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I am a Refugee from Ukraine. I don’t have a birth certificate or passport as these were taken from me when I left Ukraine as a refugee over 30 years ago and I no longer have my original travel documents issued to me by Australia; only a drivers’ licence, so how do I prove my date of birth and identity?

Your driver’s licence can be used as your proof of identity but not proof of your date and place of birth.

The following documents only are acceptable as evidence of a party’s date and place of birth:

  • an official (original) certificate of birth, or an official extract of an entry in an official register showing the date and place of birth of the party, or
  • a statutory declaration from the party or the party’s parent stating:
    • it is impracticable (this does not mean not practical or convenient; it means impossible) to obtain an official birth certificate or extract, and the reasons why, and
    • to the best of the declarant’s knowledge and belief and as accurately as the declarant has been able to ascertain, when and where the party was born, or
  • a passport issued by the Australian government or a government of an overseas country showing the date and place of birth of the party.

I would suggest you contact the Embassy of Ukraine in Australia, as there may now be records available.

Embassy of Ukraine in Australia
Chief: Kulinich Mykola
Ambassador of Ukraine to Australia
Level 12:1/60 Marcus Clarke Street, Canberra ACT 2601
GPO Box 1567, Canberra, ACT, 2601.
http://australia.mfa.gov.ua/en
Phone: +61 2 6230 5789
Fax: +61 2 6230 7298
Email: emb_au@mfa.gov.ua

There is also an application form available for download from the Embassy website for persons seeking certificates.

If you are unable to obtain a birth certificate, you will need to include the evidence of your efforts in preparing a Statutory Declaration to attest to your identity and why you are unable to obtain record of your date and place of birth. You will also need to submit a Statutory Declaration from a parent.

Here is an extract from the Guidelines for Marriage Celebrants referring to Statutory Declarations in these circumstances.:

4.4.3 A STATUTORY DECLARATION

If a party does not have a birth certificate (for example, if a party was born in a refugee camp and did not receive a birth certificate) or passport, the party, or a parent of the party, may make and give to the authorised celebrant a statutory declaration setting out the reasons why it is ‘impracticable’ (impossible) to obtain such a certificate or extract. The declaration must also state, to the best of the declarant’s knowledge and belief, and as accurately as the declarant has been able to ascertain, when and where the party was born (see Part 12.5 of the Guidelines for further information on statutory declarations).

Other than in very exceptional circumstances, an authorised celebrant should not accept a statutory declaration from a person born in Australia, as it is almost always possible to obtain a birth certificate or extract from the State or Territory of birth. However, in the very rare situation that a party born in Australia does not have a birth certificate or extract (or a passport) and it is impracticable to obtain one, they may provide a statutory declaration instead. For example, a party who was born in a remote community whose birth was never registered with authorities may not be able to obtain an official birth certificate. It would be appropriate to allow such a person to make a statutory declaration as proof of their date and place of birth.

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