If you are planning to start a new life in the UAE, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the UAE will require you to have your public and/or personal documents attested. This is primarily for your residence or employment visa. It also supports you in opening a bank account in the Emirates. If you have any children, it will support your residence visa for family members and allow your children to be admitted to any school in the UAE.
Depending on the document, there are 4 steps to acquiring a fully legalised document for use in the UAE:
- Certification by a UK Solicitor or Notary Public
- UK FCDO Apostille stamp
- UAE embassy stamp
- MOFA stamp
All four steps are required for documents to be legally acknowledged by officials in the UAE.
SOLICITOR/NOTARY PUBLIC CERTIFICATION
The process of certification is the term used when a document is declared as either an original document or a true copy of an original document. This is ordinarily carried out by either a practising UK notary public or solicitor. When a document is being certified, it must include the following details: state the action being carried out , e.g. certified copy, certified original, witnessed etc. It must be contain a personal signature (not a company signature), the date of certification and name and company address of the individual. Alternatively, a document can be certified by an official of the British Council based outside the UK.
Public documents (documents that have been issued and signed by an authorised official) do not require certification. Examples of public documents include and are not limited to: birth certificates, marriage certificates, divorce letters, HMRC letters, ACRO police clearance certificates. Documents that do not require certifying can be sent to the FCDO as they are, however, the original document will be required as true copies are not accepted. This concludes step one of the legalisation process. Note, there are occasions when a marriage certificate is dated far before the Registrar was registered on the database of the FCDO. In this instance, the marriage certificate, will require certifying.
UK FCDO APOSTILLLE STAMP
The second step will be to present your document to the UK Foreign & Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). This is the UK foreign office. An official from the FCDO will proceed to confirm whether a document has been certified (if necessary) and will verify the signature of the individual who has certified it. Once the official has checked the document, they will proceed to affixing an Apostille stamp (generally on the back of a document so it does not obscure any information). There will also be an emboss stamp featured on both the document and apostille. The apostille stamp will contain details confirming that the document has been duly legalised by the FCDO. Documents may be rejected by the foreign office if they do not fit the requirements needed. This concludes the second part of the legalisation process.
UAE EMBASSY LEGALISATION
The next step requires documents to be submitted to the UAE embassy in the UK. This is done through the post as the embassy no longer accepts walk-in appointments. Therefore, the duration of the process is slightly longer than other embassies: dispatching documents takes an extra couple of days due to time taken to send, receive and sort post. It is also worth knowing that the embassy currently does not offer an expedited service, therefore all documents will be issued equally. Once the embassy receives the document, they will proceed to issue the UAE stamp of legalisation. This is a light green sticker that is affixed onto the document coupled with a signature of the counsellor. This concludes the third part of the legalisation process, whereby a document can now be acknowledged by officials in the United Arab Emirates.
The UAE embassy, like other embassies, classify documents into two categories: individual affairs and commercial. Individual affairs documents are personal documents that are issued to an individual/s examples of individual affairs documents as follows:
- Educational certificates
- Birth certificates
- Marriage certificates
- Personal Power of Attorneys
- Membership certificates
- Pet Export certificates
- Medical reports/letters
- Police clearance certificates
- Personal financial documents
Commercial documents are generally business-related documents that are issued to companies. These may also be issued to individuals on behalf of a company.
Examples of Commercial documents are as follows:
- Articles of Association
- Memorandum of Association
- Incorporation certificate
- Good standing certificate
- Shareholder agreement/certificate
- Board resolutions
- Commercial Power of Attorneys
- Certificate of Incumbency
- Business contracts/agreements
These two categories are important as there is a great difference in the cost; personal documents (150AED) cost significantly lower than commercial documents (2000AED)
UAE MOFA STAMP
The last and final step is to have the document legalised in the UAE. This is carried out by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC). This process is a requirement to authenticate documents and certificates for the purpose of employment, education, visa etc. This concludes the last step and the document can now be used in the UAE.
A few factors that are worth considering for UAE attestation for businesses are that Power of Attorney documents that mention commercial matter will be classed as a commercial document and thus will cost the commercial rate. Furthermore, Memorandum and Articles of Association certificates require individual attestation and will not be accepted as one document. The embassy does not accept bundled documents; these will need to be separated and attested individually. It is also worth to note that legal documents like Power of Attorneys necessitate being processed on the original and must be signed in the presence of a UK Solicitor or Notary Public in the initial stage. There are occasions where the embassy will require the stamp from the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce (ABCC) these are only required for commercial invoices.
Education certificates can be attested on the original document and can also be presented on a true copy of the original, for example, a photocopy of a degree certificate will be appropriate. The embassy state that they do not, however, attest educational documents issued outside the UK, Ireland, or Iceland. Documents such as the ACCA certificate, which states that a photocopy cannot be made, must be processed on the original.
Foreign documents such as Birth, Marriage and Death certificates can be attested through the UAE embassy, after following certain steps. For instance, if you have a marriage certificate issued from Barbados, the process will be as follows:
- Obtain stamp from the High Commission of Barbados in London
- Notary Public – Certify on a true copy
- Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office Apostille stamp
- UAE Embassy
UAE LEGALISATION FAQS
Unlike some embassies, only the documents you require legalising are all you need to initiate the process. If you are submitting a document yourself to the embassy, you will need to include a photocopy of the apostilled document. Passport copies are not required.
For public documents such as birth and marriage, we charge £130. For personal documents, such as educational documents we charge £140. Commercial documents can vary depending on the nature of the document.
In order for your document to be accepted in the UAE, it requires the apostille stamp, followed by the UAE embassy and UAE MOFA. If you present your document without the apostille stamp, your document will be rejected. The UAE authorities recognises the UK apostille stamp, however for use in the UAE, further legalisation is required as they are not party to the Hague Convention.
Birth certificates are classed as public documents, and therefore will need to be presented as an original document. A photocopy cannot be made and processed. The FCDO will reject photocopies presented to them. If you wish to process a birth certificate, the original document will need to be sent to our office via courier.
You will need to send your original/scanned copies to us and we can obtain the apostille stamp on your behalf. The only institute who can issue the UK apostille stamp is the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office. The British embassy in the UAE cannot issue the apostille stamp.
Aspire Attestation can assist you with getting your documents duly legalised for use in the UAE. We work closely with the Emirati authorities to ensure we stay up to date with their requirements. If you require any assistance with document legalisation for the UAE, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and a member of our team will be in contact with you.