Making a Commonwealth statutory declaration with a witness
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 – to be made with a witness
The steps below offer guidance on how to complete and have your Commonwealth statutory declaration witnessed, either in-person or remotely through a video link program.
If your statutory declaration is being witnessed in person, you and your approved witness must meet and sign the statutory declaration together at the same time and in the same place to create a valid Commonwealth statutory declaration.
You can have your statutory declaration witnessed remotely through a video link program rather than by meeting an approved witness in person. This means you or your witness can be anywhere in the world and still complete a validly-witnessed statutory declaration.
If you are meeting with your witness remotely through a video link program, such as Skype, Microsoft Teams, or Zoom, you do not need to be in the same place, but you and your approved witness still must sign the statutory declaration together at the same time, and the witness must see you sign.
There is no set program you must use, just as long as it allows for 2 people to connect with video and audio so that a witness may see you sign your declaration wherever you are.
In response to COVID-19, temporary changes in 2021 introduced this method of execution. This way of having your Commonwealth statutory declaration witnessed has been in place for a few years. The new changes to the legislation have made this temporary measure permanent.
Alternatively, you can create a digital Commonwealth statutory declaration using myGov and your Digital ID, without the need for an approved witness. You can choose whichever way you prefer. Each one creates an equally valid Commonwealth statutory declaration.
If you have been requested to witness a Commonwealth statutory declaration, it's important to know how to properly execute the task. Find out more on information for approved witnesses.
Steps to make a Commonwealth statutory declaration with a witness.
Step 1 - Download and open a Commonwealth statutory declaration form
To make a valid declaration, you must use an approved form. You cannot create your own form.
You can use the online form on our website or fill in the blank PDF or Word document versions.
If someone has given you a copy of the form, you should first confirm it is a Commonwealth statutory declaration in the approved form.
If it is a state or territory declaration, find out more about state and territory statutory declarations.
Step 2: Fill in your statutory declaration and make your statement
Fill in sections 1, 2 and 4 of the statutory declaration (details of the declarant and the matter to be declared).
Do not sign the form, add the date or include witness details until you are with your witness (whether in person or remotely).If you require more space than the blank PDF form allows, you can use the Microsoft Word (DOCX) or online-generated version of the form.
Alternatively, you can print out a blank form and handwrite your statutory declaration. Ensure that your handwriting is legible and attach additional pages if you run out of space. You may use any colour pen you like, as long as it is easy to read and legible. We do not recommend using pencil as it can be easily erased.
Step 3: Download and save or print your statutory declaration
If you are meeting with your witness in person and signing with wet ink, print your completed Commonwealth statutory declaration to prepare for witnessing.
If you are having your statutory declaration witnessed remotely and are signing electronically , save a copy ready to provide to your witness.
Step 4: Locating an appropriate witness
It is your responsibility to locate and arrange witnessing with an approved person. This may be someone you know or an approved witness with a business location nearby. We suggest contacting the approved witness ahead of time to ensure they are available and willing to witness your declaration.
If you plan to use a video link to complete the Commonwealth statutory declaration (where you and the witness are not physically in the same room and the witnessing will take place through a video link program such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Skype), you should verify the contact details of the witness, their email address, and their comfort level with the remote-witnessing process. This will help to ensure a smooth and successful process.
If the approved witness is unsure how to witness a Commonwealth statutory declaration, you can direct them to this page for instructions, and information for approved witnesses for further information.
Please note that we do not maintain a list of specific witnesses and are unable to help you locate one. If you are having trouble finding an approved witness in your area, Justices of the Peace are a commonly accessible witness.
Step 5: Sign your statutory declaration in front of an approved witnessed
Meet with your approved witness, either in person or through video link (for example, over Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams or Facetime).
When the approved witness is ready to observe you, you can sign section 3 - the ‘declarant’ signature section. You will need to sign every page of the declaration, including any extra pages or attachments. You can sign by pen (a ‘wet-ink’ signature) or electronically.
The witness needs to watch you as you are signing. If the witness is witnessing your signature over video link, you must position the camera so that the witness can see you sign the form (whether by pen or through electronic signature).
Next, fill in sections 5-7, which indicate where and when the declaration was made.
Step 6: The witness signs the declaration
Once you have signed the Commonwealth statutory declaration, it's time for the witness to sign it as well. There are several ways to do this, including handing it over in person, emailing a scanned copy, or sharing the document with the witness on your device.
The witness does not need to sign the same document as you have signed, as long as they are satisfied it is a genuine copy. They can do this by checking that the number of pages, name of the declarant, and the number of paragraphs match up with the original declaration.
If the witness has any doubts about the validity of the declaration, they have the right to refuse to witness it. For example, if they suspect that the declarant is being coerced or acting fraudulently.
If the witness is satisfied, they will complete sections 8, 9 and 10 of the form, which provide the signature and details of the witness.. They must sign and date every page of the declaration, including any extra pages or attachments.
Signatures can be done by hand with a pen, or electronically.
Finally, the witness can return the completed form to the declarant in person or by email..
Step 7: Submit your Commonwealth statutory declaration
Once your witness has signed and returned the Commonwealth statutory declaration to you, follow the instructions of the person or organisation that asked for the declaration regarding where and how to submit it.
Do not send your statutory declaration to us. We do not process statutory declarations.
If you have further questions or concerns about how to execute the document, or where to send it, contact the person or organisation that asked for it.
More information about making a statutory declaration with a witness
What if I can’t sign the declaration?
If you are the person making the Commonwealth statutory declaration, you have to be the person to sign it. You can make another mark (like an ‘X’) in place of a signature if you are:
- unable to read
- visually impaired or blind
- physically unable to sign.
If you cannot read or are visually impaired or blind, your approved witness must:
- read the Commonwealth statutory declaration aloud or have the document read aloud to you in their presence
- be satisfied that you have understood what was read aloud
- certify on the statutory declaration:
- that the statutory declaration was read aloud to you
- they are satisfied that you have understood what was read aloud.
Your witness must then write next to the mark you have made:
'I, being the person before whom this Commonwealth statutory declaration is made, certify that this mark was placed by [declarant's full name] on this Commonwealth statutory declaration in my presence.'
Options for electronic signatures
When signing a Commonwealth statutory declaration, both you and the approved witness have the option to use an electronic signature or a traditional 'wet ink' (pen) signature. There are several ways to include an electronic signature in the Microsoft Word or PDF versions of the form, such as:
- Pasting an image of your handwritten signature
- Creating an electronic signature using the 'draw function' in Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat
- Utilizing a program or software that supports electronic signatures, like Adobe or DocuSign
- Typing your name into the signature section
If you're uncertain how to add an electronic signature, the internet offers a number of helpful resources and guidance for incorporating them into Microsoft Word and PDF documents.
Can the witness and declarant sign at different times?
The declarant and witness should sign and complete their respective sections and return the completed Commonwealth statutory declaration to the declarant in the same space of time.
This should be in the course or a single in-person visit or video call.
I’m an approved witness, where do I find more information on my role as witness?
Visit information for approved witnesses for further information and frequently asked questions.
The Statutory Declarations Act 1959 does not require any party to record the witnessing of a Commonwealth statutory declaration.
You may choose to record the conversation if you wish, or if required under other legislation. However, you must have both parties’ permission to do so.