Looking to have your US-issued documents attested in the UAE? Here's how...
9 September 2019| Last updated on 10 September 2019
Your guide to the legalisation of personal American documents in the UAE
If you're applying for a resident visa, signing your children up for schooling in the country, or find yourself in situations where you need to present your legal papers, you may be told that you will need to have your documents certified or attested in the UAE if it was issued in another country. These documents can include birth certificates, death records, marriage certificates, and more which must be attested before they can be recognised as valid in the UAE.
Attestation of a foreign document means giving it the seal of approval officiating it as genuine and authentic. If you possess documents that were issued in the US, it's important to note that the papers cannot be authenticated at the American Embassy in the UAE.
Certificate attestation is a simple, but time-consuming process. Here's your handy step by step guide on how to get your US documents attested in the UAE with minimal hassle.
How to Attest a USA Document or Certificate in UAE
Your US-issued documents need to be attested in the USA first and then by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
1. Collect your documents
- Documents issued by educational institutions
These include university/college degrees, certificates, transcripts, and other similar papers. These should be original documents, not certified copies, and must be obtained from the schools/educational provider.
- Documents issued by a state
These include birth, marriage, death certificates, etc.
- Notarized documents
These include acknowledgments and affidavits.
- Federal agency-issued documents
- Federal court documents
2. Authentication of documents by a Secretary of State
The next step is getting your document verified by the Secretary of State of the same state where the certificate was originally issued, e.g. A birth certificate from Wisconsin must be verified by the Secretary of State for Wisconsin.
The US Department of State will attach an Apostille so that your documents will be recognised by the UAE.
Apostilles authenticate the signatures and seals of officials on public documents issued by a public authority so that it can be recognised in foreign countries. These are issued only to documents that will be used in countries that are members of the 1961 Hague Convention Treaty.
You can find information on the Secretaries of States for the US below:
Authenticating educational documents:
Contact the educational institution to determine the best way to get your document authenticated. In some cases, a county office may need to authenticate your educational document first before a Secretary of State can validate it.
Documents issued by state
Contact the state's Secretary of State and send the original copy. A certified copy may be requested for initial authentication by the town, county, or state's issuing officer.
The procedure for authenticating documents executed before a notary public, such as affidavits or acknowledgments, varies from state to state. It is advisable to contact the state authentication authority to learn what steps, if any, are required between the notary seal and the state level authentication.
Documents from a federal agency
If the document was issued with a seal of a federal agency, it does not need to be authenticated by the Secretary of State. You can proceed with Step 3.
Documents from a federal court
If the document was issued with a seal of a federal agency, the papers must be sent to the following address for authentication:
Justice Management Division, Security Program Staff
Physical Security Office, Room 6531
9th and Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20530
3. Authenticate your document at the US Department of State Authentications Office
Once you have your document validated by the Secretary of State, you must next get it authenticated by the US Department of State Authentications Office.
A fee of US $8 is applied for each authentication, which you can pay by cheque drawn from a USA-based bank or a money order payable to the US Department of State.
You can send an authentication request by mail, for which the processing time is up to 5 working days.
You must fill out an Authentications Service Request form DS-4194 here: https://eforms.state.gov/Forms/ds4194.PDF
The DS-4194 form must be attached to your documents.
Mail your documents below:
U.S. Department of State
Office of Authentications
44132 Mercure Cir.
PO Box 1206
Sterling, VA 20166-1206
Alternatively, you can go for a walk-in authentication appointment at the physical address below:
Office of Authentications
600 19th St. NW
Washington, DC 20006
Walk-in hours are between 8 AM - 9 AM, and appointment services are between 10 AM - 1 PM and 2 PM - 2:30 PM.
For more information, call the US Federal Information Centre at 1-800-688-9889
You can also refer to the website below for more information:
It's important to note that when you have your documents returned to you from the Secretary of State, make sure that the return address is to you and not the UAE Embassy. This helps in avoiding loss of documents and confirms that the Department of State processed your papers.
4. Translate documents
All documents must be translated from any foreign language, such as Spanish, into either English or Arabic. If it's already in English, you can skip to Step 5.
5. Authenticate your documents at the UAE Embassy in Washington D.C
Your documents must be submitted in person at the UAE Embassy in the US or sent to the following address:
Embassy of the United Arab Emirates
3522 International Court, NW
Washington, DC 20008
You must also include the following items when you submit your documents for authentication at the UAE Embassy:
- Money order with the processing fee, payable to the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC
Your money order form must be filled in completely with your details.
- Add a pre-paid return envelope addressed to you
Write the name and address for the sender (UAE Embassy) and the recipient (your address) of the return envelope or airway bill.
Alternatively, you can send payment through the E-payment Gateway available on the UAE Ministry's main website:
If you choose to pay online, please make sure you print/add your payment confirmation email and reference number with US documents for authentication.
Each document for authentication must be sent seperately rather than together in a bundle.
For additional information, refer to the UAE Embassy Washington's official page below: