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
You obtain your own Apostille
from the Department of Foreign
Affairs and Trade (DFAT)
You obtain your own Apostille...
NOTARY PUBLIC SERVICES FOR INDIAN DRIVERS LICENCE VERIFICATION
prepared by Ern Phang, Notary Public
NOTARY PUBLIC SERVICES FOR INDIAN DRIVERS LICENCE VERIFICATION...
6/83 George Street, Parramatta NSW 2150 AU / Telephone: +61 2 9687 8885 / https://www.notary-parramatta.com.au
6/83 George Street, Parramatta NSW 2150 AU / Telephone: +61 2 9687 8885 / https://www.notary-parramatta.co...
Complete IDLV Checklist and
submit to VFS with Notary
Certificate and Apostille
Complete IDLV Checklist and...
Option 1
Option 1
Option 2
Option 2
Viewer does not support full SVG 1.1

How should you write your IDLV affidavit?

Some clients choose to write their own IDLV affidavit. If you also intend to write your own IDLV affidavit, you must include all of the relevant information required by VFS. You can follow these few suggestions.
For example, your affidavit should contain the following information:
  • Your name.
  • The name that appears on your Indian passport. You can include your passport number.
  • The name that appears on your Indian drivers licence. You can include your drivers licence number.
  • A statement that you are the one and the same person.
  • A statement that you declare/swear or affirm the contents of your affidavit.
After you have prepared your own affidavit, you must sign it in front of a public notary and have it notarised before you can apply for the apostille from DFAT.

What next?

To obtain a quote on our notary public services for India, please visit https://www.notary-parramatta.com.au/notary-fees/.

Get quote to notarise Indian documents

Acknowledgements

This blog is supported and maintained by Phang Legal. Phang Legal is a leading provider of notary public services in Sydney. With offices conveniently located in Parramatta, Phang Legal supports and services the Indian community across Sydney with readily available and easily accessible notary public services at highly competitive rates.

For more information regarding notary public services for documents going to India, view our notary publications at https://www.notary-parramatta.com.au/jurisdiction/india-notary/.

Frequently asked questions regarding our notary public services can also be found at https://www.notary-parramatta.com.au/faqs/.

For Hindi to English translation services by NAATI accredited translators, see https://hindi-naati-translation.blogspot.com.au/.

Ern Phang
Notary Public

Ern Phang is the solicitor director of Phang Legal and a notary public. Ern regularly writes about his experiences as a notary public, including the kinds of problems and solutions that his clients face when sending documents to India.

IMPORTANT: the information in this article is correct at the time of publication, however the law constantly changes. This means you should always refer to the most recent articles because we try to update this blog on a regular basis with the most current information.

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