Dept of Transport WA aaaargh

This is a ‘rage against the machine’ post really. My husband and I moved from QLD to WA and as is a legal requirement trotted along to DOT to change driver’s licence etc. Fine for husband but because I am female and had name changes was told I needed my first marriage certificate to prove name change from maiden name. All other ID was fine including second marriage certificate which was a civil ceremony certificate. The civil certificate is an official certificate just not an extract from Births, deaths and Marriages.

Coughed up $61 to Tassie BDM for original marriage certificate and trip two to DOT. Sorry, whoever told you the civil certificate was OK was wrong. You need BOTH certificates. “Sighs” Ok whatever. Another $61 to Tassie BDM. Triumphant return to DOT brandishing shiny new marriage certificates.

All going well, slight hiccup over proving address but overcame that. Eye test done then lots of computer keyboard work, going off into huddles with other staff and then told my citizenship certificate numbers don’t match their database! They can’t give me a licence until my citizenship is confirmed. I’ll just add here it’s my original certificate issued in 1984. I came to Australia aged 4 in the 60’s from UK.

They’ll ring me in a couple of days when they get conformation from DHA. Two weeks later nothing. Trip 4 to DOT. Oh sorry, whoever told you 2 days was wrong it’s more like two weeks…I pointed out it had been two weeks already…oh delays at DHA blah blah. We will ring you in a couple of days with an update…that was over a week ago but I didn’t expect anything tbh.

So next trip will be trip five. I need that licence for a myriad of reasons…I can’t get a seniors card, I can’t collect a parcel without dragging my lease agreement with me, if my Qld licence expires before I get a WA licence I won’t be able to drive!

It’s bureaucracy gone mad. I’ve held a valid Australian driver’s licence for 40 years plus across three states and changed back and forth on several occasions, I have proved beyond a shadow of a doubt I am who I say I am yet apparently that’s not good enough. Unbelievable really.


While it is certainly used as part of the marriage process, a "certificate’ is really a souvenier of the occasion. For the purposes of all official processes such as proving identity, the official document is the one that is given a registration number and been entered into the BDM system, it is produced from the records that the marriage celebrant sends to the registry. It seems someone in that Department of Transport needs training about what documents are acceptable proof.


Certainly the person who told me the civil certificate was adequate needs training. But every person I have dealt with, and you get a different person every time, has said I’ve been given the wrong information by the previous person I dealt with! Personally I think civil certificates should be recognised. They have Commonwealth Government Logo, they are signed by witnesses. But it’s academic now as it’s the citizenship certificate causing issues now.


Though a complaint to the DOT management about the inconsistency of the advice received, should be done. If they are not aware of the inadequate skills of their personnel, often the only way to get changes is to advise them. The Minister should also be made aware.


Good evidence that they aren’t training their staff adequately! As @grahroll says, you should lodge a complaint to both DOT management and the relevant Minister about this saga.

I think I’d wait until I had the new licence safely in my hands, though … !


I have complained and they just ignore the complaint basically…sorry for inconvenience, DHA delays etc. Suggested my QLD licence would be adequate for ID purposes which is ironic seeing as they don’t consider it adequate! And that is inaccurate because I need photo ID with my current WA address. I will complain further to Ombudsman, Minister etc. They are so patronising too…one of them addressed me as love. Ugh so cross! I just get the feeling they view customers as an enormous nuisance that they wish would just go away.


All too typical! They obviously don’t understand the service part of “public service” … :confused:

I hope the Ombudsman and Minister will take your complaint seriously!


Complaining in the Office or over the phone to their teleservice centre is not what I meant. I mean a written complaint to the Head Office e.g. to the Secretary of the Dept of Transport, and to the Minister for Transport in your State. Office complaints are often passed off with responses like, “the other person shouldn’t have said that”, or “they had it wrong”, or “it is out of our hands as we awaiting information from …”, many responses are possible and because they are verbal, no proof often remains of the conversations.

The Minister in WA

The DoT Feedback page (written forms are only accepted)

The Feedback, Compliments, and Complaints Form for DoT (it is a physical one)

The problem in your case is that there are only certain Category A documents that are acceptable and these do not include your other State’s Drivers Licence (it is Category B), Australian Passport (Category B). For you it is only going to be your Australian Citizenship Certificate based on what you have said about your immigration that will be the only possible Category A. It seems improbable to me that it is an error with your Certificate, I think it is more likely an error with their system or DHA’s system that is not correctly identifying your Certificate details. I’m sure your Certificate has had to have been used several times before this change of licence.

Category A documents

Category A documents are used to verify the establishment of your identity in Australia. These documents need to be current.

The following can be used as Category A documents:

Australian birth certificate, Australian citizenship document and Australian Visa document

  • Original Australian birth certificate (not an extract) issued by an Australian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (RBDM). Commemorative certificates will not be accepted.
  • Australian citizenship or naturalisation documentation issued by Department of Home Affairs (DHA) or Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)
  • Australian visa supported by an overseas passport
  • Australian Migration Status (AMS) ImmiCard issued by DHA
  • Evidence of Immigration Status (EIS) ImmiCard issued by DHA
  • Permanent Residence Evidence (PRE) ImmiCard issued by DHA prior to 1 July 2017
  • Residence Determination ImmiCard (RDI) issued by DHA prior to 1 July 2017
  • Document for Travel to Australia (DFTTA) issued by the Australian Government…

As your problem seems to be the Registration number of your Citizenship Certificate you may need to contact the Department of Home Affairs to check the details.

Also see the following for information about correcting errors, you will have to pay a fee to get a corrected Certificate though if an error has been made you can apply for a refund of the fee paid.


One would expect so with some verifying documents, but WA DoT make it clear the requirements for transferring an interstate is different to other states.

They also require sighting of original certified paper copies.

It could be associated with the animosity towards the eastern states, as well as being overly bureaucratic process. It is also worth noting that a driver’s licence is one of the higher forms of identification used on a day to day basis, and expect they would argue the requirements they impose is because of this.

Complaining is unlikely to provide a resolution, as it would require changes in legislation upwards to introduce more lax requirements. In days when identification such as driver’s licences is critical for of ID, it will be pushing water uphill.

Each state doing their own thing independently of the other is driven by the constitution and history. It would be great to have a national drivers licence, which makes sense in many ways, but it won’t happen in the foreseeable future.

Each state has driver’s licence transfer requirements, even Qld which in many ways isn’t dissimilar to WA… including certified copies of marriage certificate (or other) where one’s name is different to the birth certificate.


I think the complaint is not so much about the ID requirements, but what documents they were told were acceptable and then told they weren’t. Then there is the matter of how they were addressed by staff, which they found unacceptable. All valid reasons to complain and have the issues addressed. Finally as the Certificate would have been used previously, it may be that a system error exists that may need to be addressed as well.


This could be interpretation of what one thought would be good enough. The WA DoT is very clear on acceptable documents.

Even marriage certificates, their requirement is:

  • Australian RBDM issued marriage, divorce or name change certificate (commemorative certificates will not be accepted)

Citizenship documents:

  • Australian citizenship or naturalisation documentation issued by Department of Home Affairs (DHA) or Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)

It is worth noting that a citizenship document isn’t required if other Cat A documents can be provided.

Which couldn’t be clearer. Soon after getting married we needed the certified copy of the marriage certificate for changing bank account details, land titles, driver’s licence, passport etc. Ceremonial copies have as much use as a birthday card for proving date of birth.

1 Like

Staff should know what a person needs to provide when they are asked what is acceptable. They should be clear about exactly what type of document is required and it should be made very clear to the person asking what is acceptable. To then be told the other staff member got it wrong shows there are levels of training that need to be addressed, perhaps only in that office???

It would not be a usual case of a person arriving in the 1960s under the probable 10 pound UK rule to have a current UK Passport with the appropriate Visa attached. After being naturalised in 1984 the only most likely document then would be the Citizenship Certificate. Seems that it is a database error that is causing the Certificate to not be accepted, an issue either for DHA or the system that WA are using.


That was only over timing for ‘conformation from DHA’, not over documents required. 2 days may have been correct in the past, but has blown out to 2 weeks.

WA DoT has no control over commonwealth DHA timeframes.

We found moving from Qld to Tassie, patience is needed when transferring all and sundry to our new address. Somethings were easy, others more convoluted. Tassie has specific driver’s licence requirements and it took us two visits to get all necessary documents for the transfer. The second visit we needed to take the sale contract on the house as we didn’t have any bills showing new address on our arrival. The first visit was to ask what alternatives were acceptable.

1 Like

No, first paragraph states

The answer from a staff member should have been clear that the only acceptable marriage certificate is one that is from a BDM registry with the registration number and seal included on that document. If it is unclear then the staff member needs to be very clear about the requirements and they must try to ensure the information provided to the person asking is very clear. I was never excused for my failure (if I made any) to provide clear and concise information about Federal Govt programs I helped manage.


Being told a marriage certificate is required, and only when presenting the ceremonial certificate was it not accepted. Ceremonial certificates aren’t marriage certificates, which is often the mistaken belief. Only after first visit, was the certified marriage certificate sought… as this is what was acceptable.

DoT didn’t state a ceremonial certificate was satisfactory form of ID - this is possibly misunderstanding of what a marriage certificate was. The marriage certificate required is clearly provided on the DoT website.

Moving interstate is a highly bureaucratic process. It should be simpler as we live in the same country and can move freely (except during covid) as one choses.

1 Like

@deb2 has certainly had a difficult time with changing DL to WA. One would hope theirs was an exception to the norm.

Personal experience here of moving residence and all across state lines two times suggest for most it is relatively straight forward. Experience (recent years) across the immediate family would suggest the most frequent challenges are not with ID documentation.

The greater issues arise from differences in regulation between jurisdictions. Many times relatively minor, and occasionally more so.
EG Changing vehicle registration - one faces differences in inspection requirements. Irrespective of immediate prior inspections in another state one might need to do it all again to change plates?
Leaving a TAFE course in one state to resume in another state/territory - noting all education is state run. YMMV?

Questions on the constitution, a states rights to govern, and political attitudes. Apologies to the Territories, same concerns, but different.


When I initially went to DOT I was told my civil certificate for second marriage was acceptable, so that wasn’t my error it was theirs! And my citizenship document is the officially issued document…DOT staff told me it isn’t the certificate it’s their new database doesn’t recognise the number on the certificate, Oi vey.
And I don’t have any other Cat A ID…I don’t have a passport or an Australian birth certificate. I am English. And I’ve not mentioned this because I thought unless you heard it with your own ears you wouldn’t believe it, one person I dealt with told me if I was a refugee I wouldn’t have to go through this process at all! How true that is goodness knows.

1 Like

DOT staff DID tell me civil certificate was acceptable on my initial visit. I didn’t misunderstand what they said, my husband was there and he heard them tell me it was acceptable. They clearly told me I just needed my first marriage certificate. I’m not feeble minded.
It’s ridiculous that Australia doesn’t have an Australian licence rather than state licences. Especially as people move from state to state so much. I have lost count of my licence changes. Never had I had any issues before.

1 Like

We have moved between Qld and Tassie on several occasions and never had any issues changing licences. Or the reverse Tassie to Qld.

1 Like

See that Citizenship certificate…that is the one I have! I don’t seem to be able to get this across, perhaps I’m not explaining well. I have all the documentation needed, I have the 100 points required, it’s their blasted database doesn’t like the numbers on my citizenship certificate. And of course I complained via the DOT complaints portal. I don’t need to prove who I am, I have done that in spades. They need to up their game. Give people the correct information in the first instance, if on my first visit they had told me the correct information I would have my licence by now. I get the feeling people think it must be me rather than a government office. It is hard to believe how incompetant they have been I agree. To be fair if I hadn’t personally experienced their ineptitude first hand I’d find it hard to believe! I’d think well, the old girl probably got the wrong end of the stick!