Information about true copy attestation in Dubai & across the UAE
A certified true copy of a document in Dubai and rest of the UAE is a photocopy of the original document signed and stamped by a lawyer/solicitor with a confirmation that it is true and correct copy of the original document. True copies of documents are typically required when the original document cannot be presented to the relevant authority that has requested the document. The documents that are usually required to be presented after true copy attestation carried out in Dubai include (without limitation) passports, utility bills (DEWA bills), telephone bills, photos, bank statements, tenancy contracts and degree certificates. Sometimes, true copies are required to be attached as part of applications forms which also witnessed and attested by lawyers.
The importance of true copy attestation in Dubai & the rest of the UAE
True copy of a document is an important method of confirming the authenticity of a document in the UAE and throughout the world. We receive requests for true copies of documents from clients in Dubai and the rest of the UAE where the clients are required to submit these documents before various third parties, embassies, government departments, banks, regulatory bodies and other institutions. A number of our clients typically request for the certified true copies as part of the immigration requirements for Canada, United Kingdom, Hungary, Australia, United States, New Zealand, Malta, Portugal, Antigua & Barbuda, Grenada, Dominica etc. Other requirements include applications to open bank accounts, set-up offshore companies, submissions of documents to courts, applications for admission in various institutions etc.
It is important to understand that the notary public in Dubai and other Emirates do not provide true copy attestation services for any document unless the document has been issued by the notary public himself initially. In other words, the true copy attestation in Dubai and elsewhere for nearly all documents in the UAE can only be carried out by lawyers.
We procure this service through our affiliated lawyers.
We continue to receive enquiries from the UAE residents asking about the difference between true copy attestation, legalization and notarization of documents. All UAE residents at some point are asked to present one of these attestations for transactions either inside or outside the UAE.
For example, your employer will ask you for an ‘attested’ or ‘legalized’ degree certificate to obtain your UAE residence visa. On the other hand, if you intend to do a transaction outside the UAE, you may be asked to present ‘true copies’ or ‘notarised copies’ of your passport and utility bills.
The use of terms true copy attestation, legalization and notarization in the UAE is thus often found confusing. Here are some basic differences:
True copy attestation
A true copy attestation in Dubai and across the UAE is carried out by a lawyer. For this attestation, the lawyer verifies the original document in question, makes a photocopy of the document and certifies on the photocopy stating that it is a true and correct copy of the original. Typically, a lawyer places his/her stamp confirming that the document is a true copy, signs and dates the photocopy. In some cases, you may be asked to have your document notarized. This is confusing as the notary public in the UAE does not carry out true copy attestations and the attestations carried out by lawyers instead are accepted throughout the world as an alternate.
Typical documents requiring true copy attestation in the UAE include passports, utility/DEWA bills, employment certificates and any other documents issued inside or outside the UAE.
In some instances, if required, a true copy attestation of a passport may involve the lawyer confirming that the photo on the passport is a true likeliness of the person. To meet this requirement, the person is required to be present before the lawyer to carry out the required attestation.
Rule of thumb
If your document is required to be used outside the UAE, you are most likely required to obtain a true copy attestation of the document issued by a lawyer. The use of term ‘notarization’ in this context refers to true copy attestation in Dubai, UAE that is carried out by a lawyer.
The process of legalization is required to be completed for documents such as degree certificates, marriage certificates, birth certificates, powers of attorney etc. that are issued outside the UAE but are required to be used inside the UAE for obtaining residence visa or for carrying out a transaction in a government department or court.
The process includes the following steps:
Rule of thumb
If your document is issued outside the UAE and is required to be used inside the UAE, you are required to have it legalized as per the above process. The use of terms ‘attestation’, ‘certification’ or ‘apostille’ in this context refer to legalization.
Notarization is a process where a notary public witnesses the signing of a document or verifies the authenticity of a document. The notary public in the UAE witnesses a limited number of documents such as powers of attorney, signatures, memorandum of association of limited liability companies and certain types of affidavits. All documents signed in the presence of a notary public are required to be translated into Arabic. However, the notary public does not issue true copies of documents such as passports and utility bills.
Rule of thumb
If your document is required to be signed before a notary public, it must be drafted either in Arabic language or in English and Arabic (bilingual format with attestation by a legal translator). If your document is required to be used outside the UAE, some countries do accept documents that are issued in English language and witnessed by a lawyer instead of a notary public. The documents include powers of attorney, affidavits and different types of application forms. You should verify the requirement in the relevant country before proceeding with signing the document.
A certified true copy of passport in Dubai or other Emirates is a true copy of the original passport issued by a lawyer. To issue the true copy, the lawyer verifies the original document in person, makes a copy of the passport and then certifies the copy stating that it is a true and correct copy of the original passport. The lawyer typically places his/her stamp for this true copy attestation in Dubai and across the UAE. The certification may be required for various processes or transactions carried out outside the UAE. Typical examples of these transactions include opening bank accounts, incorporating companies, immigration and property transfers.
If the lawyer is required to verify the photo on your passport, you will need to visit the lawyer in person so he/she can certify that the photo on the passport is a true likeness of yourself. If the photo is not required to be certified, any other person can present your passport to the lawyer for the purposes of this attestation.
As the notary public does not certify true copies of passports in the UAE, this attestation is carried out by lawyers. Hence, if you are required to notarize your passport in the UAE, it essentially means that you are required to have a true copy of your passport issued by a lawyer in the UAE.