The Authentication Process

I’ve mentioned document authentication before.  It’s a simple enough concept: in order to work in the UAE, a person has to have certain documents.  The folks at the UAE Embassy want to know that your documents are legitimate.  So we have to go through a process of authenticating several documents.  Here’s how it’s done.

The exact number of documents a person needs for work visa purposes could vary.  In my case, I have three to submit: a copy of my teaching certificate, a copy of my highest degree, and my marriage certificate.  Because anyone with computer access can make a document that looks pretty realistic these days, each of my copies has to be certified by a notary.

So step one: The notary took a look at my originals, and then after I made photocopies, she stamped them, included the words “copy of original” and, of course, signed and dated them.  This is pretty easy.  There are variations of this that work fine, too.  This happens to be what my Secretary of State’s office said to do.

Step two: take these copies over to the county clerk of superior court and have him or her print a statement that your notary is, in fact, a real, honest-to-goodness notary, and sign and date this statement.  I needed three of these–one for each document.

Step three: mail or hand-deliver your copies and statements, along with a check for $10 each, to the Secretary of State (in Atlanta for me).  The SOS office then staples everything together, along with another statement bearing the state’s Great Seal, which basically certifies that everything you’ve assembled thus far is legitimate.

Step Three and a Half: decide whether to use a delivery service such as ProEx, or to mail your documents directly to the State Department.  If you elect to send them direclty to the State Department, you’ll save some money ($125), but you’ll elongate the process by a couple of weeks.  I went with ProEx, since I’m dealing with time constraints.

Step four: Put everything together, along with copies of each packet and a money order to cover all services, as well as prepaid return shipping, and send it to ProEx in Washington, DC.  They’ll take care of the remaining steps–both delivery to the State Department and the UAE Embassy.

When everything returns from DC, it should be certified and stamped in all the necessary ways to allow you to work in the UAE.  I hope to have mine back next week about this time.

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