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Here’s how to certify a document

To make an application to study in Australia or New Zealand, it’s important for you to verify your identity. This can easily be done, by providing certain documents.

It’s a necessary step for universities and other educational institutions to maintain the integrity of their records and processes.

The documents you need to provide can depend on the institution and course you apply to. They can include your:

  • Passport
  • Student visa
  • Academic transcripts or graduation certificates, and
  • Curriculum Vitae

What does it mean to have a ‘certified copy’?

Educational providers certainly don’t expect you to provide them with your original passport or academic transcript (keep those safely for your own records)!

However, educational institutions do require photocopies of those original documents, which have been certified as ‘true’ by an authorised person. This is what’s referred to as a ‘certified copy’ of an original document.

The process of certifying a copy of an original document simply involves the following process:

  • An approved certifier will view (or ‘sight’) the original document.
  • Then cross-reference the document with its copy to ensure that they are an accurate and unchanged representation.
  • The certifier will make a note on every page of the copy with the following:
    • A statement (or a stamp) that includes wording like ‘original has been sighted’, or ‘certified true copy’.
    • The signature of the certifier, and their full name, and
    • The date

How to Certify a Document

There are two ways you can certify your documents, in order to make your study application with Sofiri.

1. An authorised witness

As per the Australian Government Department of Education and Training guidelines, or the New Zealand department of Immigration, a person who is an ‘authorised witness’ for statutory declarations can certify your documents.

Check out this document, which details the occupations and office holders which are authorised to certify your documents for you.

Here is suggested wording from the Department of Education and Training:

I certify that this is a true copy of [document type],
the document produced to me on [date].
[Signature]
[Full name]
[Qualification (e.g. legal practitioner, pharmacist)]

Certifying your documents can be as simple as taking your original documents and their copies to your local pharmacy where a pharmacist may ‘sight’ them. Alternatively, you can attend your local police station and ask if there is a Justice of the Peace on duty, who is available to certify your documents.

Once you have certified photocopies of your documents, scan them.

Then, upload them into your Sofiri account and send your Education Expert a message on to let them know all your documents are ready and waiting for them.

It’s as simple as that!

2. With your education expert

Your Sofiri Education Expert is authorised to certify your documents.

So, if you are in the same city as your Education Expert, organise a meeting in-person at a library, cafe, or somewhere similar.

You’ll need bring your original documents, as well as photocopies.

Your Education Expert will ‘sight’ your original documents, sign the photocopies and add a stamp once digitized.

They’ll then take the copies of your documents and upload them directly to your Sofiri account on your behalf.

3. With your intended education provider

In some cases, education providers are happy to sight and confirm the authenticity of documents. Send your Education Expert a message on Sofiri to confirm if that option is available.

Important Things to Remember

Documents in languages other than English

The Department of Education and Training states,

“A certifier should not certify a document in a language other than English unless they can be sure that the original and the copy are identical. A solution to this is to have the original photocopied in the presence of the certifier.”

However, most educational institutions will require you to provide certified translated copies. Ask your Education Expert more about this if your documents are not in English.

Documents with more than one page

Your certifier will need to sign or initial every page of your multi-page document, and then certify the last page with the full statement:

I certify that this is a true copy of [document type],
the document produced to me on [date].
[Signature]
[Full name]
[Qualification (e.g. legal practitioner, pharmacist)]

What next?

Have you got certified copies of all the documents your Education Expert has requested?

Now, all you have to do is make sure that your Education Expert has either picked these up directly from you in-person, or that you’ve uploaded all files to your  Sofiri account.

Congratulations, you’re well on your way to submitting your study application!

Good luck 😊

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