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Process of legalisation/authentication of foreign documents
Notarisation in the country of origin
Notarisation is the first step in the process of ensuring that a document is legalised/authenticated for use in the UAE. Notary ensures the authenticity of the document/signatures appearing on the document. If a document is signed before a notary, the notary insists on witnessing the signature and any supporting documents to certify the identity of the signatory (i.e. passport). Where a document is signed on behalf of a company, the notary requires evidence proving that the individual signing the document is appropriately authorised by the company.
Attestation in the country of origin
A document is then attested to give it legal standing internationally. This process is also sometimes referred to as legalization or an apostille. The attestation is only referred to as an apostille by signatories to the Hague Convention. The attestation is undertaken at the relevant ministry of the state where the document originated. This ministry attests the document by cross-checking the details of the notary. Once the ministry is satisfied that the document has been correctly notarised, the document is attested.
Certification by the UAE Embassy or Consulate
The attested document is then submitted to the UAE Embassy/Consulate in the country of origin for certification. The UAE Embassy/Consulate checks if the document has been correctly attested by the relevant ministry before stamping it with the UAE Consulate stamp. Once this is done, the document is brought to the UAE for completion of the final stage in the authentication process.
Certification by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA)
Once the document is brought to the UAE, it is submitted to MOFA for certification. Once submitted, the document is checked by MOFA to ensure that it has been notarised, attested and certified up to its UAE Embassy in the country of origin. Once satisfied, MOFA will certify the document and give it legal effect in the UAE.
Arabic Translation (Optional)
If the document is to be presented to any government authority outside the free zones in the UAE, it xt
eds to be translated into Arabic by a certified legal translator licensed by the UAE Ministry of Justice. Once the translation is completed, the original document along with the official translation is submitted to the UAE Ministry of Justice for certification. Once certified, the document can be presented to any government authority in the UAE. If the document is required by a free zone authority, the Arabic translation and certification by the UAE Ministry of Justice is not typically required.
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