The process to legalize a marriage certificate to be valid in Qatar is pretty straightforward in the US that is, if you got married in DC. In my experience, it was a lot of process to get all the necessary stamps and certificates from different government offices. This is mainly because Qatar is not a part of the Hague Convention and will not honor an apostille stamp. Legal documents need to go through the longer legalizaion process to be valid in Qatar.
How To Legalize Marriage Certificate To Be Valid in Qatar
1. Collect a certified copy of your marriage certificate from the county you got married in.
I got married in Frederick, Maryland so I went back to the Circuit Court of Frederick to get myself several copies of my marriage certificate. Each copies cost USD5.50, the process was quick (took only 5 minutes for them to print it out for me) and straightforward.
2. Secretary of State Certification.
The Secretary of State for Maryland is in Annapolis. We arrived at their office before noon and there was a short line of people waiting to get their documents certified. The staff was quick in processing each request though so I didn’t wait for a long time. It took my sister to find a parking spot in Annapolis longer than the process of getting my marriage certificate certified. Lol. The Secretary of State charges USD5.00 per document. You also have the option to do this step by mail however, I preferred to do it myself so I’d be able to get it on the same day too. The Secretary of State office is open from 8:30 a.m. 12:00 and 12:30 – 4:00 p.m.
Note: If the country you’re going to is a part of the Hague Convention, the process of legalizing your document ends here.
3. State Department Certification.
I consider this part as the most horrible step for legalizing your documents plainly because the State Department in Washington DC only process the certifications from 8am to 9am. Coming from Maryland, that means we have to leave the house really early to get there on time. Before going to the State Department, you have to fill out the DS-4194 form which you can find online. Once you’ve submitted your documents, you are given a document receipt which indicates your collection date. Normally, it is after 3 days from the day that you’ve submitted your document. The whole process of submitting your document will only take about 10 minutes.
Pick-up time is also between 8am to 9am only and you will have to bring the original document receipt and the EXACT amount of USD8.00 per document. They will not give you the document if you do not have the exact amount (keep the change is not an acceptable practice as well, I know because I tried lol). Good thing that I have my credit card with me at the time and they processed my payment thru card.
Tip: Do not park at the parking garage opposite the State Department unless you want to pay USD25.00 for one hour.
4. Legalization of the document by Qatar Embassy.
As soon as I’ve collected my marriage certificate certified by the State Department, I went straight to Qatar Embassy to do this last process. Thankfully, the Qatar Embassy is also in Washington DC. As for the legalization process, they require for you to have 3 copies of the document. There is a FedEx office in the same street where the Embassy is located so I went there first to have the documents photocopied. The Embassy also strictly requires a money order amount of USD6.00 for the process. They will NOT accept cash nor credit card. Luckily, there is a CVS Pharmacy nearby which issues money orders.
A document receipt will be given to you once again after submission. I went back after 7 days to collect the legalized document.
5. Send the document over to Qatar.
Finally the last step. As soon as I’ve collected the legalized marriage certificate, I went over to the FedEx office near Qatar Embassy and took the express delivery option so that the husband will receive the document after 3 days. The amount that I paid to send it was USD67.00. Extremely expensive if you ask me but I couldn’t be any happier to do this so that the husband will receive it the fastest way possible.
So now that that’s out of the day, I’m just waiting for my Qatar visa to be issued under the sponsorship of the husband. Hopefully, it will be soon.