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 Who can witness your statutory declaration

To be valid, your statutory declaration must be signed by an approved witness.

On this page:

Who can witness your statutory declaration

Your witness must:

If you are not in Australia, you will need to find an approved witness overseas

Your approved witness can be a:

  • family member
  • friend
  • person related to the content in your statement

But you should check with the person that asked for the declaration if they will accept it.

What it means to have a connection to Australia

Having a connection to Australia means the person:

  • is licensed or registered to practice in Australia, or
  • holds an Australian membership to a professional organisation, or
  • is appointed in Australia

For example:

  • a doctor who is registered to practise medicine in Australia can witness your declaration (a doctor who is not registered in Australia cannot)
  • an accountant who has an Australian membership to Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand

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What is a notary public

  • witness documents
  • administer oaths
  • perform other administrative functions

You can use a notary public to witness your statutory declaration even if they are called something different under another country's legislation. For example, they may be called a notary or a public notary.

Before using a notary public overseas, you should check the person has been appointed by a government to witness documents.

False witnesses

If you are concerned about a false witness, you should contact the:

  • Australian Federal Police
  • peak body for the organisation or profession the person works in

Fees for witnessing a statutory declaration

It's up to your approved witness if they want to charge you a fee for their service.

However, a Justice of the Peace cannot charge a fee to witness a statutory declaration.

List of approved witnesses

A person who is licenced or registered in these occupations

These people can witness your statutory declaration if they are licenced in Australia. Or, if they are registered to practice their work in Australia.

  • architect
  • chiropractor
  • dentist
  • financial adviser or financial planner
  • legal practitioner, with or without a practicing certificate
  • medical practitioner
  • midwife
  • migration agent registered under Division 3 of Part 3 of the Migration Act 1958
  • nurse
  • occupational therapist
  • optometrist
  • patent attorney
  • pharmacist
  • physiotherapist
  • psychologist
  • trade marks attorney
  • veterinary surgeon

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A person on the roll of the Supreme Court of a state or territory, or the High Court of Australia

A person is an approved witness if they are on the roll of:

  • the Supreme Court of a state or territory in Australia
  • the High Court of Australia as a legal practitioner

This applies even if they do not have a practising certificate.

A person who is on this list

These people can witness your statutory declaration because they are a member of a professional body or organisation in Australia. Or, they work in a position connected to Australia.

  • accountant who is:
    1. a fellow of the National Tax Accountants' Association, or
    2. a member of:
        1. Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand
        2. the Association of Taxation and Management Accountants
        3. CPA Australia
        4. the Institute of Public Accountants
  • agent of the Australian Postal Corporation (Australia Post) who is in charge of an office that provides postal services to the public
  • permanent employee of the Australian Postal Corporation with 5 or more years of continuous service who is employed in an office supplying postal services to the public
  • APS employee engaged on an ongoing basis with 5 or more years of continuous service who is not specified in another item of this Part
  • Australian Consular Officer or Australian Diplomatic Officer under Consular Fees Act 1955
  • bailiff
  • bank officer with 5 or more years of continuous service
  • building society officer with 5 or more years of continuous service
  • chief executive officer of a Commonwealth court
  • clerk of a court
  • Commissioner for Affidavits
  • Commissioner for Declarations
  • credit union officer with 5 or more years of continuous service
  • permanent employee of a Commonwealth authority with 5 or more years of continuous service who is not specified in another item in this Part
  • engineer who is:
    1. a member of Engineers Australia but not a student
    2. a Registered Professional Engineer of Professionals Australia
    3. registered as an engineer under a law of the Commonwealth, a state or territory, or
    4. registered on the National Engineering Register by Engineers Australia
  • finance company officer with 5 or more years of continuous service
  • holder of a statutory office not specified in another item in this list
  • judge
  • Justice of the Peace
  • magistrate
  • marriage celebrant registered under the Marriage Act 1961
  • master of a court
  • member of the Australian Defence Force who is:
    1. an officer, or
    2. a non-commissioned officer within the meaning of the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 with 5 or more years of continuous service, or
    3. a warrant officer within the meaning of that Act
  • member of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
  • member of the Governance Institute of Australia Ltd
  • member of:
    1. the parliament of the Commonwealth
    2. the parliament of a state
    3. a territory legislature
    4. a local government authority
  • minister of religion registered under the Marriage Act 1961
  • notary public, including a notary public (however described) exercising functions at a place outside:
    1. the Commonwealth, and
    2. the external territories of the Commonwealth
  • permanent employee of a state or territory, or a state or territory authority
  • permanent employee of a local government authority with 5 or more years of continuous service, other than such an employee who is specified in another item of this Part
  • person before whom a statutory declaration may be made under the law of the state or territory in which the declaration is made
  • police officer
  • prison officer employed by the Commonwealth or a state, territory or local government authority with more than 5 years of continuous service
  • registrar, or deputy registrar, of a court
  • senior executive employee of a Commonwealth authority
  • senior executive employee of a state or territory
  • SES employee of the Commonwealth
  • sheriff
  • sheriff's officer
  • teacher employed full-time or part-time at a school or tertiary education institution

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Who cannot witness your statutory declaration

You cannot witness your own statutory declaration, even if you are an approved witness.

A person who was an approved witness but has retired or changed to an occupation that is not listed above is not an approved witness. For example, a retired teacher cannot witness a Commonwealth statutory declaration.

This does not apply to someone who is on the roll of the Supreme Court or the High Court. They will be on the roll for life unless they have been removed.

Find an approved witness overseas

You can make a Commonwealth statutory declaration if you are overseas. But it must be witnessed by a:

  • person on the approved witness list who has a connection to Australia
  • notary public appointed overseas
  • employee of the Australian Trade and Investment Commission who is:
    1. in a country or place outside Australia, and
    2. authorised under paragraph 3(d) of the Consular Fees Act 1955, and
    3. exercising his or her function in that place
  • employee of the Commonwealth who is:
    1. in a country or place outside Australia, and
    2. authorised under paragraph 3(c) of the Consular Fees Act 1955, and
    3. exercising his or her function in that place

You may be able find an approved witness at an Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. Visit the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade or Smartraveller for contact details.

Approved witnesses who are overseas are allowed to charge a fee for being a witness.

Ask an approved witness to witness other documents

We do not regulate who can:

  • certify documents
  • witness documents that are not a statutory declaration

If you need to get a document certified, you should ask the person that requested it if they have rules about who can certify it.

Usually a witness can be anyone who:

  • is 18 years or older
  • knows the person whose signature they are witnessing or has taken reasonable steps to verify their identity
  • isn't a party to the document
  • if the document is a trust deed, isn't a beneficiary of the trust

If you are unsure who can witness a specific document, you should check with the person that asked you for it.  ​

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