The UAE is home to millions of expats from countries all over the world. It’s common knowledge that around 80-90% of the total UAE population is from overseas.
As a result, the UAE is accustomed to providing high quality services to help expats access formal services and apply for visas, trade licenses and the like. One of these services is known as MOFA document attestation.
As an expat in the UAE, you will likely be required to submit formal documents from your home country to the authorities.
There are a number of reasons why you may be required to do this. You may be applying for your first visa, starting a new job or forming your own company, for example.
The types of documents you may need to submit could include marriage or education certificates, or commercial contracts. In order for these certificates to be seen as legitimate in the UAE, they must be attested by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC).
This process is known as MOFAIC or MOFA attestation, and while incredibly formal, it does not have to be incredibly complex. Working with a UAE licensing expert is the best way to keep things simple. We can manage all document attestation for you, informing you as soon as documents are stamped and ready for submission.
What is MOFA in the UAE?
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), or to give it is full title, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC) undertakes several responsibilities as an arm of the UAE government.
The Ministry’s primary responsibilities at the highest level include setting and supervising the country’s foreign policy, engaging in foreign relations, and protecting its citizens overseas. As well as these duties, the Ministry also provides visas to enter the country and carries out a wide range of administrative tasks including document attestation.
What is MOFA attestation?
MOFA attestation is the process of verifying – or attesting – formal documents for use within the UAE. The types of documents that may need to be attested include:
- Birth certificates
- Marriage certificates
- Education certificates such as degrees and diplomas
- Divorce paperwork
- Educational certificates
- Medical reports
- To Whom It May Concern certificates
- Employment contracts
- Passport copies
- Certificate of Dependency and Determination of Heirs (estate)
- General and Special Power of Attorney
- Contracts and trade agreements
- Minutes of the Board of Directors Meeting Resolutions
- Commercial licenses
- Commercial contracts and agreements
- Company Memorandum of Association
- Certificate of pledge to open or close a company
- Commercial register
- Financial budget approval
- Registration of a new product
- Registration of a Trademark
- Recruitment contracts
- Umrah and Hajj transaction contracts
- Commercial agencies
- Financial budget approval
- Other formal government documentation from your home country
In some cases, your document may need be attested in your country of origin first to prove its validity.
If the document to be attested was issued outside the UAE, for instance, it must be certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country where it was issued, as well as by the UAE mission to such country.
For example, if you are from India and looking to get a visa in the UAE, then you may first be required to have your birth, marriage or education certificate attested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or equivalent and by the UAE embassy or other relevant authority in India before processing by MOFA.
Once your documents have been attested, they will be stamped and sealed. They can now be submitted as part of a formal application within the UAE – a visa or trade license application, for example.
MOFA attestation procedure
There are two main stages of the MOFA attestation process – online and in person. The key steps are:
Log in to the MOFAIC website and register for online services.
Fill out the required fields, attach a copy of the document to be attested, select the area in the document that requires attestation and submit.
- Review of application
Your application will be reviewed by UAE Embassy / Customer Happiness Centers within the UAE. If the conditions are met, you will receive an approval notification along with details on how to pay.
- Payment of fees
After obtaining the approval, log in to the MOFAIC website, select “My Tasks”, and start the payment process.
Receipt of documents
After completing the payment process, you must visit a UAE Embassy / Customer Happiness Center within the UAE to attest the original document. This can then be submitted elsewhere as necessary.
Where to attest documents in Dubai?
When attesting your documents in person, after completing the online portion of the process, you have several options.
You can visit one of the MOFAIC Customer Happiness Centers in Dubai. These are located at:
- MoFAIC Branch Office Dubai
- Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry Deira
- “Al Tawar” Center
- Al Manara Center
Alternatively, you can visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation office in Dubai. This is location at:
Khalid Bin Al Waleed Rd
For added convenience, you can also liaise with an expert in UAE procedure who can manage the entire process for you from start to finish.
MOFA attestation fees
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs charges a small fee for its attestation service. There are two payment tiers. These are:
- AED 160 for normal/personal documents
- AED 2010 for commercial documents
Payment should be made online before visiting an attestation centre in person.
Document attestation in the UAE
If you’re armed with the right knowledge, submitting documents for MOFA attestation doesn’t have to be overly complex.
That being said, it does require a level of prior knowledge of the process. What’s more, it is important to note that the process is only straightforward if your submission is complete at the time of submission and free from errors.
To help you to ensure that this is the case, it’s a good idea to work with a company formation specialist such as Business Incorporation Zone (BIZ) when undertaking any formal process in the UAE.
As well as handling your document attestation, BIZ can also assist with trade license applications and the opening of corporate bank accounts. We can even advise on the most appropriate financial institution to suit your specific needs.
On top of this, we also offer visa and immigration services and can handle all government formalities, permissions, work permits, and visas applications that are required to trade in the UAE.
In short, our experts can do all the hard work for you, submit documents for attestation, make license and visa applications, and take care of all the necessary admin.