Dubai: Have you been asked to submit an equivalency certificate by a prospective employer, but have no idea what it is? Here is all you need to know.
What is an equivalency certificate?
Equivalency certificates are issued by the UAE’s Ministry of Education, where the Ministry attests that a degree that has been awarded by an institute outside the UAE meets the UAE’s education criteria, as well as international academic standards.
“Equivalency certification is the process by which the Ministry of Education endorses the educational qualification and confirms the education to be equal to UAE’s standard,” Donna Dsouza, Manager of Dubai-based GloboPrime Attestation Services, told Gulf News.
“The equivalency certificate is required because it filters out fake degrees,” she added.
So, does every worker in the UAE need to get an equivalency certificate?
According to Shahul Hameed, manager of Abu Dhabi-based Astute Attestation Services, the service can be used by a person who holds any type of educational degree or qualification, like a high school diploma or a bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate degree.
“It is even applicable for those who have a distance learning or online learning certificate. All these degrees must be recognised by the Ministry of Education and competent government authorities in the host country,” he said.
However, there are certain categories of occupation where an equivalency may be a mandatory requirement as per government or institutional regulations, according to Dsouza.
Equivalency certification is the process by which the Ministry of Education endorses the educational qualification and confirms the education to be equal to UAE’s standard.
The categories that need to apply for an equivalency certificate include:
This, specifically, is required by those students who wish to pursue higher studies in the UAE. For this category, high school equivalency is mandatory.
• Professors, faculty members and teachers
All teaching and university faculty need to equivalise their highest qualification.
“The Bachelor of Education course certificate cannot be attested since this is just a two-year course. The bachelor’s degree needs to be equivalised,” Dsouza said.
All engineers who work in various engineering departments require to equivalise their engineering degree.
“Once they equivalise their engineering degree, only then can they register for a Society of Engineering card (SOE), which is a mandatory requirement by Dubai Municipality,” Dsouza said.
• People applying for UAE golden visa
With the new rule for golden visas, the expat applying for such a visa has to have an equivalency certificate from the Ministry of Education.
• Expats working in government offices in UAE
“Most expats working in government entities are now being requested to produce an equivalency certificate. This depends greatly on which government entity they work for and in which capacity. If the nature of their job is related to a technical field, then an equivalency certificate may be mandatory,” Dsouza said.
• Medical staff (doctors and nurses)
Doctors, nurses and other medical staff are required to apply for a medical licence from a health authority in the UAE – whether the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP), Abu Dhabi Department of Health (DOH) or the Dubai Health Authority (DHA). For this process, an equivalency certificate is also now required, as part of the documents that need to be submitted.
It is even applicable for those who have a distance learning or online learning certificate. All these degrees must be recognised by the Ministry of Education and competent government authorities in the host country.
How to apply for an equivalency certificate
If you wish to apply for an equivalency certificate, these are the steps to follow:
Step 1: Get the degree attested
Depending on which degree you wish to get equivalised, the required documents will vary for submitting it for attestaion.
If you are equivalising a bachelor’s degree, you would need to submit the following documents:
• The original bachelor’s degree
• Transcript of the final year mark sheet
• High school certificate
• Secondary school certificate
If you are equivalising a master’s degree, you would need to submit the following documents:
• The original master’s degree
• Transcript of the final year mark sheet
• Bachelor’s degree
• Transcript of the final year mark sheet for Bachelor’s degree
To get your degree attested, you can either apply directly through the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC) or through an attestation services provider.
These are all the platforms or services in the UAE, which you can use to get your documents attested:
1. MOFAIC website – www.mofaic.gov.ae
2. MOFAIC smart phone application ‘UAE MOFAIC’, which is available for Apple and Android devices.
3. At an MOFAIC customer happiness centre.
4. Attestation service agencies – various agencies and typing centres in the UAE also offer attestation services, and may be a convenient option if you do not wish to do the application process yourself. However, you would need to pay additional service charges, which may vary from one agency to the other.
For a detailed guide on how to attest your degree, click here.
Step 2: Apply for a ‘genuineness letter’
A ‘genuineness letter’ is issued by the UAE consulate or embassy of the country in which you completed your education. The letter confirms that the university, college or institution at which you studied is a genuine institute.
However, it is important to note that qualifications issued from certain countries may not require you to provide this letter. There is a list of countries that MOFAIC communicates with, to validate certificates, without the need for a genuineness letter. You can find the list here: https://www.moe.gov.ae/En/EServices/ServiceCard/Equ/Pages/CountriesList.aspx
“This is a back-end verification process, done by the embassy directly with the university. There is a set of questions sent by the embassy to the university. Once the embassy verifies the response, a copy of this verification email goes directly to the UAE Ministry of Education,” Dsouza said.
Step 3: Apply for an ICA report
When applying for equivalency, you will also be asked to submit an ICA report. This refers to a travel report issued by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA), and should be a comprehensive travel report, which shows the immigration records that reflect your travel history. You can read our detailed guide on what the ‘exit/entry’ or travel report is, and how to apply for one, here.
Step 4: Apply for the equivalency certificate through the Ministry of Education portal
Once all the documents are in place, you can apply for the equivalency certificate through the MOE website: https://www.moe.gov.ae/En/EServices/ServiceCard/pages/CertEquivalent.aspx
You would need to submit the following documents:
• Passport copy and visa page
• Emirates ID copy
• ICA report – exit entry report
• Genuineness letter (if required)
• All attested documents (as listed above)
How long does the process take?
According to Hameed, as the process involves various steps, the service time can differ based on each country.
How much does it cost?
These are the costs involved with getting an equivalency certificate:
Attestation service – Dh156
ICA report - Dh153
High School - Dh50
Bachelor’s degree equivalency – Dh100
Master’s degree equivalency – Dh150
PhD degree equivalency – Dh200
If you hire the services of an attestation service provider, they would include their service charges and provide you with a fee for a package, which includes all these services.