Online Qualifications – Which Embassies Won’t Accept Them?

Have you received any online qualifications from the Open University, or any other distance learning program? It's possible that the document will not be accepted by certain foreign embassies.

This post is part of a series

Click the button below to navigate to different parts of this series.

What We’ll Cover

  • Why some countries won’t accept this learning mode

  • Which countries are likely to reject them

  • How you can get around the restrictions

  • How you can get help determining what your options are

The Open University is approved by the British Government as an awarding institution, allowing their qualifications to be verified by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and as such be accepted in a wide range of overseas destinations including Kuwait and China. Other countries however, such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia will not accept these qualification types for legalisation. While the UAE does generally accept online qualifications, this isn’t always the case – I’ll explain further down.

Why won’t these online qualifications be accepted?

Whilst Open University degrees are increasingly becoming as valued as those achieved in “brick universities” here in the UK employment markets, there are still issues when it comes to having these recognised overseas. The sticking point for online and distance learning qualifications is that for Qatar, you must provide additional supporting documentation from your college or university which can verify that you attended a genuine course, for the full duration and did so in-person on one of their campuses.

Qatar has stated that on some occasions, they can accept Open University degrees if they were studied at a “brick university”, which is sometimes done when both institutions run the course in conjunction. If this is the case, it will be worth checking whether you can have this stamped at the embassy, as long as your paperwork explicitly states the name of the university you studied at. The university you attended must be able to supply a letter which meets all of the requirements for the Qatar legalisation process, including verifying that you attended the full course in-person.

Saudi Arabia is another country which currently will not accept distance or online qualifications for the legalisation process. The initial stage which must be completed for all degrees going to Saudi Arabia, is the Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau (SACB). This is a free online service which requires you to upload your degree to their website. The Cultural Attache at the embassy will then contact the awarding institution to authenticate the award, before applying their stamp and returning a scan to you.

One of their stipulations is that you must have attended a course in-person and be able to verify with the college or university directly that your course is genuine and it was you who completed the work, which is difficult to regulate if the course was taken at distance or online.

What can I do if I have a distance learning degree?

If you’re attempting to legalise a document from a distance learning organisation that isn’t the Open University, you are unlikely to have this stamped by the Qatar Embassy. Their requirements for their supporting letters are stringent, so the letter must state explicitly the mode of study and where the course took place.

It is difficult for individuals to know if a document will pass through the entire procedure without any hitches, as the FCO may add an Apostille to your document and declare it as genuine, before it is rejected further down the line.

Therefore, when planning to move abroad, it may be prudent to send your next highest educational document when attesting your certificates for another country, to eliminate any doubt about whether your document will be accepted or not. Be sure to check with your new employer if they are happy to accept another award in place of your degree or above, first.

You can read more about employers and the acceptance of online degrees in part 2 of our blog post here.

Do the UAE accept online degrees?

The UAE accept online degrees.

And, as of July 2023, the Ministry of Education in the UAE have finally started recognising them! The only exception is in the fields of Engineering, Medicine and Law.

In the past, the Ministry of Education didn’t recognise online degrees. This was frustrating because the Embassy did. It led to situations where degrees could be legalised but still wouldn’t be accepted. Now, however, online degrees are recognised in the UAE.

I’m not sure if it will be accepted, what can I do?

If you’re unsure if your document will be accepted or not, we’ve got you covered. We’ve got knowledge of the attestation process for most countries, so our experience colleagues across the globe can answer all of your queries. If you have an enquiry, you can request a quotation through our site here, give our team of specialists a call on +44 (0) 330 088 1142, send us a message via WhatsApp on mobile, use our live chat system, or e-mail us at

key takeaways

Key Takeaways

Although certain countries are unlikely to accept distance learning degrees for legalisation, all hope is not lost. There are ways, in some situations, where you can still make it overseas to your dream job. Make sure you understand the application guidelines for a work permit in the country you wish to work, and let your employer know your issues directly. They are usually more than happy to help you with any visa issues. If you still have questions or are unsure if your award will be accepted at the Embassy, just get in touch with us.

While you’re here, why not keep up to date with all the latest comings and goings by following us on social media?

Ashraf Vachhiat
Ashraf Vachhiat

Ashraf is the Marketing Technologist at Vital Consular, which means he handles all the technicalities involved in bringing this blog to life! He also enjoys creating in-depth articles around current affairs which impact the travel and relocation industry. In his free time, Ashraf relishes travelling as much as possible, and is always looking for quirky spots to take some great photos.

Articles: 137


    • Hi Ben, thanks for your comment. We’ve legalised many OU degrees through the Kuwaiti Embassy in London for our customers, who have gone on to secure positions in Kuwait without any issue. This blog post covers which London Embassies will accept this qualification type. If there any issues you’re aware of do let us know!

        • Hey,

          The Kuwait Embassy in the UK will approve it, but we can’t advise whether or not it would be accredited – we only deal with the attestation of the documentation. Hope this helps!

  1. Hi Melanie, this was a really helpful post. I am a UK trained NQT/ECT and I withold a BA (Hons) degree in Childhood and Education Studies (top-up) (online) from University College Birmingham and I am devastated to hear the UAE/Middle East don’t accept online degrees. I also have a PGCE from the University of Warwick (which was not online). Would my degree be accepted anywhere? I would be grateful for any guidance!

    Thank you

    • Hi Yasmin, the UAE do accept online degrees. It’s only Qatar and Saudi which reject these. You will be fine to have these accepted in the UAE, as well as Kuwait, China, Thailand and Vietnam. I hope this puts your mind at ease!

      If I can be of any more help do let me know.

      • Hi does Oman accept distance learning degrees for teaching jobs. Not open university another university.

        • Hey,

          It’s a tough one to answer because the requirements for Oman can differ depending on the circumstances. The best advice I can give you is to check with your employer if they accept distance learning degrees before starting the legalisation process – if they do, you should be fine. Hope this helps!

          • Hi there, I just wanted to know if OU degrees are recognised in Tunisa? As I’m thinking of teaching English there.

          • Hey Matthew,

            Tunisia is a part of the Hague Convention, so an Open University degree should be absolutely fine. That being said, we always recommend that you double-check with your employer that they’ll accept it before starting the process. Hope this helps, thanks!

          • Will GCC Countries accept distance MSc In Occupational Health and Safety , from The UK? I am from the GCC countries.Thank you in Advance.

          • Hey Ahmed,

            We can’t really answer this, sorry! There are too many different variables.

            Saudi Arabia won’t accept it – they reject all distance learning degrees. Qatar only accept distance learned Masters Degrees, but we’ve found that they do still reject these at times. As for the other GCC countries they might but we can’t guarantee anything. You’re best off getting in touch with their specific Embassies and seeing what they say. Hope this helps and sorry we couldn’t give you a more concrete answer!

      • Hi there, I received my masters from uopeople and my education specialist degree from liberty. Both online and American degrees. Who would accept these degrees? Look forward to hear more.

          • Hi,

            I would like to ask if UK online MSC/ MBA degree (University of west Scotland & Abertay university) accepted in Saudi? Since Saudi is part of Hague convention this attested degree can be accepted for getting visa?

            Thanks in advance!

          • Hey Suhail,

            Unfortunately not – the SACB don’t recognise distance-learned (online) degrees, so they’re unable to be attested. Sorry, but I hope this answers helps.

        • Hello, I am going to pursue an Online Bachelor’s of Computer Applications from Amity online or Manipal online. These two universities are internationally recognised by WES. Amity has multiple campuses in USA and in the UK. Will an online BCA degree be accepted in Saudi Arabia?

          • Hey,

            Unfortunately, it’s unlikely so. Whether WES recognises them or not, Saudi Arabia generally don’t accept degrees earned through distance learning (online). Sorry for the bad news!

      • Melanie Clarke, I am currently in the UAE and my equivalency has been declined due to mode of study. It is not accepted by the Ministry of Education.

        • Hey Carmen,

          Thank you for your comment and sorry to hear that your equivalency certificate has been declined. We did update the information in the blog in early April 2023 to reflect the fact that the Ministry of Education will not recognise online degrees. Thank you for bringing it to our attention, though!

          • Hi Melanie
            I am from South Africa and would like to know which online companies are reputable and internationally recognised in Saudi Arabia and UAE for their equivalency certificates.

            Also, do you have any idea whom I can contact to consolidate credits earned for various previous studies to convert into or contribute to a post graduate qualification (i have already completed a bachelors) . Thanks

          • Hey Zara,

            We’re unable to recommend any specific companies, unfortunately – sorry! As far as we’re aware, equivalency certificates have to be done in-person in the country.

            With regards to consolidating your credits, your best bet is to contact the Ministry of Education. Sorry we couldn’t be of more help!

        • Hi Carmen, would you please advise me as I have been asked to go for equivalency to my online PGCEi from Liverpool John Moores University? Will it get the equivalency or not? And what did you do for your situation?

        • Respected sir, I have a problem, can I get information of that? Sir I want to get teaching job in UAE but I have completed both my Bachelor of Art ( B.A ) and Master of Art ( M.A ) in private mode not as regular student, so is this type of education accepted in UAE for getting teaching jobs? Sir kindly tell me about it because I want to move to UAE for getting teaching job.

          • Hey Imran,

            It depends on a couple of things.

            Firstly, the topic of your degree. If you studied Engineering, Medicine or Law then unfortunately not – they won’t be accepted. If you studied anything else, then they could be.
            Secondly, it depends on the institution you studied at. The UAE ranks each institution, and the lower ranked institutions have more requirements before they will be accepted. It might be worth getting in touch with the Ministry of Education in the UAE and seeing where your institution ranks.

            I hope this helps, and fingers crossed you manage to get a teaching job in the UAE! All the best for the future.

  2. Hello Melanie,
    I would like to get online bachelor degree in Buisness Administration from University Of People and I have a doubt that UAE would accept it. I did some research too and I found the answers in Google that UAE didn’t accept the degrees from University of People. Can you please help me out from this dilemma?

    • Hi, this is correct. The UAE Embassy in the US will not accept distance learning qualifications including those issued by The University of the People. This is also true for Qatar. Sorry to deliver the bad news, I hope this is of help!

  3. Hi,
    I have an MBA Degree from Cardiff Metropolitan University, UK. This was earned through Distance learning and I’m wondering if it’ll be attested/accepted by Saudi Arabia.

    Also, while applying for Immigration to countries like Canada, Australia – will they accept my MBA degree in their Skilled immigration program?

    • Hi, any distance learning will not be accepted by the Saudi government, as it must first pass through the SACB verification process and they will not accept any qualification studied through this medium. In terms of the skilled immigration program, we can not advise on this as we only deal with document legalisation services. You would need to contact the government department for the country you’d like to relocate to in order to find this out. I hope this helps!

  4. I Melanie, I am thinking of doing a Masters in Child psychology online. Would this be acceptable in the UAE?

    • Hi Fay, the UAE will accept online courses studied in the UK so you won’t have any issues having this stamped at the Embassy. Hope this helps!


      • Hi,I have completed post basic Bsc.nursing(distance education). I’m going to write exam in UAE… I’m wondering about that distance education nursing degree will accept by UAE..

  5. I am a South African teacher doing Bachelor of Education studying through distance learning at the University of South Africa will the countries like the UAE and Saudi accept my qualification?

    • Hi Fatimah, some countries will and some won’t accept this. The UAE will generally accept distance learning degrees, but Saudi will not. This is dependent on where you study, too. In order to answer this question for you with complete accuracy, we would need to see a copy of your degree certificate. If you need any assistance, please just get in touch via email at

    • Hi,
      I am also unisa student. Have you got any information regarding the acceptance of unisa degree in uae? please do reply

  6. Hello, thank you so much for your replies. I’m planning to do my bachelor’s degree online (through a uS or a UK university, not the University of People). Then I am going to apply for a job in the UAE as an ESL teacher. Is it likely that my online earned degree will be accepted by schools and the embassy? Which universities would recommend degrees of which are easily accepted by the UAE? Thank you again for your reply.

    • Hi Bekzod, thanks for your comment. The UAE Embassy in the UK will accept online degrees, in the US, it’s a little more complicated. When it comes to employers, you will need to check that on a case-by-case basis, though we have legalised many UK distance learning degrees for use in the UAE. We do have a blog specifically on US Distance Learning degrees here, which may help you.

  7. Hello, i want to ask that the Applied Diploma in Professional Child Psychologists Training from International Open University will be accepted in UAE?
    Thank you!

    • Hi Sadia, the UAE will accept distance learning qualifications, however you must bear in mind that the degree must be legalised in the country of origin. This is where the issuing company is based, in this case The Gambia. Therefore you will need to factor this process in when it is time to graduate. If you need any assistance at all, please do get in touch on and we can assist with the document legalisation.

  8. Hi Melanie,
    I’m considering entering the University of London BSc Distance Learning Programme on Coursera and was wondering if Saudi still won’t accept any online degrees?
    Please note that there is an in-person exam at the British council for most modules in order to pass the module, does that make any difference?

    Thanks a lot in advance

    • Hi Yousef,
      Unfortunately, the in-person exam doesn’t make any difference – Saudi still aren’t accepting online degrees. Sorry about that.
      All the best for the future, and if you have any more questions feel free to give us a shout!

      • Hi,

        Would it be still an issue if the university certificates not mention it as an online degree or distant education in Saudi Arabia?

        Please help.

        • Hey Sherin,

          Unfortunately so – the certificate would have to be verified by the Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau (SACB) and as part of the process they contact the university to check the validity of the document. Sorry!

  9. Hi, if I complete a distance learning degree from the Open University UK, will it be accredited here in the UAE??


    • Hi Fathima,

      The UAE Embassy in the London will attest degrees from the Open University, but we have found that some companies in the UAE won’t accept them. You’re best off checking the visa requirements for the field you want to work in. Sorry I can’t give you a more specific answer!

      All the best,

  10. Respected sir,
    It is stated that I am from Pakistan and completed my Bachelor degree through distance learning program from Allama Iqbal Open University which is in Pakistan. Now I want to visit UAE as a teacher but I doubt that does the UAE accept Bachelor Degree which is completed through distance learning program? Sir please kindly tell me about it.

  11. Hello
    If I have RPL from an Australian University (brick and mortar campus and recognised UAE and KSA) and the balance of a hons program in UK online to upgrade qualifications to B.Hlth Sciences. will this be accepted in UAE or KSA. I am unable to convert the RPl to a qualificatio in Australia as the course program closed. If I am transferring from a UAE position into same position in KSA (same company) will I need to get second attestment if I get it approved UAE. I did not get qualifications attested for UAE as company deemed unecessary at that time.

    • Hi, you shouldn’t have an issue having these completed for use in the UAE at all. KSA will not accept this however. If you want help in getting these attested in the UK just drop us an email at and we can advise on what to do next!

      Many thanks, Melanie

  12. Hi Melanie,
    I’m taking on online LEVEL 6 Diploma in Information Technology. Will this be accepted in Saudia Arabia for attestation?

    • Hi Sirin, as you stated it’s an online qualification, the answer is no it won’t be accepted for Saudi, or Qatar. I hope this helps!


  13. Hi…. I have a master qualification (MA TEFL) from Allama Iqbal Open University, Pakistan and an MPhil (English Linguistics) degree from the University of Sindh Jamshoro, Pakistan. Will my qualification get the equivalency in the UAE? Regards

  14. Hi, I was wondering if open learning degrees like Damascus University Kindergarten program is approved in the UAE or could get the equivalency? Thank you.

    • Hi, the UAE will accept distance learning degrees in the UK. You may still need to get an equivalency certificate, but you will need to speak to your employer to check.

  15. Hi there!
    I currently hold a first class degree from the Open University and am looking at studying towards my master’s with the OU and then a PGCE. Will these qualifications be accepted if I were to apply for a teaching position in the UAE? Would I be better off studying towards a master’s in a brick university or would it not make any difference?
    Thank you!

    • OU degrees will be accepted for legalisation by the UAE, that’s no problem at all. When it comes to knowing which qualifications individual employers will accept, we can’t help there. You will need to enquire with the employer directly, but I would be surprised if you had any issues at all with an OU degree and employment there.

      • Hi…I’ve been told by the supply agency for international recruitment of teachers that the rules have changed and it’s not possible for Open University degrees to be accepted ? Could you confirm if this is the case?

        • Hey,

          Different countries have different rules on what qualifications they’ll accept – some will accept an Open University Degree, other’s won’t. What country are you thinking of teaching in? If you let us know, we can advise you further – thanks!

          • I’ve applied through an agency and the school in UAE are not considering me because of my degree as they saying Ministry of Education will not accept open uni degrees…

          • Hi Ranaz,

            Sorry about the confusion – we’ve just been in touch with the UAE Ministry of Education to clear this up. It’s a bit confusing – the UAE Ministry of Education won’t accept Open University degrees, so if you’re applying to a state school then they won’t consider you. Private schools, on the other hand, might, as they aren’t governed by the Ministry of Education – it’s their own choice whether to accept Open University degrees or not. Hope this helps!

  16. Hello,
    I would like to take a Master Degree program in Translation Studies (Distance learning) in University of Birmingham UK (not Dubai). Will it be accepted and attested in Dubai and UAE in general?

    • Hi Tarek,

      It’s hard to give you a straight answer here, sorry – the UAE do accept online learning degrees on the whole, but some companies don’t. It depends on the position you’re applying for. You’d be best off checking with the employer – I hope this helps!

  17. I would like to work in Saudi and am currently pursuing an online degree so if my online degree doesn’t get attested by Saudi embassy. Is it impossible to work there?

    • Hey Mohammed,

      I can’t say with any certainty that it’s impossible to work in Saudi without a degree, because I’m not 100% sure, but I can tell you that the Saudi Embassy won’t accept online degrees – sorry! Hope this helps!

  18. Hi
    I am currently pursuing PhD from the University of Leicester via Distance mode. Would that qualification be accepted in the UAE for equivalency purposes?

    • Hey Mary,

      Yep – as far as we know, that should be fine. At the time of me writing this, the UAE are fine to accept qualifications earned through distance learning. Hope this helps, and good luck with your PhD!

  19. Hi Melanie,
    Asking on behalf of my boyfriend here. He is studying his Undergraduate Degree at the Open Univeristy UK.
    Will he then be able to get employment worldwide, or are there any countries that won´t accept his degree?

    Many thanks,


    • Hey Jenny,

      There are a few countries that won’t accept an Online degree – Saudi Arabia and Qatar definitely won’t, and the Ministry of Education in the UAE have stopped accepting them too, so if he’s looking at teaching in the UAE he won’t be able to teach in a state school.

      It’s worth keeping in mind that countries can (and do) change their rules at any time, so although a country accepts online degrees at the moment, they might not in the future. It can be a bit of a nightmare, I know, but that’s just the way it is. Hope this helps!

  20. Hi,

    I have an Open University Batchelor of Arts degree which ADEK has asked for equivalency. How do I go about getting equivalency? Is there anything I can do to my degree to be compliant with the requirements? Currently the UAE is not accepting online open university degrees. Is there any way to make my degree work. Can I do a conversion course in the UAE?


  21. Hi Declan Ramsden,

    I’ve read all your replies on online degree attestation issue in KSA. I’ve also got a MSc degree of project management in the University of Manchester (3 years course, 2 year credits for course, 1 year dissertation with a supervisor in University by Zoom) through a distance learning. I’ve already uploaded all required documents including Employer letter and requested UKSACB to accept my MSc attestation with email inquiry as well. I seriously require this attestation and thus, is there any way to approve this? Kindly request your advice.

    • Hey Andrew,

      We can’t attest the certificate unless the SACB verify it first. If it does get rejected unfortunately there’s nothing we can do to help with it. Do you have any other qualifications that weren’t studied through distance learning that could be accepted? The only thing you can do really is wait until the SACB get back to you and see if they’ve accepted the certificate – hopefully that’s the case, and then we can attest it for you. Hope this helps, and fingers crossed!

  22. Hey,

    I am studying BSc (Hons) in computer science from the University of London. I just want to know if I will be eligible to work in any of the country like UAE, UK, Canada , USA. Will my degree be recognised internationally?

    • Hey Daniyal,

      I’m assuming your degree is being studied online? But yep, your degree will be recognised more or less internationally. The only two countries that wouldn’t accept it are Saudi Arabia and Qatar, but it’ll be absolutely fine anywhere else. Hope this helps!

  23. Hi there,

    I’m having Level 6 International Diploma in Occupational Safety & Health issued by British Safety Council, will this diploma be valid for Saudi visa process? please see further details of this diploma:
    Total Qualification Time comprises two elements:
    a) Guided Learning (hours) – activities completed by the learner under the direct instruction or supervision of a tutor whether through physical presence or electronic means;
    b) all other time taken in preparation and study, but not under the direct supervision of a tutor, plus time taken to complete the assessments.
    The International Diploma has a Total Qualification Time of 480 hours of which 168 hours are Guided Learning.

    • Hey Mohamed,

      Unfortunately we can’t really give you a clear answer – you’d have to get in touch with the Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau and confirm with them.

      Saudi don’t accept qualifications studied either by distance learning (if you studied it outside of the UK) or online (if the course was studied online) though. Hope this helps, and sorry if it’s not the answer you wanted to hear.

  24. Hi there,

    I am currently studying towards a degree in education from an accredited distance-learning university in South Africa. I would like to find out if I can work as an educator in Dubai and China. Thank you!

    • Hey Nick,

      Distance learning degrees are fine to be attested for both China and the UAE. We can’t guarantee that individual degrees from individual universities will be accepted for any jobs, though, so I’d recommend you double check with the employer before starting any application process – hope this helps, and good luck!

  25. Hi there I have completed my degree with the university of South Africa which is UNISA and is world wide I would like to know if this is accepted in the UAE ,Kuwait and Oman .

    • Hey Denisha,

      There’s not really a clear answer to this – it all depends. If you email a copy of the certificate to our sales team at they’ll be able to advise you further! Hope this helps.

  26. I completed 2 years and gained a Higher Education Diploma in Childhood and Adolescent Studies in person at Liverpool John Moores. I have then spent the last year topping it up to BA Honours Open Degree.
    Is there a possibility the SACB would attest this if I submit my certificate from Liverpool and The Open Uni?

    • Hey Nicole,

      It’s hard to say – most likely not, because Saudi don’t normally accept any online or distance learning modules. It’s free to submit your documents to the SACB though, so it might be worth just submitting them and hoping for the best? You’ve got nothing to lose by trying!

  27. Please let me know a 4 year degree from International Open University (IOU) is Approved in UAE.

    • Hey Mahshook,

      It depends on the job you’re applying for. The Ministry of Education in the UAE don’t recognise online degrees, so if you’re wanting to go into teaching then unfortunately you’re going to struggle with an Open University degree. If you’re applying for a job that isn’t in the education sector, your degree should be fine. Always check with any potential employers, first.

      Hope this helps!

  28. Hi,
    Does South Africa accept ODL PGCE completed in the UK? I’m considering doing one valued by OFQUAL at LRN 7.

    Please advise.

    • Hey Zainab,

      Yep, they should do! We’ve never known them to reject a distance-learning qualification, anyway. Do keep in mind that it’s the employer’s choice to accept distance-learned qualifications or not, so there is a chance that some might not accept it. As a whole though the country of South Africa does accept distance learned qualifications.

  29. Hi,
    I’ve studied political science (B.A hons) in regular university. and I have also Bachelors and master degree of library and information science from Open university (I.G.N.O.U) in India, now I’m pursuing PGCE level-5 (Othm-UK qualification) .
    Will my degree be recognized internationally? Which country will be recognized and which country will not? Please let me know.

    • Hey,

      Most countries in the world will accept distance-learning qualifications. Qatar and Saudi Arabia don’t, and if you’re wanting to go into teaching (which, if you’re doing a PGCE, I suspect you might be) then you might run into issues finding a job in the UAE – their Ministry of Education don’t accept distance learning qualifications (even though their Embassy do). Hope this helps!

  30. Hi,
    I hold a top-up BSc in Business and Management (via distance learning), and an MA in Education from the University of Derby (full-time). Will the UAE embassy/ Ministry of Education attest both qualifications?


    • Hey Anthony,

      The Embassy would attest both of your qualifications, but the Ministry of Education wouldn’t recognise your BSc if it’s distance-learned. You’ll still be able to get a teaching job in the UAE if you can find an employer who’s willing to hire you on the back of your MA, though – a lot of employers are happy to accept your highest qualification. Hope this helps!

  31. Hi, I have been wanting to do my Bachelors in Psychology, and the only option is online. I am a resident of UAE, and I came across The Open University, UK –
    which offers the degree. I can do it in the UAE. But I am not able to get any information on whether it will be accepted in the UAE. Please give me some advice.

    • Hey,

      We’re just a document legalisation company, so we can’t really speak for employers all over the UAE, but we can tell you what we know from our experience.

      A distance learned degree from The Open University should be accepted in the UAE, unless you’re looking to start a career in the Education sector. The UAE embassy accept distance learned degrees and will happily legalise them, but the Ministry of Education don’t recognise them. Unfortunately, if you’re wanting to go into teaching or education, a degree from The Open University won’t help you in the UAE.

      For all other sectors it’s the employer’s choice. There’s no reason for them to reject it but there’s no guarantee they’ll accept it, either. You would have to check with each potential employer on an individual basis.

      I hope this helps and sorry it’s not really a clear answer. A degree from The Open University should be accepted in the UAE, but as it’s the choice of the employer they’re free to reject them if they like.

      • Thank you very much for your reply. I can do with information. I hope this page will be open for any other queries I may have.

        • No worries at all Aleesha – we’re more than happy to help you with any queries about document legalisation!

          • Hi,
            I just saw the update in the article about the Ministry of Education in UAE accepting The OU degrees. So, now I can hope to get into teaching too with a degree from the OU, right?

          • Hey Aleesha,

            Yep – the Ministry of Education in the UAE have updated their stance on education certificates. Degrees earned entirely through distance-learning are now accepted (except in the case of Engineering, Medicine and Law degrees). You can find out more information about it in this article from Arabian Business! It’s great news!

  32. Hi,

    I am from South Africa and was recently offered a teaching position in a vocational institution in the UAE. My Master’s degree which was obtained from the University of Leicester (distance learning) has already been attested by the Embassy in London.

    My question is, will this be accepted by the Ministry of Education in the UAE? as I believe that the MoE does accept online degrees from certain UK universities. I would appreciate any insight you may have regarding this.

    • Hey Fatima,

      In our experience we haven’t known the Ministry of Education in the UAE to accept online degrees, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t. I would recommend contacting the UAE Ministry of Education directly. Drop them an email and explain where your degree is from, and ask if they would be willing to accept it. They’ll be able to give you a specific answer for your exact circumstances – hope this helps!

  33. I did my B.Ed from AIOU that was marked by MOE as genuine but still they did not recognize/equalize it. I’ve enrolled for an M.Ed (based on B.Ed) in Sarhad University in Ras al Khaimah. Will M.Ed be accepted for a teaching job in UAE?

    • Hey,

      Unfortunately this isn’t something we can give you a clear answer for – there are too many dependencies. We would recommend speaking to the Ministry of Education in the UAE, and maybe even emailing a few UAE schools and asking if they would be willing to hire someone with a M.Ed just to give you an idea of whether it would be accepted or not. I wish I could give you a clearer answer. Sorry!

  34. Hello, I have a distance learning MA TESOL from Sheffield Hallam University (UK). Is this recognised to work in the UAE?

    • Hey Sarah,

      In theory, yes – recent changes to the UAE’s procedures mean that they should accept distance learned degrees. Sometimes, however, it can be a bit of grey area depending on which University issued your certificate. I’d recommend getting in touch with the UAE Embassy and see what they say. Sorry I couldn’t give you a more concrete answer!

  35. Hi,

    I have a Post grad degree in Business Management, from UNISA. My company accepts the qualification, but I am unsure if the UAE will accept the qualification as it is from a LDL institution. Will you be able to advise please, as I would need to get the documents attested.


    • Hey,

      You should be fine to have your degree attested, but you could potentially run into difficulties passing it through the Ministry of Education. They’re fine with some documents but a bit iffy about others. It might be worth getting in touch with them and asking if it would be accepted. Hopefully, as your employer is willing to accept it, you’ll be fine. Hope this helps, and fingers crossed for you!

  36. Hi,

    My bachelors degree was distance learning but my masters degree was full time study. Will my masters degree be accepted by Saudi Arabia SACB or Qatar? Thanks

    • Hey,

      You’d be fine presenting your Master’s degree in Qatar! As for Saudi Arabia, you say that you studied your Master’s degree full-time – was it studied in person? As in, did you physically attend your lectures and seminars? Sorry if it sounds like I’m being pedantic, but we’ve known documents get rejected over small differences in syntax like that.

      If your Master’s was studied in-person then it is likely to be accepted by the SACB, but it does also depend on the institution you studied at. It might be worth getting in touch with the SACB directly and seeing if they accept qualifications from the university.

      Whether for Qatar or Saudi, you would need to find an employer willing to hire you on the back on your Master’s degree alone, as neither would recognise your Bachelor’s degree. Don’t worry too much about this, though – just communicate it to potential employers. We’ve known plenty of people in the past get employment based solely on Master’s degrees. Thanks for reaching out – hope this helps!

  37. Hi dear!

    Your blog has me worried now 🙁 I was just about to accept an offer from the University of Essex Online, the course is LLB law (Hons) with Business. Its a 4 years part-time course and the mode of study is online. However the degree is the same as on-campus one from the University of Essex. There is NO mention of “online” on the certificate. It will only be mentioned on the transcript.

    Will there an issue for me? Please help me out here. Appreciate it.

  38. Hey,
    I would like to ask, that I have a BSc Hons in Computing Degree which was awarded by Staffordshire University UK. This degree is full-time but through from the international partner campus (APU Malaysia). The Saudi consulate in London will considered as distance learning?

    Thank you in advance!

    • Hey,

      Unfortunately it’s likely your degree would be rejected as ‘distance-learned’. You can, however, upload a scan of it to the Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau’s (SACB) website to double check for yourself (it’s free to do so): Hope this helps!

  39. Hi,

    I completed my degree in person in the UK and have recently completed the PGCE iQTS – although ‘distance learning’ – the sessions were live and in ‘virtual person’ and same as on the ground PGCE – and also gained a QTS certificate. Would this be attested by the Qatari embassy? I think the QTS might but maybe not the PGCE?

    Thank you

    • Hey,

      I think you might be right – I suspect the iQTS would likely be accepted in Qatar, but as your PGCE was ‘distance-learned’ it’s unlikely to be accepted, no matter the technicalities of how it was studied.

      If you send copies of your documents to our sales team on we’ll be able to take a proper look at them and advise you with a definitive answer – just explain why you’re sending them in! I hope this helps.

  40. What about if you have an undergrad degree from the Open University, but then you have a postgrad from a brick university, such as a PGCE or Masters? I am a qualified teacher in the UK with an OU undergraduate degree, but I received my PGCE from an ordinary university. Would they still not accept that even though I am a qualified and experienced teacher?

    • Hey,

      It’s still possible to get a teaching job in Saudi Arabia or Qatar, but you would need to find an employer that would be willing to hire you on the back of your PGCE / Masters alone (and your experience, of course!). And, just to clarify, the PGCE / Masters would need to be studied in-person. Just make sure to double check whenever you’re applying for a position and make sure that they fully understand your circumstances. I hope this helps!

  41. Hi,

    I have studied A levels online, from an online school that is UK-based, while in Saudi Arabia Will universities in Saudi accept this/ can I still apply to study in a Saudi university?

    • Hey,

      It’s a bit of a grey area, but it’s definitely possible!

      It depends. It depends what the qualification is and whether it’s recognised. Then it depends on whether the Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau (SACB) will accept it or not. Then it depends whether or not a University will accept it.

      Since it’s from a UK-based institution, it would also need to be legalised (sometimes known as attested). If you send us a copy / scan of the qualification on we can look into this for you. Thanks – hope this helps!

  42. Hi, what about if I have already have BSc STEM (OU) and currently working towards MA (distance learning). Are these recognised in Egypt?

    • Hey,

      They should be, yes. We can’t 100% guarantee it – some employers have their own requirements – but Egypt are usually fine to accept distance-learned degrees and you won’t have any issues having them legalised.

  43. Hello
    Will my 3 year in-person full time degree be accepted for a work visa to get attested by uk sacb? I read that only 4 year degrees are accepted but most BA in education / english linguistics are 3 years? Thank you

    • Hey Hassah,

      A three year degree should be absolutely fine, as long as it’s been completed (and is studied in-person!).

        • No problem at all, happy to help!

          To the best of our knowledge, yes. We’ve never had an issue having a degree legalised / attested on the basis of it being a 3 year course. As long as it was studied in-person, you should have no issues legalising it for use in the Gulf countries (Saudi Arabia and Qatar don’t tend to accept degrees studied online).

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