Document attestation is the process of verifying the signature present on a document with another signature, to verify that the document has been duly signed by the entities bound by its contents. The procedure is carried out by a public official, known as notary public, where identification of the parties, validity of the documents and property and the form of dealing is verified. It is a service that imparts legal status to documents, especially those that are to be used outside the borders of the country of origin.
The requirement for embassy attestation exists for countries that are not included in the Hague Convention List. Thus, all documents for use in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia need to be apostilled and then attested by the Saudi Arabia embassy in London or elsewhere. Attaining the attestation stamp from a Saudi Arabia embassy or consulate is a legal procedure that renders proof of authenticity to the document. This increases confidence and credibility of the documents and ensures that they are recognised in the Kingdom as well.
Attestation of certain documents is compulsory if you wish to obtain a visa for travelling to Saudi Arabia, such as a Saudi Arabia work visa, Saudi Arabia business visit visa, study visa or residence visa. This assures the government of Saudi Arabia that you are a legitimate company or individual and that your certificates have been issued by a recognised body of your country of origin. These documents may include educational documents, certifying letters, agency certifications and marriage certificates, commercial documents and certification of personal status.
Document certification in Saudi Arabia is carried out by different government bodies in a phased manner. The last step of attestation is performed by the personnel of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Saudi Arabia. Any documents to be attested by the MOFA should have been first authenticated by a relevant state department, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the embassy or consulate of the destination country.
Guidelines for Attestation Services
Attestation services by the MOFA, Saudi Arabia, can be availed by anyone who wishes to pursue an employment opportunity, business deal, educational program or obtain a residency permit in the KSA. For example, if your degree certificate is not attested by the MOFA, the Saudi Arabian Embassy will not be able to process your work visa. Your attested degree certificate will also be necessary to obtain visa approvals for your family or to procure dependent Iqamas for them.
It is vital to ensure that the documents submitted for attestation to the MOFA, Saudi Arabia, have the prerequisite attestations by various government bodies in your home country. These include:
- State Attestation: At the initial stage, your documents need to be attested by the respective state-authorised body, such as the HRD or Chamber of Commerce or GAD, for further processing. The Arab British Chamber of Commerce (ABCC) in London certifies all business-related documents, including export invoices, memoranda of understanding and employer support letters for the processing of Saudi Arabia business visit visas.
Similarly, all educational documents need to be verified by the HRD of the state from where the document was issued.
- MEA Attestation: After the state verifies the document, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) of the country of origin verifies the authenticity of the documents for use in Saudi Arabia.
- Culture Attestation: Educational documents need to be attested by the Saudi Cultural Attaché in your home country. Certificates and college awards to be used for any purpose in Saudi Arabia must be verified by the Saudi Arabia Cultural Bureau (SACB) office in London, before attestation. The Bureau cross verifies the authenticity of the document with the respective university.
- Embassy Attestation: Finally, the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in London, i.e., its department of Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) attests and legalises all documents to be used in the KSA.
For attestation services, you can visit the nearest MOFA office, located in the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in your country. After submission of documents, a fee for the MOFA stamp will be collected for each document. However, you could also consider using an external visa or legalisation agent, such as Saudi Able Link, to undertake the process on your behalf.
How to Get a MOFA Attestation
The first step of the online process for MOFA attestation is to visit the official website, and then proceed on to “Ministry Services” and then “Directory of Services.”
After that, a list of “Most Used Services” will be visible, from which “Certification Service” has to be clicked upon. The link will take you to “New Certification Request.” You will be required to choose from two categories:
- Representations of the Kingdom abroad
- The Ministry’s office and its branches
Following this, other fields will need to be filled out, such as choosing your Nationality, Country of Representation, Name, Passport Number and Contact Number, Further, you will be asked to proceed with uploading all the documents you need attested for your visa or other purposes.
You can consider attesting many kinds of documents, including educational, personal and commercial. For instance:
- Degree certificate/PG Degree certificate
- Transcript certificate
- Mark sheets
- Salary certificate
- Equivalence certificate
- Experience certificate
- Employer contract
- Birth certificate
- Marriage certificate
- Letter of Invitation from Host Company/Individual
- Transfer certificate
- Medical certificate
- Export Invoice
- Certificate of Origin
- Packaging list
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Power of Attorney
- Chemical analysis report
- Research report
After completing all the details, you can submit the documents by filling the captcha and pressing the submit button. A bill number will be generated, after which you will be redirected to the electronic payment option via the SADAD system. Once you have completed the MOFA attestation payment and have been issued a receipt by the system, you will be required to book an appointment with the nearest MOFA office, where your certificates will be physically verified.
You will need to take a printout of this MOFA attestation payment receipt, since it will be required for attestation at every MOFA office at a Saudi mission.
The online service for MOFA attestation is available for all Saudi Arabian citizens, expats in other nations, non-Arab nationals applying for Saudi Arabia visa services at Saudi missions abroad, students and diplomatic officials.
You might be required to translate your documents in Arabic, in case they are written in another language. This is why it is recommended to go through a verified external visa agency, approved by the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, such as Saudi Able Link, which will take care of the entire process, so that you have a completely hassle-free experience.
MOFA Attestation Document Legalisation Overview
Document legalisation is a vital step in applying for a visa for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It proves your legitimacy to the Kingdom’s government and also ensures stability of commercial transactions that you might undertake in the country, after arrival. There are broad guidelines on getting through the attestation process, which might seem daunting to many.
Moreover, different types of visas require different types of paperwork and formalities. The different attestation and legalisation departments have their own rules and guidelines, including the MOFA. All these entities also take different amounts of time to attest documents.
Saudi Able Link can help you fulfil all your MOFA attestation requirements, as well as visa processing, renewal and passport renewal smoothly. Our consultants have contacts with officials at the various departments of the Embassy of Saudi Arabia, to ensure that your visa takes the shortest possible time to be processed. Tracking everything, from your application requirements to MOFA attestation schedules, fee payments and final delivery at your doorstep, is our responsibility.
Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will provide answers to all queries within 48 hours. You could also consider filling the contact form, which will be instantly received by one of our visa consultants. Or else, call us at 0207 096 1985.