Document Legalization Processes in the UAE for Spain

01 Dec, 2023
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Ines Pinel Lorenzo

Paralegal, Elnaggar & Partners

In today's increasingly digital world, the need for efficient and streamlined legal processes has become paramount. Recognizing this need, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has taken significant strides in simplifying the legalization procedures for digital and electronically certified documents.

Traditionally, legalizing documents involved a lengthy and bureaucratic process often requiring multiple steps and physical interactions with various authorities. However, the UAE has implemented measures to modernize this process, making it more convenient and accessible for individuals and businesses alike.

 

Key Developments in Document Legalization

One of the key developments in the UAE's document legalization process is the introduction of the MoFAIC (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation) online attestation system. This system allows users to apply for attestation of documents electronically, eliminating the need for physical visits to government offices.

Furthermore, the UAE has adopted the use of QR codes and digital signatures to authenticate documents. These technologies provide a secure and verifiable means of ensuring document authenticity, further streamlining the legalization process.

 

Traditional Process for Legalizing UAE Public Documents for Spain

The traditional process of legalizing documents in the UAE for Spain consisted of three steps:

  1. The document was first authenticated by the Ministry of Justice of the UAE.
  2. The authenticated document was then legalized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the UAE.
  3. The legalized document was finally stamped by the Embassy of Spain in Abu Dhabi.

 

New Process for Legalizing UAE Public Documents for Spain

The new process for legalizing UAE public documents for Spain, as the POA or the Passport, can be shorter if the documents are digital or electronically certified. Furthermore, you must keep in mind the following requirements before starting the legalization process:

  • The original document in English or Arabic (or an official translation of it)
  • A sworn translation of the document into Spanish: For a sworn translation of the document into Spanish, you can either have it done after obtaining the MOFAICs certification or at the end of the process, after your documents have been stamped by the Spanish Embassy. If the translation is done by sworn translators appointed by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, it will be valid in Spain without the need for legalization.
  • A copy of your passport or other valid identification document

In this case, the legalization process is reduced to two steps:

Step 1: Apply for electronic certification at the MoFAIC (150 AED)

The first step in the process is to apply for electronic certification at the MoFAIC. This can be done online through the MoFAIC's electronic certification system (MOFA Documents Attestation). In the following link you could consult the different fees: UAE attestation guide: documents, and marriage certificate (mofa.gov.ae)

The fees depend on the nature of the public document: Certificates (AED 150), Commercial (AED 2000), Invoice (AED 150).

Once you have submitted your application with the documents above mentioned, the MoFAIC will review the documents and verify their authenticity. If the documents are found to be valid, the MoFAIC will issue an electronic certificate.

The UAE courier services to send documents following the MoFAIC's information:

  • Normal: (3 working days) – up to 25 documents per transaction
  • Express: (1 working day) – up to 10 documents per transaction
  • For companies already registered with the delivery service (Zajel): no maximum limit for transaction authentication and clearance offices

Step 2: Present the Certified Document at the Embassy of Spain in Abu Dhabi

The certified document must be presented at the Embassy of Spain in Abu Dhabi to be recognized as valid in Spain obtaining obtain a stamp from this entity. This can be done by submitting the electronic certificate to the embassy. The stamp confirms the authenticity of the electronic certificate. It is issued by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Before attending the Embassy in Abu Dhabi, you must make an appointment with the Legalization Department through the following link: Click here

Appointments are from 1:30 pm to 2:15 pm, Monday to Friday. The process takes one day, and you can pick up the document the following day without an appointment from 1:30 pm to 2:15 pm by presenting only the receipt that was given to you when you deposited it.

The fees are 29 dirhams per stamp, which can be paid in cash or by card.

By reciprocity, these fees will be 54 dirhams if the citizen is British, 47 dirhams if Irish, and 184 if American.

If you cannot attend your appointment, we inform you that you can send and collect documents using a courier service (always with an appointment), or through a friend or family member.

This process is shorter because it eliminates the step of legalizing the document by the UAE Ministry of Justice. This is because digital documents and electronically certified documents already have the necessary authentication to be recognized in Spain.

 

Impact on Businesses and Individuals

The streamlined legalization procedures for digital and electronically certified documents have a positive impact on both businesses and individuals. Businesses can now expedite transactions and contracts involving international partners more efficiently, leading to faster deal closures and reduced costs.

Individuals, on the other hand, can now process personal documents, such as educational certificates or birth certificates, more quickly and easily, facilitating their participation in international educational opportunities or immigration processes.

 

Summary

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has simplified the legalization process for digital and electronically certified documents for Spain. This new process is more convenient, accessible, and shorter than the traditional process. The streamlined procedures have a positive impact on both businesses and individuals by expediting transactions and facilitating personal document processing. This change reflects the UAE's commitment to digital transformation and innovation.

Processing time: The total time to legalize a document for Spain would be approximately 4 to 5 working days (depends on the available dates of the Spanish Embassy).

 

Inés Piñel Lorenzo

Legal Consultant
Elnaggar & Partners

 

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