Shamini asks:

I’ve got a couple who came here as refugees (by boat) 9 years ago and are looking to get married. In terms of ID they have a travel document that is provided by the Australian Govt (looks like a passport). Is this sufficient for me to use? They don’t have birth certificates or passports from Sri Lanka as they lost all this when they fled?

The quick answer is no, this document is not sufficient, so these parties will need to provide a statutory declaration as evidence of their date and place of birth.

The long answer is that the travel document, called the Convention Travel Document or Titre de Voyage, is a document issued by the Australian Government to refugees who have been granted a Temporary Protection Visa but have not yet gained Australian Citizenship. It looks pretty much exactly like a passport, so that’s where the confusion starts. It’s usually valid for one or two years, and allows the person to travel outside Australia, for compassionate or compelling reasons, to any country EXCEPT that which they’ve been granted asylum from (because obviously that would be kind of counter-intuitive). People who want to travel on that document also need to essentially seek permission from the Department of Home Affairs before they leave. It’s not a passport, and therefore is not valid to be used as evidence of date and place of birth under the Marriage Act 1961. More information about travelling while holding a Temporary Protection Visa can be found here, just in case anyone is interested.

So if a party produces a Titre de Voyage, and they do not have a birth certificate or passport, you’ll need to ask them to provide you with a statutory declaration as to their date and place of birth. You can purchase my template for such a stat dec here!