Short answer – you can’t – not the ones that really count anyway. Save yourself time, trouble, and a lot of extra expense by having certain key documents attested before you arrive in Dubai (or any other part of the United Arab Emirates) to begin a contracted period of employment.
Both your employer and the government of the UAE need to be absolutely certain about who and what they are getting, when they sign a work contract with you in the case of the first, and when they issue a visa to you in order to reside in Dubai or any other location in the UAE, in the case of the second.
Dubai is (and has been for some time) a magnet for people seeking economic advancement. It’s an extremely competitive work environment, and employers paying great salary and benefit packages offer these to the very best; or at least to people who seem to be the very best.
So, the temptation to secure the glittering prize by falsifying who you are, what you are, and what you have achieved is very high indeed. This falsification takes two main forms: you purchase a qualification from an online source, which promises to award you with a Doctorate, MBA, or whatever, based entirely upon your obvious worth as a citizen of the globe.
“Life skills” is the usual buzzword to justify your entitlement to the qualification. You pay the fee and you get your degree. So it’s a genuine, but wholly worthless piece of paper issued to you for no work, no study, and just a payment of money.
Then there’s the truly fraudulent kind of qualification: your name on a qualification from a genuine seat of learning which you do not, in reality, possess. These days, even a child with rudimentary Adobe Photoshop skills can insert your name on a scanned copy of a real degree or diploma.
A separate version of this kind of fraud is to have a set of genuine qualifications up to a certain level, but to add an extra level that you do not in fact possess. For example, you have a perfectly good Bachelor’s degree, but you claim, on the basis of a faked piece of paper, to also have a Master’s degree.
So attestation, then, is the process by which your employer and the Government of the UAE verify that you are who you say you are, and that you possess the qualifications for the job you have been offered. It’s that simple.
How? – Part 1
This is not to say that proving who you are to the level required is quite so simple…
The process is broadly similar, no matter who you are and where you are from, but specific details will vary from country to country. I’ll provide the exact details, and where to read more about them for UK and USA citizens.
I’ll give links for some other groups of native English speaking expatriates too. Beyond that, I’m confident that the process I will describe next will be not too different, no matter what your place of origin or language.
The documents that need to be verified by the process in the next section are:
- Birth certificates (yours and your families)
- Adoption papers (if applicable)
- Marriage license
- Divorce papers (if applicable)
Divorced people with dependent children should include your decree nisi. Unmarried individuals with children, either adopted or natural, are a bit more difficult, but not impossible – make sure you have all the above documents and further prepare by having any other relevant documents that support your off-piste status.
Being an unmarried parent is unusual, but I do know people in this situation who have gained employment. Finally, unmarried partners or same-sex spouses: forget it. Dubai isn’t Kansas, Toto. Partners must acquire resident status on their own merits or be content with frequent visits as tourists.
How? – Part 2
Broadly, it goes like this:
Step 1 – Have your original documents viewed by, then copies stamped by a lawyer/solicitor/public notary.
Step 2 – Forward both your originals and the stamped/notarized copies to the appropriate Government Department, which will a) counter-stamp or verify that they are genuine government documents, and b) verify that the person who notarized them is a person competent to do so.
Step 3 – Forward everything gathered and authenticated so far to the nearest UAE Embassy. That might be in your own country or in a country nearby. Note that it must be an Embassy. A consulate will not do.
Step 4 – (the only one that won’t cost anything): Have all these documents with you when you arrive in the UAE. They will be required by your HR person in order for you to receive your UAE Residence Visa.
Step 5 – Have a transcript of your university qualifications sent from the university to your HR department. This is not always required, but may be if you are in education.
I’m afraid so, but keep your eye on the big picture. You’re taking up a job in Dubai for a variety of reasons, but one of them surely is that you expect to make more money than you would at home. Don’t let pennies blind you to the pounds: or for the Americans, the cents blind you to the dollars.
Every country will have a different scale of charges for each of the steps outlined above. In the UK, expect to pay between £20–30 per document for steps 1, 2 and 3. In addition, there will be postage charges and possibly registration and courier fees.
US charges for each of the steps above are a little harder to come by, but shouldn’t be too far away. To find out for sure, start by contacting a lawyer.
And finally, what about getting documents attested in Dubai?
I can’t say I have any personal experience of this, but there are a range of legal transactions where this may be necessary. If, for example, you are buying a property directly from the owner, you come to an agreement supported by a Memorandum of Understanding, it may be in your interests to have this document attested so that there can be no later arguments over the authenticity of the original.
The situations where attestation of internal UAE documents may be called for and the processes involved are all set out clearly here.