If you are a resident of the United Arab Emirates or work here, and were married in another country and now wish to bring your spouse into the country, you will need to adhere to certain legal procedures such as applying for a family visa, going for an interview and one of the most important of them all; getting your marriage certificate attested.
In the UAE, it is against the laws to live with your partner without getting married first, so it is very important that you provide proof of your marriage to the authorities before your spouse can actually come and live with you.
What Exactly is a Marriage Certificate?
A marriage certificate is a legal document that serves as proof of marriage between two individuals. It is issued by a state authority after the marriage has been legally registered or even by a religious body such as the church or mosque. A marriage certificate states that the two people are legally married and should be recognized as being married in any other state or country as well. A marriage certificate will contain important details such as the name of the bride and groom, their respective addresses, the witnesses, the date and place of marriage, the officiator etc. It is important to have a marriage certificate as proof of the marriage and to get it attested for various purposes which are:
- When applying for a family visa
- When getting an insurance
- In order to change the name on a passport or other legal documents
- When filing for a divorce
- When adopting a child, especially for ex-pats
- To buy property
- To admit the wife in a hospital at the time of delivery
What is Attestation?
If you are looking to move to another country, or in this case, are looking to have your spouse move to the UAE to live with you, there are certain steps to follow, of which attestation is one. Attestation is basically the process of verifying your documents to prove that they are genuine and can thus be used for legal purposes in another country. By having your documents and certificates attested, the government authorities are able to acquire important details about you, such as your nationality, date and place of birth, employment status, whether you are married or not etc. Without getting your documents stamped by a series of authorities, you will not be granted a visa to move abroad. In this case, if you are looking to apply for a family visa or for any other reason mentioned above, you will have to get your marriage certificate attested. You would most likely need to provide your marriage certificate along with identity proof for yourself and your spouse which could be copies of your passport.
The Procedure for Marriage Certificate Attestation
During the process of marriage certificate attestation, it is mandatory for either of the spouses to be personally present at the time of verification by all the different agencies. The spouse who is present during a particular department’s attestation will differ based on the country where it is being done. As is the case with any kind of attestation, there is a particular order to follow when getting the marriage certificate attested. It is:
- Notary Department Attestation: Along with your other certificates or documents, you would need to have your marriage certificate attested and stamped by the Notary Department in the city or state where the certificate was issued. For this, you would need to go to a Collector’s office or a Public Notary office.
- Home Department Attestation: Since a marriage certificate is a type of personal document, it would need to be attested by the State Home Department in the state where it was originally issued. Once the Home Department stamps your certificate, along with the other personal documents, you must then take them to the Ministry of External Affairs.
- Ministry of External Affairs Attestation: It is an organization of the central government responsible for managing the foreign affairs of the country. Since you are planning on having your spouse move to the UAE to live with you, and the marriage certificate was issued in another country, it needs to be attested by the Ministry of External Affairs of the country where it was issued. It is the last stage of domestic attestation or attestation by a department of the home government. Next is the embassy attestation.
- Embassy Attestation: Since your spouse plans on moving to the UAE, it is the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates which much attests to the marriage certificate once it has been stamped by various departments of the government of the issuing country. When the UAE Embassy verifies that the certificate is authentic and the marriage genuine, you need to have the certificate attested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the UAE itself.
(In the event that the marriage certificate was issued in the UAE itself and you and your spouse wish to move to another country, you would need to have the certificate along with the other documents attested by various departments of the UAE government and then the embassy of the country which you are about to move to.)
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs Attestation: It is a department of the UAE government responsible for dealing with the country’s external or foreign affairs. Since the UAE is a Gulf country, you would need to have your marriage certificate attested by the MOFA if you wish for it to be legally accepted and recognized in the country. This is the final step of the marriage certificate attestation procedure.
After getting the marriage certificate stamped by the above-mentioned authorities, you and your spouse can go ahead with the remaining procedures pertaining to the visa or any other reason for which you had to get it attested. Again, the UAE does not allow for unmarried couples to live together, and for anyone to be granted a family visa, there must be legal proof of relation, which the marriage certificate stands for in this case.