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UAE: What Are the Consequences of Forged Degree Certificates?

Dubai skyline from a distance

Forgery of academic degrees is a serious offense in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), with severe consequences for individuals and employers. Federal Law No. 9/2021 on the Prohibition of the Use of Academic Degrees Issued by Nonlicensed Entities explicitly prohibits using academic degrees issued by nonlicensed entities for employment purposes within the UAE, outlining many measures to combat this fraudulent practice.

Article 4 of Federal Law No. 9/2021

According to Article 4 of Federal Law No. 9/2021, academic degrees used for employment must meet specific conditions, including accuracy of data and issuance by a legally established and licensed entity. Any degree obtained from a nonlicensed entity is deemed invalid and cannot be used within the UAE for any purpose. Moreover, all employers, whether governmental or nongovernmental, are prohibited from recruiting individuals holding such forged degrees or benefiting from their services in any position.

Penalties for Submitting Forged Documents

The consequences for individuals found guilty of using forged degrees are severe, as outlined in Article 6 of the law. Those who mistakenly submit forged degrees may face imprisonment for up to three months or a fine of up to UAE dirham (AED) 30,000, or both. However, intentional submission of forged degrees or involvement in their issuance carries even penalties, including imprisonment for up to one year or fines of up to AED 500,000, or both. Furthermore, individuals knowingly benefiting from forged degrees may face imprisonment for up to two years and fines ranging from AED 100,000 to AED 1,000,000.

Legal Responsibility of Employers

Employers also take the responsibility of ensuring the legality of academic credentials presented by potential employees. Failure to verify the authenticity of degrees may result in legal consequences for the employer, including financial penalties and damage to reputation. Therefore, it is mandatory for employers to exercise due diligence in verifying the credentials of their employees to avoid involvement in forgery-related offenses.

In addition to legal sanctions, the law mandates the dismissal of all benefits obtained through the use of forged degrees. This serves as a prevention against individuals attempting to gain unfair advantages through fraudulent means. Furthermore, employers that have unintentionally granted benefits based on forged degrees have the right to request the return of such benefits from the employee.


Forgery of degree certificates in the UAE workplace carries severe consequences, ranging from legal penalties to reputational damage. It is mandatory for individuals to uphold ethical standards and adhere to legal requirements regarding academic qualifications. Likewise, employers must remain vigilant in their efforts to detect and deter fraudulent practices, thereby safeguarding the integrity of the workforce and preserving the credibility of the educational system.

Hassan Elhais is a legal consultant with Awatif Mohammad Shoqi Advocates & Legal Consultancy in Dubai. © 2024 Awatif Mohammad Shoqi Advocates & Legal Consultancy. All rights reserved. Reposted with permission of Lexology.


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