Tuesday, 23 July 2013

As part of my job offer acceptance, I was asked by HR to provide a copy of my most recent University qualification, notarised by a solicitor and legalised by the Qatari embassy in London.
While this may not be applicable to other employees in the process of moving out to the Middle East, I thought it might still be useful to share my experience of the notarisation process anyway.
Firstly I looked online for my nearest notary solicitor (or Notary Public). As luck would have it, one of the only local notaries is located just down the road from me, so I emailed him with the specifics of what my company required and arranged a meeting for Friday 12th July. At the meeting I produced the original of my Masters degree certificate which he made an official, notarised copy of (he attached a certificate stating that my copy is a true and exact copy of the original certificate) The next step is for this copy to be sent to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) who will attach an Apostille and send this back to the solicitor. You can send the notarised copy to the FCO yourself, but as this process is entirely alien to me, I paid for my solicitor to do this for me. To give an indication of cost, I paid £85 for my solicitor to notarise a copy of the document and send it to the FCO. In addition, I paid £36 which is the fee for obtaining the Apostille from the FCO, so a total of £121.
The next step is to have the notarised document with the Apostille legalised at the Qatari embassy - my solicitor advised me that you can pay for someone to do this on your behalf (he offered this service for an additional fee) but due to the deadline I was up against to get these documents ready to send back to HR, I chose to take these to the embassy myself.
I got my notarised certificate and Apostille back from the FCO in the post the following Thursday, and took them to the embassy in Park Lane the very next day. The process from here is very quick - you hand over your documents and ask for them to be legalised, pick up a number (much like a raffle ticket or cloakroom ticket!) and are told the collection date to pick up your documents (two working days - so I was asked to return the following Tuesday) The charge for this is £4.
So today I picked up my documents and scanned them over to HR in Doha - the wheels are now fully in motion and hopefully the next step is for me to be told my official start date and flight/VISA details!

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