How Do I Get Documents Certified to Move to Australia as a UK Junior Doctor?
As a UK doctor looking to move to Australia, you will need to get a number of documents ‘certified’ or ‘notarised’ as you arrange your registration with AHPRA and sort your visa.
For many, you will not have come across this process before, so here we will break down why this process is required, how it work and how much you can expect to pay.
✍️ What is a Notary?
A Notary (or a Notary Public, to give them their full name) is a person who is officially authorised to copies of original documents as legitimate copies, and to authenticate signatures on documents.
🤔 Why do I need a Notary?
A Notary is required when a document is being relied upon, typically as part of a verification process, and the body receiving them want confirmation that the documents are genuine copies or that signatures on the document are genuine.
When this is needed, you’ll be asked for a “certified copy” or a “notorised copy”. This process must be done by an “Authorised Officer”.
If you are based in England and Wales, a Notary is a valid “Authorised Officer” as per the AHPRA and visa rules, and so is permitted to certify these documents. AHPRA have some additional guidance on this, which you can read here.
✉️ What is a certified copy?
A certified copy or notarised copy is a document that has been approved by a Notary as a genuine copy of the original, and so can be treated as if it's the original.
In almost every case, you make a copy of the original document and then show the notary both the original document and the copy. They check that the copy matches the original and has not been tampered or changed, and then provide you with a stamped and signed "certified copy" which you then use going forward.
📄 What documents need to be notarised to move to Australia?
This might vary from person to person, but typically you will be asked to provide certified copies of the following documents:
✅ Degree Certificate for each Degree, plus any additional diplomas
✅ Proof of Residence (usually a utility bill)
✅ UK Driving Licence
✅ GMC Registration Certificate
✅ Completion of Foundation Course
✅ Birth Certificates
⏰ When in the process does this need to be done?
There are two main points in the process where you’ll need to show certified copies of your documents.
Firstly, when submitting documents to the EPIC service to get your credentials validated by the AMC. This is a prerequisite for applying for AHPRA registration, and requires certified copies of your degree certificate and identity documents amongst others.
Secondly, when applying for your visa, you will need to show certified copies of your personal documents to prove your identity.
🖥 Can I do the notarisation online?
Yes, most Notaries will be able to do this process remotely.
In-person certification is required for those who require a signature witnessing, which is not usually applicable for applications to work in Australia.
❓ How does the process work?
Firstly, you will need to gather the relevant documents you need to be notarised and ensure that they are all up to date and meet the requirements (e.g. a proof of address has to be recent).
You then email the Notary scans of these documents ahead of time.
You will jump on a video call (if done remotely) at the agreed time. You will first need to prove your identity to the Notary before they begin, showing them on screen a proof of address such as a bank statement, bill or driving licence, plus photographic ID such as a passport.
Then the notary will ask you to hold up the original document on screen, which they will review against the scanned copies which you have emailed to them.
If they are a match, the scans are printed out by the Notary, stamped, signed, sealed and emailed back to you. This is the "certified copy" which you then use going forward.
⌛️ How long does the process usually take?
With the remote process, the video call itself should only take 5 minutes. A copy of the certified documents will usually be sent out within 24 hours of the video call and payment being received. The hard copies are posted up to 3 working days later but often sooner.
In person process can take 10-15 minutes and will be finalised during the appointment for you to take away with you.
💰 How much can I expect to pay, and can I get this reimbursed by my hospital?
All notaries have their own pricing structures and it’s always good to check which services they provide.
For reference Paul O’Flynn, who has contributed to writing this article and is commonly used by UK doctors charges, £80 for up to 5 documents and then £5 per additional document. His contact details are below.
Make sure to ask for an invoice for the payment, which can be passed on to your employer in Australia if they offer to reimburse these fees as part of your relocation package.
This article was written with input from Paul O’Flynn based in Gloucestershire who is commonly used by UK doctors moving to Australia and comes recommended. You can contact him here.
📚 Continue Reading
🚀 This article is part of Messly's Ultimate Guide to Working in Australia. The guide covers all you need to know as a UK doctor to understand your options, research your move, find work, get registered and move out to Australia.
❓ If you are still weighing up whether a move to Australia is right for you, our article To Aus or not to Aus breaks down the pros and cons, so you can make an informed decision. Read this with Common Questions on Moving to Australia as a UK Junior Doctor.
🤔 Confused about how the grades work in Australia, and which roles you should be applying for? This article breaks down the grade system and explains which rolesmight be suitable for you.
✈️ There are four routes to finding a job in Australia. In this detailed guide, we explain how each works and the pros and cons of each, so you can kick-start your search for your dream job Down Under.