If you’re a UK citizen, there’s lots of reasons why you might want to move to the UAE. The money’s better, the weather’s nicer, and there are tons of travel opportunities when you’re living in the centre of the world.
The problem is, you’re going to have to go through a whole host of legal processes before you can live, work or start a business in the UAE. One of those processes is called attestation.
What is attestation?
If you’ve already moved to the UAE, you will have already come across this process. Essentially, it’s a procedure which makes sure your documents are ready for use in another country. This involves sending it to the relevant government department(s) in your country to get a stamp put on it which tells other countries it’s legit. In the UK, this would mean sending it to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) where they’d apply an Apostille stamp. The same rules apply to all documents issued in the UK, whether you're a citizen or not!
Is that all it takes to use my UK Documents in the UAE?
Not exactly! The UAE has their own specific process they need you to go through before they’ll let you use your documents in the country. Once you’ve got the Apostille from the FCDO, you’ll need to take your document to the UAE Embassy in London, where they’ll stamp it again (there’s a lot of stamping involved in moving abroad, as you’re about to find out). You’ll then have to take your document to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) in the UAE, where they’ll get one final stamp before they’re ready for use for whatever purpose you need.
Attesting a UK Document for the UAE can be difficult, costly and time-consuming, and there’s all manner of ways it could go wrong. Vital has you covered. We guarantee all documents we attest will be accepted first time, so you can rest assured they’ll be ready when you need them to be. Call us on +971 (0)4 871 6718, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or request a quote on our website here.
Do UK Documents need to be translated for use in the UAE?
More often than not, the UAE will accept documents in English without translation. In certain circumstances however, your document may require translation into Arabic. If required, the whole document and its relevant stamps are translated from English into Arabic by a recognised certified translator. This step usually takes place after the MoFA attestation, and may be handled by your employer, so it's best to check with them first before you pay for a service you don't need!
Otherwise, it’s not common for an English-language document to have to be translated for use in the UAE, unless you’ve been explicitly told it is. Luckily, Vital can handle the translation process for you as well!
Is that it? Doesn’t sound that hard...
It can actually get pretty complicated when we take into account all the different reasons you might need to attest a document, and which documents you’ll actually need to attest! If you’re moving over for work, it’ll probably be an educational document, but if you’re planning on bringing your spouse or your children over, you’re going to need to attest your marriage and their birth certificates respectively. Some of those need to be certified by a solicitor too which adds another layer of complication.
And if you’re planning on opening a business, it’s a different set of documents entirely.
What makes it more complicated is that you can't even attend the UAE Embassy in London in person anymore - everything has to be done by post. Ditto for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the UAE, unless you happen to be an Emirati, a Person of Determination (the UAE's term for a disabled person) or a Senior citizen.
Even if you’ve had your own documents attested already, you’re not in the clear just yet. If you brought your spouse over on a family visa, and they want to start working, they’re going to have to go through the whole attestation process again to get themselves a work permit.
Isn’t it cheaper to do it myself?
On the surface yes, but it doesn’t always work out like that. If you’re already in the UAE, you might need access to documents that you don’t have at hand, like birth or educational certificates. Assuming you know exactly which documents you need to attest and the exact requirements for each one, you’ll then need to send them to the FCDO and the embassy, before bringing them back to the UAE to get them attested with MoFA.
Between ferrying your documents back and forth, finding an FCDO-registered solicitor, and all the postal fees you'll accrue sending your documents between the Embassy and the FCDO, you’re not really saving yourself much. And considering that attestation is usually pretty time sensitive, and getting it wrong could even lead to job offers being rescinded (it’s happened before, trust me), is it really worth the hassle?
Alright, you’ve convinced me. How do I get started?
Don’t worry, Vital are on hand to help! We’ve been dealing with attestation since 2006, so you can trust we have the knowledge and the experience to help, no matter how complicated your situation! Get in touch using one of the methods below, and we’ll advise you on how to move forward. Or if you want a deeper dive into the intricacies of attesting a UK document for the UAE, check out our dedicated page here.