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Who can witness a Commonwealth statutory declaration

This page provides information on approved witness requirements.

You do not need a witness when creating a digital Commonwealth statutory declaration via myGov.

If you are an approved witness and you are seeking information on your role as witness, visit information for approved witnesses.

When you need an approved witness

Unless you are making a digital Commonwealth statutory declaration using myGov, you must always make a Commonwealth statutory declaration under the observation of an approved witness.

Approved witnesses

An approved witness for a Commonwealth statutory declaration is somebody prescribed under Schedule 1 of the Statutory Declarations Regulations 2023.

An approved witness must either:

  • hold one of the approved Australian licenced or registered occupations
  • be enrolled as an Australian legal practitioner
  • hold one of the approved Australian positions.

They must hold the relevant position or registration at the time they witness your statutory declaration.

A person can be considered an approved witness if, at the time they witness your Commonwealth statutory declaration, they are currently licensed or registered to practise in Australia in an occupation listed below:

  • Architect
  • Chiropractor
  • Dentist
  • Financial adviser
  • Financial planner
  • Legal practitioner (including an enrolled practitioner 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

Not sure if you are professionally considered one of the above? Ask the body which manages Australian licences and registrations for your occupation.

A person can be considered an approved witness if they, at the time they witness your Commonwealth statutory declaration, are enrolled as a legal practitioner (however described) on the roll of either the: 

  • supreme court of a state or territory, or
  • High Court of Australia.

An enrolled legal practitioner does not need a practicing certificate to witness a Commonwealth statutory declaration.

A person can be considered an approved witness if, at the time they witness your Commonwealth statutory declaration, they hold one of the following Australian positions:

  • Accountant who is either a:
    • fellow of the National Tax Accountants' Association, or
    • member of any of the following:
      • Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand
      • Association of Taxation and Management Accountants
      • CPA Australia
      • 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
  • 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 (within the meaning of the 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
  • Employee of the Australian Trade and Investment Commission who is:
    • (a) in a country or place outside Australia; and
    • (b) authorised under paragraph 3 (d) of the Consular Fees Act 1955; and
    • (c) exercising the employee’s function at that place
  • Employee of the Commonwealth who is:
    • (a) at a place outside Australia; and
    • (b) authorised under paragraph 3 (c) of the Consular Fees Act 1955; and
    • (c) exercising the employee’s function at that place
  • Engineer who is either:
    • member of Engineers Australia but not a student; or
    • a Registered Professional Engineer of Professionals Australia; or
    • registered as an engineer under a law of the Commonwealth, a state or territory; or
    • 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 Subdivision C of Division 1 of Part IV of the Marriage Act 1961
  • Master of a court
  • Member of the Australian Defence Force who is either:
    • an officer
    • a non-commissioned officer within the meaning of the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 with 5 or more years of continuous service
    • 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 either:
    • the Parliament of the Commonwealth
    • the Parliament of a state
    • a territory legislature
    • a local government authority
  • Minister of religion registered under Subdivision A of Division 1 of Part IV of the Marriage Act 1961
  • Notary public, including a notary public (however described) exercising functions at a place outside the:
    • Commonwealth
    • external territories of the Commonwealth
  • Permanent employee of the Australian Postal Corporation with 5 or more years of continuous service who is employed in an office providing postal services to the public
  • Permanent employee of a state or territory, or a state or territory authority, with 5 or more years of continuous service, other than such an employee who is specified in another item of this Part
  • 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
  • Registrar, or Deputy Registrar, of a court
  • Senior executive employee of a Commonwealth authority
  • Senior executive employee of a state or territory
  • SES [senior executive service] employee of the Commonwealth Sheriff
  • Sheriff's officer
  • Teacher employed full-time or part-time at a school or tertiary education institution

Not sure if you are professionally considered one of the above? Ask your employer, relevant organisation or relevant legislative authority.

Other questions

The witness cannot be the same person as the declarant. You cannot witness your own Commonwealth statutory declaration, even if you are an approved witness. 

However, the Statutory Declarations Act 1959 does not prevent a witness from being a friend or family member of the declarant, or otherwise connected to the declarant or the contents of the statutory declaration – so long as that person is also an approved witness.  

A Commonwealth statutory declaration is invalid if it is witnessed incorrectly or witnessed by someone who is not an approved witness.

You will need to re-do your statutory declaration with an approved witness and re-submit it with the organisation or person who requested the 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 practise 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. 

The Statutory Declarations Act 1959 does not prohibit or prevent a witness from charging a fee to witness a Commonwealth statutory declaration. 

However, a Justice of the Peace cannot charge a fee.

An approved witness is not obligated to sign your Commonwealth statutory declaration, and has the right to decline for any reason if they choose to do so. If this happens, you will need to locate another appropriate witness. 

If you are an approved witness and you are seeking information related to how to fulfil your role as witness, see the page information for approved witnesses.