attestation icon

What is Attestation?

You've heard the term, but what does it actually mean? Our article breaks down the process.

We get a lot of calls about Attestation, and from our conversations we've found that there's a lot of misinformation about the term. This article will help you understand what Attestation means and how it could affect you and your documents in the UAE.

What does Attestation Mean?

Legalisation (or attestation as it’s commonly known in the UAE) is the process of authenticating a document from a foreign country. The document goes through a number of steps that prove it’s genuine and fit for purpose in the UAE.

Let's consider an example...

Say you’re relocating from the UK to the UAE and your new employer needs you to attest your degree certificate for your residence visa.

Your new employer in Dubai or Abu Dhabi, understandably, probably won’t be in a position to recognise whether a UK Degree Certificate is genuine or not - so they’ll ask you to get the documented attested instead. This means that they need the UAE Embassy within the UK (the country of issue) to confirm (or attest) that the qualification is real. It sounds simple, but there’s an issue: The UAE Embassy in London won't recognise the validity of a UK Degree Certificate either.

So how will they attest it?

Before the UAE Embassy will attest any document, it needs to be stamped by the UK Government. This is quite a complex process. Firstly, some documents (such as UK Degree Certificates) need to be countersigned by a Notary Public or Solicitor. This isn’t always the case – different documents have different legalisation requirements. You don’t need to do this for a UK Birth Certificate, for example. Once this is done, the qualification will then need to go to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in the UK.

At the FCDO, an Apostille stamp will be attached. It’s a paper certificate attached to the document with the FCDO seal stamped on both the Apostille and the document itself – it just verifies that it’s genuine. After being notarised (if necessary) and then Apostilled, the document is then ready to be attested at the UAE Embassy.

To wrap up, here are some key points:

  • Attestation is just one step in getting your original documents ready for overseas use - you need to consider other processes first, such as Apostilles, before the document can be attested.
  • Attestation can only be done by the Embassy or Consulate responsible for the territory in which the document was issued.
  • Some countries, in particular the UAE, may reject documents that have already been attested for another country, so use old copies with care.

Which documents can be attested?

Any genuine document can be attested, usually at the UAE Embassy within the country of issue. Some of the most common documents requiring attestation include:

  • Degree Certificate
  • Birth Certificate
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Commercial Document (i.e. Company Registration, Memorandum & Articles of Association, Board Resolution)
  • Police Clearance Report
  • Medical Report
  • Power of Attorney

What is MOFA Attestation?

MOFA, or the Ministry Of Foreign Affairs, is a government department in the UAE which oversees cross-border issues. In terms of attestation, it completes the final checks that the document has been through the correct processes and is genuine. Once the MOFA officials are happy, they’ll stick an official sticker on the document and you’re all done.

Vital Certificates has been providing a document attestation service for our clients since 2006. Attestation is a complex process, involving numerous trips to embassies, solicitors and governmental departments. For this reason, many people prefer to have us handle the process for them. Our service includes all necessary steps to validate and attest your documents, so you don’t have anything to worry about.

Call us for further information on +971 (0)4 871 6718 to talk to a trained adviser or contact us.