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Stamped and Attested

You will hear the expression 'stamped and attested' quite a bit in Dubai. What it means and how to do it are explained here.

Updated 17-December-2014  

From marriage certificates to university degrees, you will find that these are not accepted in Dubai unless, yes, you’ve guessed it, you’ve spent even more money.

Here’s the low down and procedure.

Documents which are submitted in the UAE, e.g. Wedding Certificate, Birth Certificate, Driving License, must be in Arabic or English. You may well need a legal translation. These can be done in Dubai or in the country origin. You’re in luck if they’re in Arabic BUT you still need them stamped and attested.

How does this work?

Firstly, the document needs to be stamped and attested in the country of origin and not necessarily the country you are living in or the country you were born in. So, if you’re University Degree is from London, UK, you need to take the document to the UAE Embassy in London and ask them, kindly, to have it stamped and attested. There will be a cost involved.  If your country does not have a UAE Embassy then you can bring the document to Dubai and have it stamped and attested in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here.  The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will check that there is no UAE Embassy in the country of origin and then stamp it for you.  Do not make the mistake of thinking this will not be checked.  It will.  Check this list of UAE Embassies.

If the document is in a foreign language it should be translated by way of a legal translation. For example, a driving license from Turkey needs to be translated into Arabic before it will be accepted by the RTA (Roads Transport Authority).  The two documents, i.e. the original (or a legal copy of the original) and the legal translation are then bound together.  These are the documents which will require to be stamped and attested in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Dubai.  If you do not want your original license to be marked in any way it’s best to organise a legal translation.

Once the documents have been stamped and attested in the UAE Embassy in the country of origin then you can go to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Dubai to have them stamped and attested here.  The charges vary, depending on the document type – please see this list.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Dubai moved a few years ago so make sure you go to the correct office!  If you don’t know Dubai at all it’s probably better to take a taxi.  Although there is a large parking area at the back of the building it is usually very very busy and you need to pay a minimum of AED 2 per hour.  If you get there early enough then parking is relatively easy and the queues are much much shorter.

The main entrance for the section which deals with the stamping and attestation of documents is at the back of the building in the centre.  There are steps up to the front door but you will be ushered to your right through a side door.  When you first enter the building your bag or anything you are carrying will go through a scanner.  You should then proceed to the main reception desk where there are 2 or 3 people working and tell them what type of document you want to have stamped and attested.  They will give you a number.  You should go to the cash desk and tell him/her what paperwork you are wanting to have stamped. There are different charges for different documents, e.g. a Power of Attorney is more expensive than a University Degree.  Pay the required amount to the cashier and you will be given a plastic card  (very like a bank card) with the amount on it.  Keep the card for any future transactions.

Then take your seat and wait for your number to be called.  Your number and the position number will be announced in Arabic and English and also shown on the TV screen.  Do not use your mobile phone in the building.  Do not allow children to run about or make too much of a noise.  Dress appropriately – cover arms and legs. This is a government building so please be respectful to local customs.  During Ramadan working hours are curtailed.

Once your number is called go directly to the clerk and hand over your papers.  He will check the documents and if all is in order, take the card from you and deduct the amount and then stamp, sign and seal the document.  That’s all there is to it.

By the way, ladies, there is a ladies only section at the front of the seating area.  If you are a female sit there. If you are a male do not – you will be asked to move by one of the security guards.


The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only. Readers are encouraged to seek appropriate independent legal advice.

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