The nature of this post may appear somewhat bizarre for a legal website, yet all should become clear within a few sentences. Document attestation is something that the average Joe Bloggs is unlikely to know too much about, as it is mainly reserved for solicitors and other professionals that are charged with handling legal documents abroad. In short, it is the process in which a legal document is provided with an official stamp that permits for its use across most foreign countries. With the 2022 World Cup set to be held in Qatar, there appears to be a chance that visitors and football fans might have to be reminded to get their documents in full working order prior to traveling to the country.
A lot of people might still be questioning just why it is important for documents to be legalised for use in Qatar – or more specifically, which documents may need to be given the rubber stamp. The answer to this resolves around FIFA, the governing body of world football, who have placed an incredible number of restrictions and obstacles for those who wish to attend major tournaments. For example, one of the most recent competitions, Euro 2012 in Poland and the Ukraine, the process of acquiring tickets was tedious to say the least. While fans may have thought that the hardest task was to actually reserve for tickets due to the high demand, this was only the start of proceedings. Having reserved their seat, supporters had to arrive at an accredited ticket centre at a set time and show two forms of identification. Fortunately, as most of the ticket staff spoke very good English, these documents did not need to be legalised. However, this might not be the case in Qatar, where it is understood that additional restrictions might be installed as FIFA attempt to clamp down on fraud.
Therefore, there is a high probability that any identification document you plan to use for the tournament might require Qatar attestation. With the competition still a long time away, it’s not yet known what documents FIFA will choose to accept although if past precedents have anything to go by, be prepared to legalise anything from your passport to birth certificate – or even a medical report if you are attempting to acquire tickets for disabled areas of a stadium.
It should be again be reiterated that the authorities may decide that attestation is not going to be applicable for the World Cup. However, with the rules on ticketing becoming tighter by the year, one should not take this for granted. Furthermore, with Qatar already demanding that all documents are correctly legalised for most business and personal matters, this is another indication that you may have to get your documents in order prior to travel.
With nine years ago to the big event, and FIFA already placing demands on the Qatar authorities to make the World Cup as accessible as possible, there’s certainly no need to become too worried just yet. Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see how future sporting tournaments handle foreign documents, and if attestation could become something that the average person becomes more and more familiar with over the next few years.