ATTESTATION OF CERTIFICATES FROM INDIA FOR SAUDI ARABIA

Getting your certificates attested can be a roller coaster ride for most of us, especially if we are not aware of its procedure. In this article, I will try to help you through this process by outlining its procedure as clearly as possible.
We all are aware that immigration to foreign countries require certificate attestation from government offices in our home countries, in this case, its India. It’s a time consuming process that requires attestations of all our credentials from the State Home Ministry, HRD, MEA etc. and from Consulates / Embassy of Foreign Countries such as Saudi Arabia.
I normally recommend doing this through agents wherever required, because it saves a lot of time, energy and money, even though you could do it yourself.

The certificates are clearly categorized into two types:
• Educational Document Attestation
• Personal Document Attestation

Educational/Personal Document Attestation Process

Some certificates have to be verified by the respective University/Institute/Department/ Board/Council that issued it, before going for HRD Attestation. Since 29th June, 2007 HRD Ministry handed over the attestation authority to each State’s Home Departments and Regional Authentication Centres under the State’s education department. HRD attested certificates need Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) attestation before going to final Embassy/Consulate for attestation.
In order to get this attestation process smoothly done, one needs to first get educated about its process and all the entities involved in the process.

Below are the 4 main steps involved in this process

DOCUMENTS ATTESTATION PROCESS

There are two types of procedures for educational certificate attestation, anyone of which can be followed to attest your certificate/Document, The procedures are shown in the image below:

Each of these steps will now be explained in this article.

Step 1: Notary Attestation

Notary is the basic procedure which is done before other authentications. This can be considered as the preliminary procedure. The notarisation makes a document legalised to proceed in attestation and legalisations. Notarisation gets the document ready for all the attestations including Home Department (HD), Human Resource Department (HRD), Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and Embassy Legalisations/MOFA, in this case, its Saudi Embassy. This step is mandatory for the authentication process.

Step 2: State Authentication Department ( H.R.D) – For Educational Certificates

‘State education department or HRD attestation’ is the process of authentication of educational documents.
Since 2007, the rules for HRD attestation has been changed subsequently and the most time-consuming procedure, which is by HRD, has now been delegated to the State’s General Administrative Departments (GAD) of the respective Governments from the State where you completed your degree / diploma. The HRD authentication centres are available in each State (which can be easily looked up online). The State’s GAD/HRD issues a Certificate of Authentication once the content of the specified certificate is verified. HRD Authentication is the true an accurate representation of the authenticity of that specified certificate.

State’s Administrative Department for Higher Education attests all certificate issued by Govt. School, Govt. Technical Board, Medical & Paramedical Institution, University, etc. After completion of the authentication process the certificate can proceed for the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) & Embassy (SACA – Saudi Arabia Cultural office Attestation) in New Delhi.

Types of Educational Certificates:- These are the certificates obtained from school and college like SSLC/10th/CBSE, PDC/+2/HSC, Degree certificates like BA, Bsc, Bcom, BTech, BE, BBA, BSc, CA, BEd, MBBS. Post graduate certificates like MA, Msc, Mcom, MBA, MCA, M Tech, B Pharm, M Pharm, Nursing, MSc Nursing etc. and other Diploma, Nursing and ITI certificates.
HRD Ministry attestation procedure:

🔹Get your degree attested from Department of Higher Education from your respective State’s Ministry. For e.g. If you completed your degree from M.P. you should get it attested from the M.P. Government’s Department of Higher Education. Similarly, for other states as well. The documents required are:-

  • Original & photocopy of Degree.
  • Original & photocopies of 10th & 12th Mark sheets.
  • Original & photocopies of Final year degree mark sheets.
  • An Application form which you can get from the department itself.
  • Passport size photograph (1) to be attached in the form.
  • An Affidavit declaring your Personal, Professional & Educational details along with the passport number & the reason why you want your degree attested in a 10/- stamp.
  • Passport Original.
  • Attach all the photocopies of degree, mark sheets along with the Affidavit & Application form.
  • All these photocopies should be attested from a gazette officer.

Submit these documents in the higher education department & keep the original degree & passport with you. The degree will be attested by the Secretary, Department of Higher Education & he will ask for your passport & the reason for attestation. You’ll get the degree attested the same day.

🔹Please ensure that the Vice Chancellor’s signature and seal are very clear in your degree certificate, otherwise it will be rejected by the Ministry.

🔹If your degree certificate is laminated, make sure to remove the same, otherwise it will be forcibly torn by the attestation officer and the certificate may be damaged.

🔹If your certificate is neither in English nor in Hindi, it must first be translated into English and attested by a gazetted officer before being submitted to the HRD Ministry.

Below is the image that shows how an HRD attestation looks like:

State Home Department ( H.D) – For Personal Documents

There is no HRD required for Personal Documents. All Personal documents have to be pre authenticated first from the concerned HD (Home Department). Usually HD Authentication is done from by the respective States itself. After HD attestation, the required Embassy’s attestation is carried out. These need not be authenticated from HRD (Human Resource Development) and GAD (General Administration Department). But some of the Embassy or Consulate attestations can be done for the following certificates.

Step 3: Ministry of External Affairs Attestation (MEA)

After the HRD, Then the certificates have to be attested by MEA. It barely takes a couple of hours to complete this task depending on your location. Anybody on behalf of the candidate can do it, no ID proof required and no charges also (except for the agent’s nominal fees as agreed between both the parties). Try to avoid agents in this process as it’s a waste of time and money.
MEA attestation is functioning under the Ministry of External Affairs of the Govt. of India. Ministry of External Affairs attests all the certificates issued in any state in India. MEA attestation is mandatory for all attestation.

Ministry of External Affairs is available in 5 cities in India, including Hyderabad (others cities are Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Guwahati). Their addresses are available online. One can go to the nearest MEA to get their work done.

A list of the Regional Authentication Centers and the designated authorities (as on July 8, 2013) can be seen on the MEA website http://www.mea.gov.in/

MEA attestation is required to make the document or certificate valid throughout India and outside India. The process of Attestation of certificates/documents from MEA can be held on all the Certificates/documents, if the certificate is issued by Indian Authorities.

The procedure is as follows-

(I) Authentication of documents

Non-Educational Documents:
The documents (like birth or death certificates, marriage certificates, affidavits, driving licenses, etc.) are required to be attested by the State Home Department of the issuing State/Union Territory. The authentication must be done with the name and designation seal as well as the seal of the Department.

Educational Documents:
The documents should be first attested by the State Education Department of the concerned State Government/Union Territory. The authentication must be done with the name and designation seal as well as the seal of the Department.

Commercial Documents:
The documents are to be pre-authenticated by the respective Chambers of Commerce before these can be attested by the Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi. The rubber stamp of the respective Chamber of Commerce must be affixed on each document along with the name & designation of authorized signatory.




(II) Legalization of documents

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) legalizes/attests the documents only after verifying the signature and seal/stamp of the designated authorities of the State Government/Union Territory/Chambers of Commerce.
The MEA legalizes the certificate/documents on the basis of the signature of the designated authorities; hence it does not take responsibility of the contents of the documents and the responsibility of the content verification lies on the state authorities who are designated to authenticate the documents.

Types of Documents needed:
The Ministry of External Affairs does not levy any fees for Attestation of documents. However, if one is proceeding through an agency, it has fixed the following Service Charge payable to the selected agencies for each document. Only original documents duly authenticated by the designated authorities of the State Governments are attested by the Ministry of External Affairs. Attestation is done on the reverse side of the original document. The applicants need to submit the following documents:

(a) Original document to be attested;
(b) One clear photocopy of the document;
(c) One clear photocopy of the passport;

Note:

 It is relevant to mention that the MEA does not legalize or attest photocopies of the documents. Applicants are advised not to rely on unauthorized persons for MEA Attestation services.
 Documents can be deposited in our “Collection & Delivery” counters between 0900 hrs and 1800 hrs from Monday to Saturday excluding holidays.
 Documents can be deposited and collected back either in person or through an authorized representative. Documents will be returned only on production of receipt for payment of service charge.
 However, in case the document is found fake or the authentication forged, the same will be seized by the Ministry of External Affairs. The Ministry may also initiate appropriate legal action against the applicant. The service charge paid to us or the Ministry of External Affairs cannot be returned in any circumstance.


Step 4: Final Step – Embassy Attestation (MOFA/Saudi Embassy)

Once the HRD & MEA Attestations are completed, the certificates are then submitted to Saudi Cultural Attaché Office, Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, New Delhi (this process is also explained in detail below). This step is again time consuming and full of uncertainty. It can be done within a day and sometimes can even take weeks altogether.
Embassy will attest all educational, non educational and commercial document if the certificate is already attested by HRD/MEA or both. All documents must be submitted through authorised travel agencies after getting attested by the MEA.
For Saudi attestation, HRD from respective State is compulsory for all candidates irrespective of degrees and universities.

Formalities Required for Degree Attestation from Saudi Embassy

Here you should take letters from your company requesting Saudi Cultural Office and Saudi Embassy to attest your qualification certificates. Once this step is done, you can hire an agent in your country. Documents are accepted only through any approved agency only by Cultural Attaché Office, so search for an agent either in internet or reach the Culture office around 08:30 in the morning. Make sure the agent has an ID card with a stamp provided by Saudi Embassy. The Office is in 82, Sundar Nagar, near Nizamuddin NEW DELHI. The agents charge 1500/- as fee if you provide these documents. In case you don’t have an offer letter they’ll charge 3500/-. The documents are submitted only from Monday to Wednesday. It may take from 10 to 45 days to get Saudi attestation.
• The degree holder must have a contract letter from government or private sectors in Saudi Arabia or he needs to get admission in any Saudi University to pursue study there. The contract letter from private sectors must be attested by Chamber of Commerce in Saudi Arabia and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Saudi Arabia. If you are working in a Government sector in Saudi Arabia, there is no need to get the offer letter attested by Saudi Chamber of Commerce. Just a copy of the offer letter stamped by the respective office authorities will be sufficient. This applies to all MOH staffs.
• The degree holder must have a valid passport
• Before submission to Cultural Office, his / her degree must be attested by:
 Department of Higher Education of the respective state,
 Ministry of Human Resource Development, Govt. Of India,
 Ministry of External Affairs, Govt. Of India.
• The appointed agency must produce a letter from the concerned university stating that his/her degree is genuine.
• Attestation is done on Original & Final Degrees only. Mark Sheets / Transcript of Marks, Provisional Certificates, Marriage or Experience Certificates or any distance learning certificates are not attested here.

On completion of the above formalities, the Saudi Cultural Attaché Office takes the following steps:
• All the data related to the degree is entered to the Data base and a copy of each document is kept in the record file to be reviewed any time in future.
• The degree is attested by the authorized signatory.
• All the attested degrees are sent to the Consular Section in Saudi Embassy for attestation on their part.
• Attaché will send a copy of your certificates to your concerned University. This will take a week to reach your University’s concerned department. To expedite the process, run around the university and get hold of people who look after this process and expedite the process. Otherwise, the University will take its own time. The best thing will be to take the reference number from the Saudi Attaché office for your document while submitting it and provide that to the University for a faster lookup of your document.
• After the university completes its verification, it will send it back to Saudi Cultural Attaché Office by Speed Post EMS, usually takes 3-4 days depending upon where you/your agent are.
• The candidate needs to track and update their contact details on the SCA’s Website. Once the verification from the university is completed, the Attaché Office will call you/your agent to bring your certificates for attestation along with the following documents:
 Original Degree Certificate
 Offer Letter (Original + Chamber of Commerce + MOFA Seal with Particular date)
 Passport Copy (Clear and clean)
 Iqama Copy in Color (If already working in Saudi Arabia)
 Visa Copy Issued
 Authorization Letter (Affidavit) * (Affidavit on 10 Rs stamped paper)
• Finally, the attested degrees are returned back to the concerned agency by the embassy as per their norms.

Contact details, addresses and timings of the Saudi Embassy can be found on the website below:
http://embassies.mofa.gov.sa/sites/india/EN/Pages/default.aspx

The list of agencies approved by MOFA, Saudi Arabia, is available on the below mentioned website:
http://www.sacaindia.com/english/agencies_list.asp

FAQ’s

What is re-verification of certificate? Is it required for Saudi attestation?

Re-verification of educational documents from the university/ board is must now. Re-verification means the copy of the degree will be sent to the university/board, The university/board is supposed to send back with Re-verification seal on the copy along with one letter of re-verification.

What is the time frame for Saudi Attestation from India?

Usual time limit now is @ 1 to 2 months and more depends on how fast the University replies to re-verify the certificates.

What are charges for Saudi Attestation from India?

Charges for MEA + SAUDI EMBASSY ATTN + University/ Board RE VERIFICATION Charges total: INR 7500/= Per degree certificate (educational). Charges may differ depending conversion rates at the time of attestation and on the agency rates as well.

What are charges for Non-Educational Certificates attestation from Saudi consulates in India?

The charges for non-educational certificate may vary from INR 3000 to INR 4500 depending on the document and whether translation of document is required. For Non-educational documents, the time required is less @ 3-4 days. All Birth certificates, marriage certificates etc. are considered as as non-educational documents.

What documents are required for the attestation process?

Documents required for attestation process:
FOR FRESH CANDIDATES TRAVELLING TO SAUDI ON EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT
1) Original Degree/ Certificate with HRD. (Copies not acceptable)
2) Final Year Original Marks Sheet.
3) Passport Copies (First, Last & Visa pages)
4) Visa Copy for fresh candidates, or the
5.) Original Offer Letter/Contract from KSA, in Arabic or English, on company letter head, attested by Saudi CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, and Saudi FOREIGN MINISTRY, not more than six months old.

FOR THOSE WHO ARE CURRENTLY WORKING IN SAUDI ARABIA
1) Original Degree/ Certificate with HRD. (Copies not acceptable)
2) Final Year Original Marks Sheet.
3) Passport Copies (First, Last & Visa pages)
4) Iqama COLOR Copy (Residence Permit) for those who are already on Job in Saudi.
6.) One fresh letter in which previous experience details and a valid Iqama should be mentioned with company Ref No. and date. Both letters attested by Saudi CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, and Saudi FOREIGN MINISTRY, not more than six months old.

Note:

As per the instructions of H.E Cultural Attaché, it has been brought to everyone’s notice that since 10/02/2014 on wards, Cultural Attaché is sending the letters to the universities regarding the genuineness of the certificates. Candidates who are working in Saudi or recently hired and are in the process of verification need to have to submit the documents and up to date the details in their new website (www.sacaindia.com) . Once they receive any verification reports, they will inform us & accordingly we will submit in the cultural attaché office. So please follow this new rule.

*Candidate’s correct contact details is mandatory. In case of fake documents, a legal action against the candidate will be taken.*

References:

Saudi Certificate Attestation Process & Document Samples: http://acs4jobs.co.in/images/Services%20PDF/Certificate%20Attestation%20-%20Process%20&%20Requirements.pdf

MOFA/Saudi Embassy Process:
http://embassies.mofa.gov.sa/sites/india/EN/AboutDiplomaticMission/Consulates/ConsulatesServices/Pages/Attestation.aspx

The list of agencies approved by MOFA for Saudi Embassy Attestation:
http://www.sacaindia.com/english/agencies_list.asp

A list of the Regional Authentication Centres and the designated authorities (as on July 8, 2013) can be seen on the MEA website http://www.mea.gov.in/

Hope you find this article helpful. Your feedback is my motivation!

Article By: Iram Siddiqui