What is Attestation?

We get many calls about Attestation every day, and from our conversations we've found that there's a lot of misinformation about this term. This article will help you understand what Attestation means, and how it relates to using your official documents in the UAE. 

What does Attestation Mean?

Legalisation (Or Attestation as it is 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 checking that an overseas document is real. 

Let's consider an example...

You are 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, is unlikely to be in a position to recognise whether a UK Degree Certificate is genuine or not. So they ask you to get the degree qualification attested. This means that they need the UAE Embassy within the UK (the country of issue) to attest that the qualification is genuine. Sounds simple, but there’s an issue: The UAE Embassy in London won't recognise the validity of a UK Degree Certificate either.

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So how will they attest it?

In order for the UAE Embassy to attest any document, it needs to be stamped first by the UK government. This means that the educational qualification will need to have been through the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) in the UK for them to attach an Apostille Stamp, which is a paper certificate attached to the document with the FCO seal stamped through both the Apostille and the document. The Apostille Stamp was agreed at the Hague Convention in 1962. If it was a UK Birth Certificate, the process could end here.

However, different documents have different legalisation requirements. In this case, the FCO will not verify the authenticity of a degree qualification directly. Before the degree certificate can be Apostilled, it first has to be countersigned by a UK Notary Public or Solicitor.

To wrap up, here are some key points:

  • Attestation is one step in getting your original documents ready for overseas use - you need to consider all the other aspects first before attestation can occur. 
  • Attestation can only be done by the Embassy or Consulate responsible for the territory where 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 relevant Embassy within the country of issue. Some of the most common documents requiring an attestation service 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 overseas cross-border issues. In terms of Attestation, it is the single authority that performs the final check that an overseas document has been through the necessary checks to believe it is genuine. Once the MOFA officials are happy, they will stick an official sticker on the document and you are all done. 

Vital Certificates has been providing a document attestation service for our clients since 2006. If you have documents you need attesting, you may prefer to have us handle this complex process for you. Our service includes all necessary steps to validate and attest your documents so you have less to worry about. 

Call us for further information on +44 (0)330 088 1142 to talk to a trained adviser or contact us.