Dubai – Graduating from college raises mixed feelings and emotions. At first, I was relieved that I was done with four years of university. But, for the majority of college students around the world, their senior year was ruined by the pandemic. Ending the last semester of college in your room facing your laptop isn’t how I imagined my senior year experience. But, one needs to move on and there are a few things you need to get in order after graduating that will make your post-college life less daunting. From sorting out your visa status, to applying for important documents, degree attestation and other miscellaneous tasks, there are several procedures that a fresh graduate needs to complete. Here is a guide to life after graduation and the processes that need to be completed.
Step 1: Clear all your dues
First of all, congratulations you made it! After leaving college/university, don’t abandon your student account or email ID altogether. Be up to date with your payments and regularly check your student email for any news or updates.
Alternatively, you could be proactive and contact your university’s finance department or check your account to see if you have any outstanding dues. Most colleges in the UAE have certain administrative fees that you need to pay to receive your documents and transcripts.
Step 2: Get the necessary attestations
Now that you have collected your degree/diploma, and other documents and transcripts, it is time to get them attested. According to the UAE’s Ministry of Education (MOE) website, MOE will only attest documents and academic qualifications issued by education institutions that are accredited and licensed by the Ministry, for institutions inside the country.
MOE has compiled a list of accredited universities in the UAE, which you can find here: https://www.moe.gov.ae/En/MediaCenter/News/Pages/licensedInstitutions.aspx
Before starting the attestation process, here are the required documents for attestation of a diploma or bachelor’s degree:
• The original certificate
• Transcript of the original grades
• Secondary School Certificate
• Emirates ID
• Passport copy
As you can complete the process online, keep digital copies of these documents at hand.
After sorting all the necessary documents, the steps for attestation are:
• Create an online account.
You can complete the attestation process entirely online. You must create an account first at www.moe.gov.ae. You can also login using your UAE Pass.
• Provide your details
Visit this link to access the attestation service online – https://www.moe.gov.ae/En/EServices/ServiceCard/pages/AttestationReggraduate.aspx
Click on ‘Start service’
Some of your basic details, like name, gender, nationality and Emirates ID number would already be filled in, from your initial account registration process.
Provide details of your qualification, including your university, course, graduation year as well as Student ID.
• Upload the necessary documents
Next, you would need to upload all your documents to the MOE website and pay the appropriate amount. Click ‘Submit’.
• Make the payment
You would then need to make the payment. The fee depends on the number of documents you need to get attested, with the cost being Dh50 for each document.
• Review the application
After reviewing your documents and completing the payment, save the application.
The attestation of the documents is reviewed and signed by an employee at the MOE Customer Service Centre. The Customer Service Centre is located in Dubai, Al Nahda Street, near the Al Qusais Metro station, which you can visit in case you wish to reach out to them for any issues you face. Contact the MOE Customer Service Centre by email -email@example.com or call 800 51115.
The documents and academic qualifications are sent to the accredited higher education institution (your university) in the UAE to validate, for completion of the process. This is specifically for those who have completed their degree in the UAE.
Following this, a decision is taken, which is either attestation or rejection.
When the transaction is completed, the MOE Customer Service Center is notified.
The attestation files are couriered to you via Empost.
If your university was not based in the UAE, read our detailed guide on how the degree can be attested.
Step 3: Look at your visa options
The prevailing question for people on a student visa after graduating is what they should do about their visa status in the UAE. The visa process is straightforward. As per UAE regulation, university-sponsored students are required to cancel their student visa after graduation.
How long do I have before my student visa will get cancelled?
The cancellation of the student visa happens after the graduation date. Every university has its terms and condition for the visa process. Contact your university’s registrar's office to know about your options. Depending on your university, processing a degree may take an extended amount of time. Therefore, some colleges may give some leeway or extension for students to explore other UAE visa options.
One-year visa for graduates
If you were on your parent’s sponsorship when you were in university, new rules announced by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship’s (ICA) allow graduate students to be granted a one-year residence visa, renewal for another year from the graduation date or completing 18 years of age. Again, it is important to remember that this option is only available if your parents are UAE residents, who are sponsoring you.
This visa allows students to study and work part-time on a permit.
For this visa, parents are not required to place bank deposits. Parents must present attested graduation certificates from universities or schools inside the UAE or abroad.
Sirajudeen Ummer, a Public Relations Officer with Dubai-based First Gate Business Services, explained the student visa process in the UAE.
“This visa allows students to study and work part-time on a permit,” he said.
“If you are applying for a student visa at the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) Dubai, you have the option to apply for it whether you are inside or outside the UAE. However, when applying through ICA (for other emirates), you can only apply for this visa when you are inside the country,” said Ummer.
He also provided a list of documents essential for the student visa:
• Sponsor’s passport copy with visa page and Emirates ID
• Sponsor’s labour contact/salary certificates (if it is a government or semi-government organisation)
• Student birth certificate, which has been attested by both home country and UAE with legal translation
• Ejari or tenancy contract
• Student passport copy
• Passport photograph, with white background
• Admission letter from college
Below is the financial cost for the one-year student visa, if parents are resident sponsors:
• For the student visa, inside country entry permit costs Dh1,200 (if the student is in the UAE)
• Change in status cost Dh680 (for students inside the UAE)
• Medical test fees - Dh300
• For Emirates ID one year – Dh170
Freelance visa options
If you were on your university’s sponsorship, and are looking to opt for a freelance career path, you can consider a freelance UAE visa, which is a permit that legally allows you to work in the UAE as a freelancer. The freelance visa, however, is provided for certain industries like education and media. The freelance permit cost can range from Dh530 (through Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development) to Dh11,000. For a detailed guide on all the freelance visa options in the UAE, click here.
- Get a freelancer licence in Abu Dhabi for Dh530 and sponsor your family in the UAE
- Do you want to start your own business, or work from home? Find out how to get a freelance permit in the UAE?
- UAE: Can I get a freelance permit while on spouse visa?
- Freelancing vs. sole proprietorship vs. LLC: Which is the best option for you in the UAE?
- COVID-19: Freelancing in the UAE – here is how you can get a permit online and make money
Alternatively, you could get started on your job hunt and if successful, your employer would apply for your work visa.
Step 4: Get started on the job hunt
Now we arrive at the part most raduates dread, and that is the job-seeking process. Finding a job or a graduate internship might induce anxiety and stress. You will face rejection sometimes but learn from your mistakes, and who knows you might get contacted again for the same role. This is the harsh reality many graduates must face. Trust me, I’ve been through it! Just remember everyone’s different and never compare yourself.
Before graduation, college students have probably done one or two internships while studying. These internships are career stepping stones. When I started applying for jobs, I usually used my university’s career portal to apply. The competition pool often tends to be less, compared to LinkedIn. But if you are applying through LinkedIn, make sure your resume has certain keywords from the job description. This makes the resume more ATS-friendly (Applicant Tracking System). ATS is a software used by recruiters for the hiring purposes. This system screens candidates for job openings. The software tracks the way the applicants resume is written.
Upon graduating, joining your university alumni association is a great networking tool because you can connect with alumni who work in your interested field or find them through LinkedIn and drop a message.
There are also several government portals that allow you to find reliable job offers:
1. Federal Government job portal - https://www.federalerp.gov.ae/OA_HTML/RF.jsp?function_id=14296&resp_id=23350&resp_appl_id=800&security_group_id=0&lang_code=US&oas=-ehfz4ZGRsdRkfvcGaqq5w..¶ms=nV1MGY37ghkUOpzGY1Ibyws35loUJz2GmcJlQGZ3FzQfZMwwF-KGG1U31AbMrlzt
2. Virtual Job Market by MOHRE: careers.mohre.gov.ae
3. Abu Dhabi Government job portal: https://www.tamm.abudhabi/services/education/hra/apply-to-a-job-vacancy/search-and-apply
4. Dubai Careers: https://dubaicareers.ae/en/pages/default.aspx
You can also refer to the Gulf News Careers portal here - https://getthat.com/?vertical=jobs
Step 5: Make use of your college’s alumni association
As previously stated, networking with other alumni is a great tool to build valuable business connections. Being a part of an alumni association can lead to job openings and can even act as a support network. Alumni can share expertise and inspire fresh graduates. Get in touch with your alumni for advice and mentorship.
Closing this chapter in life can be precarious, and your mind is muddled with endless thoughts. Hopefully this article has made the process of after graduation less daunting. Now is the time to get out there and best of luck!
- The writer is an intern with Gulf News