I have written several articles about Partner (Spouse) Visa applications in the past, yet not once have I explained “certified copies”. In speaking to several people lately who are submitting Partner Visa applications I have realised the concept of certified copies of documents is a mystery to many people.
Just photocopying your birth certificate, marriage certificate and other required documents and sending those copies in with your application is NOT sufficient. Certified copies are required in most cases and it will be specified when required. I have a feeling applicants and sponsors ignore the word “certified” because the term is unfamiliar to them.
A certified copy is a copy (usually these days a photocopy) of an original document, that has on it an endorsement or certification that it is a true copy of the original document of which it is a copy. It does not certify that the original document is genuine, only that the copy is a true copy of the original document.
Wikipedia, that wonderful authority on everything, tells us:
A certified copy is largely a creation of English-speaking common law countries, and was designed for administrative convenience. It is usually inexpensive to obtain. A certified copy may be required for official government or court purposes and for commercial purposes. It avoids the owner of important documents (especially identity documents) giving up possession of those documents which might mean a risk of their loss or damage.
I know from my own practical experience the concept of “certified copies” is completely unknown in other parts of the world so I do understand how and why the people I have been speaking to of late have completely ignored or misunderstood the word “certified” in the instructions.
Visa applications are not the only time certified copies are used, of course. Certified copies are required for any number of uses in everyday life.
The endorsement or certification wording varies, but is usually along the lines of:
I certify that this appears to be a true copy of the original document produced to me on <date>.
Qualification (eg JP, Pharmacist, CPA, Police Officer)
I certify that this is a true copy of the original document.
Name and Qualification
Many professionals, such as police, accountants, pharmacists and others frequently asked to certify documents, have a stamp with the certification wording and will simply sign and date the copy after comparing the copy to the original and stamping the certification stamp.
Who can certify? People before whom statutory declarations can be made are also authorised to certify copies. The list can be found here. Generally there is no charge, although I do note that Australia Post staff may make a small charge per document.
Certified copies are not difficult to organise, but are very important! Make sure you understand when certified copies are required and ensure that is precisely what you submit with your application. This will reduce processing delays and that is a benefit to everyone concerned!
Have you ever been confused by the requirements of officialdom? Please share, because you might help someone else!
- Applying for a Partner Visa? (teamoyeniyi.com)
- Statutory Declaration by a Supporting Witness Form 888 Partner Visa (teamoyeniyi.com)
- Paperwork for Permanent Partner Visa finalised (teamoyeniyi.com)