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Changes in DFAT procedures means that it has recently taken more time to complete the global market opening process in certain jurisdictions. We thought we would give readers an overview of what’s changed and how this has prolonged timelines.

Generally, the global market opening process involves notarising and either apostilling or authenticating documents at DFAT as well as consularising the documents (such as PoA and deeds) at the relevant consulates. 

Countries that are signatories to the Hague Convention are supposed to get the documents apostilled at DFAT, while countries that are not signatories need to go through authentication at DFAT as well as consularisation at the consulates.

In a nutshell, the process looks like this:

1. Notarising (1 week)

2. Apostille or authentication (15-20 days)

3. Consularisation (3-4 weeks)

Below you can see a flow chart of the process a PoA, as an example, needs to go through.

Previously, Equity Trustees received preferential treatment at DFAT. We did not require an appointment for submitting documents and the turnaround for having documents apostilled/authenticated was just a couple of days.

However, DFAT then introduced an appointment system for everyone and no longer accepted Equity Trustees documents if they arrived without an appointment. Additionally, appointments were available only 10-15 days from the date of booking with another five days required to have them apostilled/authenticated. In total, this created delays of up to 20 days.

More recently, DFAT have changed their rules again and now require us to submit documents via post to their Melbourne address. This involves sending the duly notarised documents to DFAT, which takes at least 15 days for a small batch of documents (roughly five or less) and more than 20 days for larger batches. DFAT also required the supporting documents to be bound by the public notary before having them legalised as part of the latest requirement.

Inevitably, this has substantially increased our turnaround time on most of the market opening process. 

PoA journey from approval to consularisation

Proxy PoA process diagram