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Certifying Academic Documents for Visa Applications

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In the age of globalization more and more of us are making the decision to live and work abroad, with the United Arab Emirates, Australia and United States being some of the top destinations for British emigrants. Whilst it goes without saying that such a substantial move requires much preparation (think: finding a way to move most of your possessions to a different continent and someone to take care of your hamster), there are also many behind-the-scenes practical actions that need to be taken, in order to obtain a visa. Specialized companies such as Vanner Perez Notaries help those planning a move abroad authenticate and legalize all the documents required to apply for a visa, which in most cases of relocation requires certification of educational qualifications, and in particular, a degree or master’s certificate.

1) Begin by finding a notary in your area. The Notaries Society offers excellent searching facilities, which will help you find a conveniently located notary public.

2) The verification process. In order to certify a copy (or in rare cases, the original) of your degree certificate, the notary public will need to verify its authenticity. This process involves contacting the university’s transcripts or records department to confirm that they indeed issued the document in the first place. The Higher Education Degree Datacheck website is a very helpful resource for this purpose, as it provides specific contact information for each university.

The waiting period for the document to be verified varies greatly from institution to institution, as do their requirements. For example, institutions belonging to University of London charge a £15 fee to verify a certificate, while other places, like University of Cambridge, do not have such a requirement. Secondary schools, colleges and universities will always ask that you give permission for this information to be released to third parties, in accordance with the Data Protection Act.

3) Certifying the document. Once the notary has verified the authenticity of your diploma, he or she will be able to attest a copy of it. The notary public will draft a notarial certificate, which includes your details and the information confirmed by the university. After affixing his seal and signature to the document, the notary will securely attach it to the copy of the degree certificate.

4) Legalization: Whilst the notary can assist you with attesting the authenticity of your degree diploma, often this will not be sufficient for use abroad, or for visa purposes. Much will depend on the requirements of the destination country or the receiving party – in most European countries, for example, the apostille ‘stamp’ issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will suffice to confirm the authority and the genuineness of the notary’s signature and seal on the certified degree diploma. Outside of Europe, frequently a combination of the apostille and further consulate legalization is required.

Although certifying and legalizing your degree diploma may seem like a daunting task, do not put it off; speak to a notary who will help you arrange the process and leave you with more time to focus on other aspects of your move.

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AUTHOR Derek

My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.

2 Comments

  1. I’m currently on a tourist visa in Dubai. I got an offer from a company based in Dubai, but my passport doesn’t have 6-month validity to apply for an employment visa. May I how do i Complete the process of UAE Embassy Attestation?

    • Sounds like a question for the government! Cool opportunity though.


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