What is the Difference between Attestation and Legalization?

Moving from one country to another for investment, immigration, or work requires from the traveller a lot of papers and documents from his country to be used in the country to be invested in, work in or immigration to. A document issued by your country is recognized within the territory of the country but to be recognized in other countries. This requires you to attest and certify your document as well to ensure that it will be recognized in the intended country as well.

Before proceeding with the  article or video please read our legal disclaimer.

For those who are interested in this matter, we will explain below the difference between attestation and legalization and the followed procedures in the UAE to facilitate your investment and work in the intended country. Furthermore, the article provides a general idea of using foreign documents outside the country.
Herein we explain the difference between attestation and legalization and the applicability of “Apostille Stamp” in the United Arab Emirates.


1 – Attestation/Notarization:

It is a procedure carried out by a public official known as a notary public, where he attests documents and contracts of various types to gain official authorization, which is official recognition, including powers of attorney of all types, decisions, contracts of incorporation of companies and partnerships, contracts of sale and waiver, private contracts of employment and all what is considered necessary for transactions, whether at the civil or commercial level. The attestation shall be done in exchange for a fee that varies according to the nature of the required procedure.

The notary public seal shall be stamped on the document and a serial number for ease of review and extraction of original copies, canceling the authorizations, powers of attorney or documents. The attestation of the document only adds an official image before governmental and official authorities. However, attestation does not mean the validity of the transaction or the legal action, as the contract may be invalid and the power of attorney may be unlawful but attested by a notary public.

Hence, it should be noted that all the consequent procedures shall be considered void, since the notary public’s task is not to verify the legality of the transactions that he attests, but to verify the identity of the parties, the validity of documents and property and the form of dealing without being concerned with details or discussing the legality or validity except within the form that appears before the Notary Public. The Notary Public profession is regulated by the Federal Law No. 4 of 2013 on the regulation of the Notary Public profession.

The documents required to be attested shall be in Arabic language. In case of attesting
documents which are written in a foreign language, a legally
certified translation has to be provided, otherwise, the content of the powers of attorney shall be violating the laws
and public morals.


2 – Why Do You Have to Obtain Attestations of the Documents and Civil and Commercial Transactions?

First: The Attestation of Documents Helps in Increasing Confidence
in and Credibility of these Documents:

Attestation of documents, such as powers of attorney and contracts, helps to increase confidence in the authenticity of these attested documents and makes them a source of credibility and confidence in business dealings.

When you sign a contract with another company, you care to know that the contract is binding on the other party, and without the person in front of you being authorized to sign the said contract, you cannot trust that the company is bound by that contract and / or can disavow that contract on the grounds that the signatory person is not authorized or employed by it.

Hereby, the attested memorandum of association which states  the authorization of such person or the attested power of attorney is considered a proof of the validity of the obligation to be agreed upon.

Moreover, when buying property and items from others who claim to be authorized by the owners due to being busy or traveling, you will definitely need an attested document that will enable you to transfer ownership and prove the validity of the deal in case if the original owner denies the procedure.


3 – Second: Providing the Required Requirements by the Official Authorities:

Some official and governmental entities may require you to present an official document stating that you are acting on behalf of another person, whether natural or judgmental, assuming that the latter is a company or an entity, so that they do not assume responsibility to the original person in the event that they claim that the action was not at his request or if he denied the consequences All official authorities require attested powers of attorney or authorizations when conducting any transaction on behalf of another person or company.

Furthermore, official authorities may request attesting contracts and transactions in order to amend records or registration data, as such transactions may constitute a danger to the stability of commercial transactions. Such transactions may include selling real estate properties which require sale agreement attested by the Notary Public to ensure that such procedure has been made after careful consideration by the parties.

The authority concerned with attesting documents inside the United Arab Emirates is the “Notary Public”:
For more information about notary public in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi





For more information about the Notary Public in the Emirate of Dubai and also to
verify the validity of the legalizations, you can visit the same website.





For more information about the Notary Public in the Emirate of Ras Al-Khaimah and to submit applications online, you can visit the
following websites.





Through the above websites, especially the Notary
Public information site in the Emirate of Dubai, you can view the documents needed to
process the Notary Public’s transactions and attestation requirements. You can also access Notary Public services through working hours in courts and different emirates
or inquire at the courts of each emirate.


4 – Legalization:

the UAE is not a signatory to the Hague Convention for Abolishing the Requirement of
for Foreign Public Document or the so-called Apostille Convention, this means that the following method shall be used in the legalization process,
although there may be requirements for legalizing documents according
to their nature:

A- If a foreign document is
being legalized for use in the United Arab Emirates:

1- You have to legalize document from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of your country “Territory”.
It should be noted that you Ministry of Foreign Affairs may require legalizations from other parties, therefore, you should check this requirement.

2- You shall submit the document to the Embassy
of the United Arab Emirates in your country after the
approval of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the intended
state, and make sure to pay the fees.

3- You should consult the UAE Foreign Ministry Legalization Office within the UAE to validate the UAE Embassy stamp so that you can use the document inside
the UAE.

4- Ensure that the document to be legalized accepts legalization at the embassy and that is not contrary to the laws of the United Arab Emirates or contrary to public morals therein.

B- In case of legalizing local document inside the United Arab Emirates for using it outside the country:
1- You have to legalize the local document from UAE
Ministry of Foreign Affairs through its respective
offices, after fulfilling the conditions of legalization of each document.
2- You have to legalize the document attested by the UAE ministry of Foreign Affairs in the territory of the country  in which it is to be used by the UAE Embassy
3- You have to check with the Ministry of  Foreign Affairs of the country where legalization was made by the United Arab Emirates embassy to legalize the document in order to be valid to be used on
its territory.

The above structure outlines legalization forms, noting that the above
structure is the main and basic structure. However, it is preferable to check with the competent
authorities, the UAE Embassy website
and the offices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
to ensure that the document can be legalized, to know the legalization requirements and to know the full legalization fees.
Through the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, you can view
the legalization requirements, legalization
mechanisms and legalization fees.





You can view the data, addresses
and contact details of the UAE embassies located outside the country through the following links:





Please note that the unlegalized documents and contracts shall have the same validity of the legalized documents in case of contracts and commercial transactions, but they do not have the same power of proof compared to a document legalized by the Notary Public.

Furthermore, the official bodies in the United Arab Emirates do not recognize the legalizations made abroad by attorneys or banks as is common in other countries.

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