VFS has rejected your notarised document?

Recently, some of our clients have encountered problems when submitting their notarised documents to VFS.

Unfortunately, you'll need to make your own enquiries with VFS as to what their requirements are when processing your documents regardless of whether those documents are notarised or not, and (as experience and history and taught us) be aware that their requirements can change without warning. Another challenge that you'll face is that documents prepared for you in India (even if they're prepared by your lawyer) and are formatted in a certain way could be rejected by VFS for no other reason than "not enough room" - which is the latest issue that our clients have faced.

This is the unfortunate reality of dealing with VFS. Our clients have had their documents rejected by VFS because after all the signing, witnessing and stamping has been done there is limited space at the end of the document for VFS to attach their stamp or seal. But is this reasonable? Should VFS reject the document simply because there is limited room on the page?

While we, and every other notary, official or consular office face exactly the same challenge on a daily basis, we do not simply reject documents or refuse to help our clients because there is "not enough room" at the bottom of the page. Instead, we address the issue by either 'squeezing' our stamps, seal and signature into the available space at the bottom or in the margins or we attach a separate certificate to the document.

If you've had to have your documents notarised or stamped with an apostille by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, you'll know that a notary certificate can be attached to the document or if you bind your documents then the apostille will be attached to the notary certificate or as a separate bound certificate. Maybe you'll be charged an additional fee for the binding or separate document, but at least your document won't be rejected.

Despite our clients' protests and complaints, VFS has refused to process their documents forcing them to 're-do' (ie, sign, notarise and stamp with an apostille) their documents and incur additional costs! We think it's a questionable attitude and approach especially when VFS (on behalf of the Consulate General of India) is primarily responsible for providing service to and assisting Indian nationals in Australia, but in reality it seems to make 'things more difficult' whether it's due to the bureaucratic model or by choice or design. We're also unsure whether this is an official requirement or a new requirement as it's never been raised previously, or whether it's going to be an ongoing issue. Perhaps it could be just the official who happened to process the documents.

Fortunately, not every document needs to be countersigned by VFS or the Consulate, which means if it can be avoided - then probably you should. However, if it's required, then even before considering what you need to be doing, you should ask whoever you're sending the document to whether VFS or Consulate stamps are required. Unfortunately, if you need to have your document stamped by VFS/Consulate, we're unable to control or determine what they will or won't do. This means we're also unable to guarantee whether your documents will be accepted or not - and that's the reason for this article. When it comes to our notary public services in this regard, our fees for services apply regardless and so you should make your enquiries with VFS before booking an appointment with our office.

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


This blog is supported and maintained by . 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.