What is Attestation?
Legalisation (Or Attestation as it is more commonly known in the UAE) is the process of authenticating a document from one country to the required level so that the UAE government will be happy to accept that it is genuine. It’s a way of confirming that a document issued outside the country is not forged.
How is a document attested?
The attestation process for any document from any country generally comes down to the same 4 steps (there may be some variations/additional requirements in some cases).
- The document first needs to be sent to the country that issued it where it will usually have to be seen by a notary/solicitor (or any individual/office that has legal authority) so that they can declare the document to be an original. This is especially required when the actual attestation is being done on a certified copy of the original.
- Once notarized/certified, the document will then have to be legalized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the issuing country.
- It will then need to be presented to the Embassy of the country it is to be used in. For example, if the document needs to be used in the UAE, it will have to be stamped by the UAE Embassy in the country that issued the document in the first place. This then completes the required steps in the country of issue.
- Finally, the document will need to be sent to the country it is to be used in for the final step in the attestation process. Using the previous example, the document would have to be sent to the UAE for final attestation by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
When is attestation required?
You could be asked to have a document attested for a multitude of reasons. In the UAE, the most common ones are for employment and family sponsorship.
An attested educational document has, over the last few years, become a standard requirement for anyone who wants to work in the UAE. Even those who have already been working here for many years, will likely require attested documents to renew their work visas or when changing companies. Remember you cannot legally work with an up to date visa and you can’t get one of those without attested documents. This can, in the case of some countries, be a lengthy process so give yourself plenty of time otherwise, start dates and pay days can be thrown into jeopardy.
Family residency sponsorship will require you to have your marriage certificate attested as well as the birth certificate(s) of any children you have. Also, even if you got married here in the UAE and have your marriage certificate issued from the courts, it still requires attestation. This will likely come up if you are having a baby as doctors and hospitals will require an attested marriage certificate to legally provide maternal care. Again, this is not something that can be done overnight so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to ensure your families health and liberty.
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