Making a Commonwealth statutory declaration overseas
Updated: 12 February 2024
You can now use myGov to create a digital Commonwealth statutory declaration, using your Digital Identity in place of a witness.
Find out more about digital Commonwealth statutory declarations.
You can still complete a Commonwealth statutory declaration the way you always have, with a witness, if you wish.
Commonwealth statutory declarations (also known as a stat dec) can be completed overseas and executed either with an in-person or remote witness, or through myGov.
Unless you are using myGov to make a digital Commonwealth statutory declaration, statutory declarations executed overseas must still be witnessed by a prescribed person listed in Schedule 1 of the Statutory Declarations Regulations 2023. You can find this list of approved witnesses on our website.
They do not have to be Australian citizens or in Australia physically, but they must still be on the list and have a professional connection to Australia.
What it means to have a professional connection to Australia
An approved witness must have a professional connection to Australia to be authorised to witness your Commonwealth statutory declaration. Having the required connection to Australia means the person is either:
- licensed or registered to practice in Australia
- holds an Australian membership to a relevant professional organisation
- appointed in Australia.
For example, a nurse who is registered to practice in Australia can witness your Commonwealth statutory declaration.
A nurse who is registered to practice in another country, and not in Australia, cannot witness your Commonwealth statutory declaration.
The only exception are notary publics – who may be registered as notary publics by an overseas entity and do not need to be registered in Australia to be an approved witness.
Remote witnessing while overseas
An approved witness in Australia can witness you sign a Commonwealth statutory declaration from anywhere in the world via video link.
A video link is a program, such as Skype, Microsoft Teams, or Zoom. There is no set program you must use, just as long as it allows for two people to connect with video and audio so that a witness may see you sign your statutory declaration wherever you are.
For example, while on holiday in India or living in France, you connect with a doctor in Australia who is prescribed to witness Commonwealth statutory declarations. The doctor witnesses you sign your statutory declaration over Skype and you email them a copy. The doctor completes the witnessing part and returns it to you.
See how to make a Commonwealth statutory declaration with a witness for a link to the form and a detailed guide on how you and your witness can complete the statutory declaration remotely.
In-person witnessing while overseas
It may be harder to find an approved witness overseas, with the required connection to Australia, who can witness your statutory declaration in-person.
However, you may still connect in-person with a:
- approved witness who has a connection to Australia who is residing in your country
- notary public who is appointed overseas
- employee of the Australian Trade and Investment Commission who is:
- in a country or place outside Australia
- authorised under paragraph 3(d) of the Consular Fees Act 1955
- exercising his or her function in that place
- employee of the Commonwealth who is:
- in a country or place outside Australia
- authorised under paragraph 3(c) of the Consular Fees Act 1955
- exercising his or her function in that place.
You may ask about these approved witnesses by contacting your nearest Australian embassy, high commission or consulate. Visit the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade or Smartraveller for contact details.
Digital statutory declarations while overseas
You can create a digital Commonwealth statutory declaration through myGov while you are overseas, without needing to find a witness. For more information see digital Commonwealth statutory declarations.
If you do not have a myGov account, or the appropriate Digital Identity, you can still make a Commonwealth statutory declaration using an approved witness, just as you did before.
The Department of Home Affairs may require you to complete a Commonwealth statutory declaration as part of an immigration or visa-related process.
You should direct any questions about these processes to the relevant agency. The Attorney-General’s Department does not provide information about the use or contents of statutory declarations to support any processes, including immigration.