Information to help prepare your application

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This information will help you lodge a valid application for a visa. It gives advice about:

  • certifying and translating documents
  • providing statutory declarations
  • communicating with the department
  • using a migration agent
  • authorising another person to receive information from the department
  • receiving assistance with your application.

Certified documents

Every visa application requires various supporting documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, proof of identity etc.

Unless asked to do otherwise, you should provide 'certified copies' of original documents, rather than the original documents.

'Certified copies' have been authorised (or stamped) as being true copies of originals, by a person or agency recognised by the law of the country in which you live. All departmental offices outside Australia have a person who can certify or witness documents. You may have to pay for this service.

Police certificates are the exception. You must provide original police certificates with your application.

Statutory declarations

Only certain people may witness Commonwealth statutory declarations. All departmental offices outside Australia have a person who can witness statutory declarations.

Translating documents into English

Any document in a language other than English must be accompanied by a certified English translation.

  • A translator in Australia must be accredited by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters.
  • A translator outside Australia does not need to be accredited, but they must endorse the translation with their full name, address, telephone number, and details of their qualifications and experience in the language being translated.

National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters has more information.

Communicating with the department electronically

In processing your application, the department may need to communicate with you. This can be done electronically. If you want the department to communicate with you by email or fax, you must complete the following form:

  • Form 1193 Communicating by e-mail with the department (139KB PDF)

If you authorise another person to receive documents on your behalf and that person wants to communicate electronically with the department, they must complete Form 1193 (139KB PDF).

If you want to receive information by post—a slower form of communication—your application may take longer to finalise if the department needs to contact you about it.

If you nominate a migration agent or other third person to receive communication on your behalf, the department will communicate with them. If your agent or nominated person does not complete Form 1193 (139KB PDF), all written communication will be sent to their postal address.

Getting help with your application

You can ask someone to help you with your application. They can also help you with other immigration advice.

  • Form 956 Advice by a migration agent/exempt person of providing immigration assistance (295KB PDF)

In Australia, a person who helps you with your application must be a registered migration agent, unless they are an exempt person. It is a criminal offence for an unregistered person, or someone who is not exempt, to give immigration assistance and advice.

You are not required to use a migration agent. If you want to use one, you should read Using a Migration Agent.

You are responsible for any information provided in your application, whether you complete the application or someone completes it on your behalf.

Appointing an authorised recipient

An authorised recipient is a person you appoint to receive written communications from the department about your application. Such a recipient must be a real person, such as a family member, friend, migration agent or lawyer. A business, corporation or organisation cannot be an authorised recipient.

If you want to appoint or change an authorised recipient, you must complete:

  • Form 956A Appointment or withdrawal of an authorised recipient (128KB PDF)

You can appoint only one authorised recipient at a time.

You do not need to complete this form if a migration agent is acting on your behalf and they have completed the relevant forms.

The department will send your authorised recipient any written communications relating to your visa application that would otherwise have been sent to you. The department may provide you with copies of these communications if you ask for them.

When the department makes a decision about your application, the department will communicate with you directly. Your authorised recipient will no longer be able to receive communications on your behalf.

Privacy—disclosure of information to other parties

The department respects your privacy. We collect your personal information only for the purposes of making decisions under the Migration Act 1958 and the Migration Regulations 1994.

Laws stop the department from giving your personal information to others unless you agree to it or we are required to by law. Laws also mean the department may give your details to other Australian Government agencies such as the Australian Taxation Office or Fair Work Australia.

Form 1442i Privacy notice (147KB PDF file) has more information.