Posted by: englishdubai | June 6, 2006

Steps to get to Dubai – 1

Well – it seemed that getting the job in Dubai was the easy part. However transferring your comfortable familiar life 2500 miles away from leafy green suburbs to shimmering desert flats is not such an easy thing to do.

After accepting the terms and conditions of my new contract (with the same employer) I was asked to “Please have any certificate or diploma you may hold attested by the UAE authorities in the country where it was obtained” seemed a simple enough task….

This led to a couple of questions? Do I need to attest both of my degrees? And what the hell is “attest” anyway. So after a couple of late nights reading various forums and UAE embassy web pages and ringing up my new boss. I had to do essentially do three things with my most relevant degree (in my case my MSc):

  1. Get a solicitor to make a notarized copy of my original degree certificate
  2. Present this to the Foreign and Commonwealth office in the Mall, London to be legalized
  3. Take this attested and notarized copy to UAE embassy for attestation

Well this still might not make sense to some and certainly didn’t to me. So here is how to do this in the best layman terms I can manage

  1. Get your original degree certificate (thanks mom) and take it to a solicitor and ask them to make a copy of it and certify and sign this a genuine copy. Be sure that an actual named solicitor does this – not as I found out the front desk of a solicitors office who stamps on behalf of a firm. I actually had mine done at a Solicitors at 1, Great Scotland Yard (cost £7). The solicitor there seemed to have a pretty good business stamping and signing confused looking peoples documents and handing out good advice to boot.
  2. With this in hand you need to take this to the Foreign and Commonwealth office (FCO) in the Mall. This can of course be done by post – however I was in a rush to get this done so that my work visa could be process as quickly (I am sure the subject of another blog). When you get to the FCO a nice man inspects your documents and sends you to the solicitorr if you haven’t done your copy right. If all is well he gives you a ticket and you join the queue which was about an hour when I was there. When your number is called you go to the counter and give your document copy and £19 to a man – then go and wait some more. After a while you grab your certificate which has now been “legalizeded”.
  3. Then I took this to the UAE embassy in Kensington and gave them this certificate, and a stamped addressed envelope and £20. I could wait around for them to do that and pay them another £10 – but by then my patience had worn a little thin so I got them to post it which take three working days. Be sure to get to the UAE embassy early as the attesment desk is only open 9.30am-1pm in the week.

So there it was – took about a week from start to finish – but could be done in a morning with a lot of waiting around.

I still have a lot of things to sort out:

  1. Obtain an International Driving Permit
  2. Open a HSBC account so I can transfer money via internet with no charge between the UAE and UK
  3. Tell the Inland Revenue and every other organization I have contact with in day to day life
  4. Pack all my gear up!
  5. Find somewhere to live in Dubai

All this and more I am sure – and only three weeks till I fly!


EDIT – The FCO has now left the Mall in London and is now located in Milton Keynes. Their website gives a good overview of the legalisation process here.


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