How To Get US Documents Authenticated for the UAE

Chances are you found this page because you’ve been asked to gather and verify educational documents for your new job in the Unite Arab Emirates (UAE). While I’m quite familiar with the process of obtaining an Apostille, I learned a new term during my UAE recruitment process – “authentication” (sometimes used interchangeably with “attestation“). Since the UAE is NOT a part of the Hague Convention, they do not recognize an apostille on US documents. Instead, you will need to have your documents “authenticated.” This means you have a bit of legwork ahead of you. Don’t worry. If you follow the steps below, you should have no issues.

Here are the steps to get US-issued education documents, such as transcripts and degrees, authenticated for use in the UAE:

1. Get your (original or photocopied) documents notarized and verified in the same county. Cost: varies; $0 – >$4 per document. Turnaround: minutes.

2. Submit notarized and verified documents to your state’s Secretary of State. In many states, you can either walk them in or submit them via mail. Cost: varies by state; $0 – $25 per document (NY = $10/document). Turnaround: a few hours – 10 business days.

  • If you are near the NYC area, follow my steps outlined in the bottom of this post to speed up the turnaround for steps 1 and 2.

3. Send documents to the US Department of State in Washington, D.C. for authentication. Cost: $8 per document. Turnaround: varies; 3 – 10+ business days

  • You have 3 options for this step: 1) drop them off and pick them up yourself, 2) mail them in with a pre-paid self-addressed express envelope, or 3) hire a courier service (ProEx and USAuthentication are both popular and reliable) to do the legwork for you.

4. Send documents to be attested by the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Washington, D.C. Cost: $30 per document. Turnaround: 1 – 10+ business days. 

  • Again, you have 3 options: drop off in person, express mail both ways, or hire a courier service.
  • If mailing documents, include a money order payable to the UAE Embassy for the amount of $30 USD per document. Also, be sure to include a letter with your name and contact information (phone number, email address) along with a prepaid self-addressed FedEx or express mail envelope. Send your package to this address

UAE EMBASSY
Attn: Certification Office
3522 International Court, NW, Suite # 400
Washington. DC 20008

**Note: The Consular Section (the department that deals with attestation) can be reached via Phone: (202) 243-2400 or Fax: (202) 243-2495. Consular services are available Monday – Thursday:  09:30 – 13:00 Eastern Time and Friday: 09:30 – 12:30 Eastern Time.

**Note: I was told that the price may vary depending on the document. Transcripts and degrees were still $30 each at the time of this posting.

5. OPTIONAL! Make digital copies of your newly authenticated documents. Hopefully, you won’t need them, but it’s good to have in case your employer asks for a copy to speed up your visa process before arrival.

That’s it, folks. Have you gone through the process of getting documents authenticated for use in the UAE? Share your experience and any tips in the comments below.

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