If you’re experiencing hardship, you can ask the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages (‘the Registrar’) not to charge the fee for certain certificates or registrations. This is called a fee waiver.

The Registrar may decide to waive fees in circumstances such as:

  • Financial hardship
  • Natural disasters
  • Identified community need.

Not what you’re looking for?

For fees already paid, refunds are available in some circumstances.

How to apply

The simplest way to request a fee waiver is:

  1. Fill out the certificate/registration application form
  2. Fill out the relevant statutory declaration below
  3. Provide the evidence listed in the tables below
  4. Attach the statutory declaration and evidence to your application.

What we need from you

You must provide evidence that you are affected by either financial hardship, natural disaster or that you are a member of a particular community with a distinct need, identified by the Registrar. The evidence required is detailed below.

Financial hardship

You must provide written confirmation that the cost of the registration and/or certificate would cause you significant hardship.

To do this, complete a financial hardship statutory declaration.

Download the financial hardship statutory declaration

In addition to the above, you must show that you are experiencing difficult financial or personal circumstances, as follows:

 

Circumstance Evidence you must attach

You are: 

  • On a low income, and
  • Have limited access to funds

Certified copy of your current:

  • Centrelink health care card, or
  • Pension concession card

You are: 

  • Experiencing family violence or homelessness or are a refugee, and
  • Have limited access to funds.

 

Written confirmation of your circumstances, on letterhead from a:

  • Government agency
  • Recognised community or outreach organisation

Natural disasters

The disaster must be ‘declared’ a natural disaster by the Victorian or Commonwealth Government. To check, go to Australian disasters (External link) or Victorian natural disasters (External link).

Circumstance Evidence you must attach

You have experienced financial loss due to a natural disaster where you live. The disaster may include:

  • Bushfire
  • Flood
  • Severe storm

Written confirmation of your loss from:

  • The body coordinating the response to the declared natural disaster
  • Another state or territory Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages that is providing help to the disaster area

Identified community needs

The Registrar may offer a fee waiver on the basis of community needs. A fee waiver may relate to a community identified as experiencing significant disadvantage or vulnerability through:

  • Government initiatives or priorities
  • Recommendations of inquiries and reports, such as:
    • Parliamentary and Victorian Law Reform Commission inquiries
    • Royal Commissions.

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people

The Registrar may waive fees for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people to get certificates. This is a key focus of BDM’s Coolamon Strategy.

The certificates for which a waiver is available are:

  • Birth
  • Change of name (or deed poll)
  • Death
  • Marriage.

You must provide written confirmation that you or the child you are responsible for:

  • Identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, and
  • Have been accepted as such in the community where you or they live, or formerly lived.

To do this, complete a Koori Access statutory declaration.

Download the Koori Access Fund statutory declaration (Adult)

Download the Koori Access Fund statutory declaration (Child)

In addition to the above, you must show that you are experiencing difficult circumstances, as follows.

Adult application

Circumstance Evidence you must attach

You are:

  • On a low income.

Certified copy of your current:

  • Centrelink health care card, or
  • Pension concession card.

You are:

  • On remand or in prison.

Certificate of Authority form which includes:

  • Your prisoner ID number, and
  • Consent for the prison to manage the application on your behalf, and
  • How long you have been in custody.

A letter from the Assessment and Transition Coordinator (or equivalent) confirming:

  • Your prisoner details, and
  • The purpose for which you need the certificate

Child application

In addition to the below, you must provide evidence that you are entitled to apply for the child’s certificate, if you are not the child or the child’s parent. 

Circumstance Evidence you must attach

You are:

  • On low income. 

Certified copy of your current:

  • Centrelink health care card, or
  • Pension concession card.

The child is:

  • In a Youth Justice custodial facility in Victoria

A letter from the child’s Youth Justice case manager confirming the care and supervision.

The child is:

  • On a Youth Justice Community order, or
  • Subject to a Children’s Court Youth Diversion order
A letter from the child’s Youth Justice case manager or co-ordinator confirming these details.

The child is:

  • In an out-of-home care arrangement
Relevant court order confirming these details.

 
What happens after you apply

  1. BDM may ask you for additional information.
  2. If your request is:
    • Approved, BDM will process your application. You won’t have to pay the fee.
    • Declined, BDM will let you know the reasons. You will have to pay the normal fee to get the certificate or register the event.

Products or services included for fee waiver

You may apply for a fee waiver if you are applying to:

  • Register a life event. A ‘life event’ is explained below
  • Get your own certificate
  • Get your child’s certificate, if you are named as a parent of the child (under 18 years) on their birth certificate
  • Get a child’s certificate (that you are not the parent for, but are the carer for) under:
    • A guardianship order
    • A permanent care order
    • Another relevant court order
    • Kinship care informal arrangements
  • Get another person’s certificate, if you have a letter of authority and meet the third party application requirements
  • Get another person’s certificate, if you have a power of attorney for that person. ‘Power of attorney’ in this case means:
    • Enduring power of attorney
    • Enduring power of attorney (financial)
    • Enduring power of guardianship.

Registration of life events

The law provides for certain life events such as birth of a child, death, marriage (no registration fee), registered relationship, change of name and change of sex (registration fee applies) to be registered.
 
The Registrar may waive the registration fee (if there is one) for any Victorian life event. The purpose of the waiver is to help people affected by financial hardship or a natural disaster.

Standard certificates

A standard certificate certifies the details of a person’s life event, such as their birth. A standard certificate may be used as proof of identity. It is commonly used for purposes such as claiming government benefits, enrolling a child in school or getting a passport.

The Registrar may waive the fee for a standard certificate. These include:

  • Birth
  • Death
  • Marriage
  • Registered relationship
  • Change of name (formerly known as deed poll)
  • Affirmation of sex or recognised details
  • Single status (also known as "no record of marriage").

Exclusions and limitations

Fee waiver for certificates is limited to one certificate per life event per year.

Fee waiver is not available for:

  • Commemorative certificates – these are decorative keepsakes only and are not legal identity documents
  • Family history certificates or images.
     

Factors that may affect your request

The Registrar may consider any relevant factors. For example, these may include:
  • The need to ensure that the registration and/or application requirements are met
  • The reasons for your request
  • The need to ensure applications are dealt with consistently and fairly
  • The need to balance a fee waiver with operational costs and considerations
  • Any previous requests for fee waiver that a person may have made.