Login | Register
Email Twitter Facebook YouTube Google+ 2013 Survey

Transferring Schools in/to the UAE – The Rules

Transferring school in the UAE

WhichSchoolAdvisor.com is frequently asked about the rules regarding switching and transferring to schools within the UAE. Here our Head of Consultancy, Lyn Soppelsa cuts through the complexities to deliver a simple guide as to how, where and when you can do so.


The rules for admission and transfer

Children attending school in the UAE must all be registered with the Ministry of Education (KHDA in Dubai) from the age of 5 years.

Required: Residence visa, Birth certificate, Sponsor’s passport and visa copy, Medical records, Transfer certificate (if coming from overseas or another Emirate)

The “Transfer Certificate” confirms the child’s details, school attended, dates attended and last school grade.  It must be written on letter headed paper, signed by the School Principal and stamped.

Children coming from USA, Canada, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand do not require attestation of the Transfer Certificate.

For children coming from all other countries, the Transfer Certificate must be translated into Arabic and/or English, attested by the relevant Ministry of Education in the home country and by the UAE Embassy there and then subsequently attested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Dubai.


* If there is a problem with providing a residence visa, children may still attend school, but will be classified as an “observer”.  Parents will need to complete a form which is submitted to the Ministry and will pay a “fine” (AED 10 per month), until the residence visa is submitted.  Not all schools will accept this arrangement and require the residence visa to be in place before the child commences school.


Deadlines for registration and transfer dates

The Ministry applies different rules for registration and transfer from one school to another, one curriculum to another and one Emirate to another.

These are the last dates that the schools have to prepare paperwork for; therefore most schools will not accept changes more than one month prior to the deadline.

Registration deadline – schools starting in September Mid- November  (date varies by a few days each year)
Transfer from same curriculum school to same curriculum school within the  same Emirate (i.e. British to British) End of January
Transfer from one curriculum to another within the Emirate  – both schools starting in  September Mid – November
Transfer from one Emirate to another (requires  transfer certificate) to same curriculum school End of January 
Transfer to UAE from UK/US  curriculum school overseas to same UK/US curriculum school in UAE 1st May(but rarely accepted by US schools after start of semester 2)
Transfer to UAE  from overseas school – different curriculum** Only at start of school year with November deadline (except from Southern Hemisphere schools)


For Asian schools, where the school year starts in April, there are similar rules and registration requirements, but different deadlines.


Indian Curriculum Guidelines

Admission deadlines

(a) 15th June is the last date for admissions for students coming from other Boards,i.e.  American, IGCSE etc.,
(b) 31st October is the last date for admissions for students coming from within the UAE from any Indian Board.
(c) 8th February is the last date for admissions for students coming from any Indian Board outside of the country.

Transfer certificate requirements

(A) For students coming from Emirates other than Dubai, the Transfer/Leaving Certificate should be attested by the Ministry of Education of that emirate. For Dubai, responsibility lies with the KHDA.

N. B.: The gap between the date of leaving and the date of joining should not be more than TWO WEEKS for (A).

(B) For students coming from OMAN, the Transfer/School Leaving Certificate should be attested by the Indian Embassy/Foreign Affairs Ministry and the UAE Embassy located in that country.

(C) For students coming from Gulf countries other than OMAN, the Transfer/School Leaving Certificate should be attested by the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and by the UAE Embassy located in that country.

(D) For students coming from INDIA: The Transfer Certificate/School Leaving Certificate has to be attested by the Education Officer of the Zone/District/Area, from where the Transfer Certificate/School Leaving Certificate has been obtained.  The seal and signature of the Education Officer has to be verified by the Indian Consulate in Dubai and the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Sharjah – UAE.

N. B.: The gap between the date of leaving and the date of joining, should not be more than ONE MONTH for (B, C, D).


Curriculum changes – grade entry

The Ministry is very inflexible in regard to accepting compatibility of grading structures.  It is rarely possible for a child coming from the US/International 12 grade structure to transfer to the equivalent by age year group in the UK structure (up to year 13 – therefore, one year group higher) – there are a limited number of schools where equivalence is accepted.  Generally, the child will have to repeat one full year.

Children wishing to transfer from Asian curriculum schools (with an April school year start date) to UK/US/International schools, will only be able to do so in September and will have to repeat the same year group that they commenced in April – thus repeating one term.


Southern Hemisphere schools

Children coming to the UAE from Australia and South Africa, where the school year runs from January to December are dealt with differently depending on when they plan to start school in the UAE and based on the individual decision of the school.  Generally, if they are starting school in September or April, they will normally have to enter and repeat part of the same year, since they have not completed the school year at home. They may be able to join the next year group in the UAE provided that the school administers an Entrance exam which is provided to the Ministry to support the application.

Children attempting to start school in January, who completed the school year at home in December, will generally be admitted to the next year, provided that they complete an Entrance Exam which shows they are able to deal with the curriculum – although they will have missed the first term of the year in the UAE.


Year 11 and Year 13 entries – UK curriculum/grade 12 entry – IB curriculum

It is almost impossible to get acceptance for students into Year 11 and Year 13 at UK Curriculum schools, because they will be joining part way through a programme of 2 year study for external examinations (GCSE and A Levels).  Although the curriculum is likely to be the same, schools are free to choose the organisation of the programme and the risk is too great that students will miss sections of the course if they transfer.

Transfer from one IB curriculum school to another is theoretically possible at the start of grade 12, provided that the EXACT same choice of subjects is available.


Leaving School in Dubai

Many countries have a similar requirement to the UAE in regard to provision of a transfer certificate when children move on from the UAE.  The transfer certificate is provided by the Ministry of Education/KHDA and confirms the same information as required when coming to the UAE.

If a child is transferring between Emirates, the certificate does not have to be attested by the MOE and can be obtained directly from the school.  For all other countries, the Ministry’s stamp is required.  In general, schools will not provide a transfer certificate if there are any outstanding fees.



Leave A Reply
  1. Mayada salih says
    January 13, 2017, 6:30 pm

    Right now I’m studying year 10 IGCSE curriculum as a two year course I would like to know if I can transfer to any British school in Dubai from year 11 or 12 and should I repeat my year?

    • January 14, 2017, 6:14 pm

      Hi Mayada,

      Assuming you are in a 13 year school and in the first year of your IGCSE, you would not be able to transfer to year 11 without first repeating year 10. If you complete your IGCSE in year 11, you would be able to transfer for a UK curriculum school for A levels in year 12, provided you reach the academic requirements.

  2. Azizuddin says
    January 9, 2017, 9:44 am

    Hi, My Family Joined me in Abu Dhabi from India this year, and my daughter finished her Grade 1 in Indian Curriculum but did not get admission in grade 2 for academic year 2016-17 due to age factor as she was 4 months younger than the required age in ADEC, but my question is can she be admitted in grade 2 next year on the same (old) Transfer certificate??? School says no.. than from where I can bring new TC when she is sitting in the home for this year?? I will be thankful if guided in this regards.

    • January 18, 2017, 4:38 pm

      Dear Azizudinn,

      The old transfer certificate will not be valid. Your daughter should have repeated grade 1 if she was not permitted entry to grade 2. By keeping her out of school, you will have no choice but to approach ADEC directly to ask for their assistance in obtaining admission. Please take all the documents with you and you should do this as soon as possible.

  3. Arjun says
    January 3, 2017, 8:42 pm

    Hello ,
    Im in 10th grade right now and was planning to change schools after i pass 10th , i just wanted to know based on what will the schools accept my transfer
    Im also choosing science with math stream as well in cbse

    • January 18, 2017, 1:36 pm

      Hi Arjun,

      You will need a transfer certificate from your current school which if you are in Dubai, they will arrange on-line through the KHDA. For applications to other schools, you would need to follow their application process (some on-line depending on the school) and submit your school reports/transcripts for at least the past two years. They may well wish to interview you and possibly arrange an assessment based on your subject choices. I would advise you to start the process without delay as it is late to be making applications.

  4. Divya says
    December 18, 2016, 1:41 pm

    I’m about to finish my 11th grade in India (CBSE) in march 2017. After that, my whole family is shifting to Dubai and I’ve been calling schools for a long time(im currently in Dubai for winter holidays), and one of the schools told me I’ll have to repeat 11th grade here even if I apply for cbse only, because 11th and 12th grades are supposed to be taken together here. I’ve tried to look this up on the internet, and I can’t find it anywhere. No schools have 12th grade vacancy for next year. I am so confused, I don’t understand the system here and my parents are already too busy with finding jobs and apartments. I have to do this by myself, please please help me out.

    • December 18, 2016, 8:09 pm

      Hi Divya,

      I believe that all the schools here will have the same requirement that you study grades 11 and 12 here. The final two years are usually mandatory and schools rarely, if ever, allow for students to join in the final grade as they need to ensure that the subjects and content have been completed – and these may vary between schools. You may wish to contact a few more CBSE schools to confirm this, but I fear that the answer will be the same and you will need to repeat grade 11.

  5. Mohammed says
    December 11, 2016, 5:13 pm

    Dear All
    Seeking urgent advice ….our daughter study in our own english high school sharjah , grade 7 , as we are moving to dubai & will be getting school fees allowance from the employing company …..we tried for Gems Modern & have been offered a seat ….As Gems Modern is ICSE syllabus & assumed tougher than CBSE….I m concerned whether my child would cope up…..as she being an average student. …would appreciate your advise

    • December 13, 2016, 7:26 pm

      HI Mohammed,

      I assume that your daughter was assessed and her reports from her current school considered before she was offered a place. This being so, GEMS Modern Academy would not offer a place if they felt that she would struggle. The school has an excellent reputation and, I am sure, will offer support should it be needed.
      If they take the view that theirs is the right school for your daughter, I think you can be very positive about this opportunity.

  6. Monima says
    December 10, 2016, 4:50 pm

    Hi Dear

    We shifted from Dubai to Abu Dhabi on 29th august 2016.
    my daughter was studied in grade 2, she have to leave school and got her TC,and for september,october,november ,till now she is not going school.,her academic is incomplete,due to visa and emirates id process under gone she did not get admission in school.now at present all her documents are updated the school saying they cannot take her in grade 2 for this year as adec will not accept her registration for this academic year.

    what can be done ? why my little daughter have to suffer this ,she need to go to scholl.there must be some way out,we waited and none of the legal procedure in our hands,we followed the rules.how can my daughter jion school in grade 2 for this year.need your expert advise….. plese ,plese help

    • December 14, 2016, 9:05 pm

      Hi Monima,

      I am sorry to learn about the problems you are facing. The only way in which you will be able to resolve this matter is for your husband to visit ADEC in person to explain to them what has happened and to show that you now have the required documents and that you had applied for your daughter, but she was not accepted by the school. ADEC will then aim to assist you. Your daughter may have to repeat the year since she has missed a significant part of the curriculum. Please do contact ADEC in person without delay to resolve this matter.

  7. Ibrahim says
    December 4, 2016, 3:16 pm

    My son in 12 grade IB, in school in Doha-Qatar.
    As my job changed, I need to transfer him to IB school in UEA these time….is that possible…..please advise.

    • December 8, 2016, 8:53 am

      Dear Ibrahim,

      I am afraid that there is no clear answer to your question as this is a decision made by the individual schools and will based on your son’s reports and recommendation from his current school. You will need to contact the schools individually to see whether they would be able to accommodate him. This will be in large part based on which subjects he is taking and how close the subject content is.
      The latest your son could transfer is April, but since this is so close to the final exams, I believe that most schools will advise you that your son should remain at his current school if at all possible.
      I would advise you to contact Emirates International School, Dubai International Academy, Raffles World Academy, Jumeira Baccalaureate School and Greenfield Community School as these are among the longest established IB curriculum schools who may have experience of such a late transfer.

  8. mariam says
    November 17, 2016, 4:43 pm

    Hai, my daughter is in grade 5 – will start grade 6 this April ( indian curriculum). She has just turned 10 yrs last week. She is an average scoring student , and we feel she will be happier and able to perform better if we repeat her a year in school- as her age group kids are only in grade 4 this year. How can we repeat her class in Uae Sharjah Her dob is 2006 nov
    We are lost as the school is reluctant and just ignores our request. But we feel this will be a huge positive step for our daughter
    Please advice

  9. Mrs. Pereira says
    November 15, 2016, 9:55 am

    Dear Sir, advice required. I have my daughter who is now 12 years and is in India doing her CBSE. Coming March 2017 she will finish her Grade 6 and will be 13 yrs in May 2017. Now she wants to do O’ Level. Is it possible for her to get admission into an O level school in Grade 8 in September 2017? I would very much appreciate if someone could give me the correct answer. Thanks and regards, Mrs. Pereira

    • November 16, 2016, 5:10 pm

      Dear Mrs. Pereira,

      I presume that your daughter is currently studying in a 12 grade curriculum school. This means that she is currently in the equivalent of year 7 in a UK curriculum school. She will need to continue in school for the first semester of the new academic year when she would enter grade 7, the equivalent of year 8 in the UK curriculum since she cannot be out of school for a period of more than one month.

      If she joins a UK curriculum school in September 2017, since she has not completed grade 7/year 8, she will join the new school in year 8 (so she cannot be promoted as she has not completed the academic year). She is age-appropriate for year 9, but I do not believe that she will be able to enter this year group as the transfer certificate, showing the grade in which is studying when she moves schools, will take precedence.

      It is very common for children switching from the Indian curriculum to any other curriculum following the September to June academic year, to have to repeat a semester.

  10. Shahul Hameed says
    November 13, 2016, 5:07 pm

    Hello, my son has studied grade 7 (incomplete) in CBSE school in Dubai. Now, we want to put him in India because of some personal reasons.

    We have got the TC from the school (i.e. issued by KHDA). I would like to know whether any other attestation is required in the TC here in Dubai for joining a school (CBSE / Matriculation) in India.

    Dear Shahul,

    I would advise you to speak with the school here in Dubai as they should be able to assist you with additional requirements for India. Alternatively, please contact the Indian consulate. We do not have detailed information on entry requirements overseas. You may find the following information helpful – http://cbse.nic.in/circulars/exam%20comm_2015.pdf



  11. R Harton says
    November 13, 2016, 9:31 am

    Hello. I wish to transfer my daughter from her current school (american syllibus) to another school (british syllibus) for the next semester. I have to do it because her current school doesn’t provide school bus to our house area. I’m currently driving her to and fro but I’ll be in my confinement in her next senester. But someone says it is not permissable to change school within the same academic year. Is it true?

    • November 13, 2016, 10:00 am

      Dear Mrs. Harton,

      Without knowing where you are located, I cannot be entirely definite, but in Abu Dhabi and the Northern Emirates, no changes are permitted. In Dubai, whilst transfer is allowed, it is very unlikely that you would be able to transfer your daughter in the current academic year, unless you are able to secure a place within the next few days and move her now. There is a policy of not permitting curriculum changes after the mid-November cut-off date, as it is felt that the adjustment between curricula is likely to be a problem since the child will have missed too much of the academic year at the new school. I can only suggest that you try to arrange a share of the journey through other parents at the current school, or look for other means of transport.

  12. SHADAD H SAYED says
    October 25, 2016, 11:03 am


    My brother has studied until grade 11 in Ajman modern school and now wishes to pursue grade 12 in india. We have attested the transfer certificate and other school related documents however we haven’t obtained the migration certificate which seems to be a mandatory requirement for a admission in India. When contacted the school they confirmed to have given everything pertaining to movement of the student. Please advise how to obtain a migration certificate and procedures involved in order to get him to join a. Institute in India

    Thanks in advance

    Best Regards,
    Shadad Hussain Sayed

    • October 26, 2016, 3:09 pm

      Dear Shadad,

      I am sorry but I do not believe we can assist you with this question. Schools in the UAE issue the transfer certificate. I believe this is a requirement of the CBSE Board – please refer to the following links: http://www.icbse.com/migration-certificate;

  13. Ahmed says
    October 13, 2016, 10:48 am

    We are facing challenges in regards to moving our daughter from Australia to Dubai – she is currently in year 5 in Australia ( 13 years system including KG ) – school year finishes in Dec 16

    We tried to register her here in Raffles school ( British curriculum) – 13 years system , but they say she should go for year 5 not 6 !
    which means she has to repeat the full year again -I don’t want her to lose a year & tried to prove to them that she is moving from a similar system

    I got a letter of transfer from Australia stating that its a 12 Years system + KG which means its a 13 years system .. still they dont accept !

    Can anyone help me and advise what to do


    • October 18, 2016, 11:06 am

      Hi Ahmed,

      It is very common for children to transfer from Australia at the end of their academic year for term 2 here and particularly in Primary School, this is not usually viewed as an issue provided that you have a Transfer Certificate showing that the academic year has been completed and so long as the school feels (based on report or assessment) that the move into term 2 will not cause too much difficulty.
      My advice would be to contact other UK curriculum schools and confirm with them. There are a number of other schools in the area of Raffles, including Horizon International, Kings Umm Suqeim and many new schools who will be looking for students for January. You can check the New School Availability link on our Home page article http://edu2021.com/guides/availability-discounts-dubais/ for more options.

  14. faiza says
    October 6, 2016, 5:39 pm


    I just wanted to know, what is the procedure for transfer from one GEMS school to other GEMS school within the emirates (like dubai), with same curriculum like British.


    • October 9, 2016, 5:48 pm

      Hi Fiaza,

      You would need to go through the same application and transfer process as for any school transfer in Dubai. This is not regulated by the school but by the KHDA. Please speak to the Registrar to find out what requirements the current school has for transfer (this is done electronically in Dubai) and what notice requirements there may be.

  15. Noor says
    October 4, 2016, 7:44 am

    Hi ,

    Please clarify.

    My Son is in Class 9-IGCSE now.

    In Sha Allah, we intend to put him into Melbourne University for B.Commerce studies.

    Below is the Mel.Uni web link in which they are asking for GEC-A levels as acceptance requirement.I am a bit confused as in his current school-Winchester they have AS Level for 11 & 12 and A level for year 13.

    Our PR is Valid up to March 2021.We want to relocate in 2020 after grade 12 to further pursue his UG degree.He would not be able to complete year 13 at Winchester as our PR won’t be valid till then.

    Since the requirement is A level in Melbourne uni, is it possible that my son can do A levels and complete by year 12 so he can apply for UG degree?

    The system is not clear to me and need help in understanding whats possible so he can do his A levels by 2020? I want him to do his grade 10 and years 11 & 12 at the same school so the transition from each class is easier and he can concentrate on studies than adjusting to the school and people.

    If its not possible to finish his A levels by 2020( year 12) at Winchester , then i may have to plan relocating next year so he does his grade 10, 11 & 12 at Australia.

    Please let me know the possibilities so i can make our decision to stay or relocate next year.


  16. Najwa Hajjaj says
    September 26, 2016, 3:02 pm

    Hi, I have a daughter who was born on 28 August 2011, she entered KG1 at American School at age 4 years old in Abu Dhabi and now I have moved to Dubai and had no option but to put her in an British school for FS2 at age of 5 years.
    Now, shall I transfer her back to an American school so she can start grade 1 at age 6 so she will not lose one year? Or let her stay where she is now? Please advise me as I don’t know what to do and what is the best for her. Najwa

    • September 28, 2016, 11:33 am

      HI Nawja,

      My advice would be firstly to contact the American schools that you are considering. FS2 is equivalent to KG1 and it may be that an American school would consider that she is not advanced enough educationally to join a grade 1 class, even though her age would allow her to do so.
      You should also consider whether she is happy at her new school and if you want potentially to disrupt that by moving school again after such a short period.
      Consider also your long term plans. Do you plan to remain in Dubai for her secondary schooling? Where are you likely to move to if you do not remain here? What ambitions do you have for her after her schooling ends? If she were to go to university, where would you be likely to send her? I know this is a long way into the future, but the US curriculum is understood and accepted in the US (although check that the school you consider is accredited) but American curriculum schools outside the US sometimes do not have proper accreditation needed for college entry. There is no US system that is applied in all states, so standards vary. If you remain within the UK curriculum, she may start college a year later, but she will have been through an education system that is highly regarded and recognised world-wide and as a more mature student, will potentially also be more confident and outgoing.
      Lastly, consider how mature she is now and how well she is coping with her new school. Assuming you place her in grade 1 in a US curriculum school, is she mature, confident and out-going enough (as one of the youngest in her class potentially) to cope with the change of school, curriculum and friends.

      • Najwa says
        September 28, 2016, 12:06 pm

        I can’t thank you enough for your reply which made me have peace in mind as I was going crazy. I will let her continue with her current UK school as she is happy and doing very well.
        Thank you again. really appreciated.

        Best regards,

  17. alia says
    September 19, 2016, 8:15 pm

    Hello! My date of birth is 1/1/2002 and I’m currently studying in cbse school (class 9) I want to do my grade 10th in a UK curriculum school next year so, is it possible to get admission in grade 10 next year (UK curriculum)?

    Pls reply

    • September 21, 2016, 6:09 pm

      Hi Alia,

      As you will be 15 next January, this makes you age appropriate for year 11 in September 2017. However you would not be able to join a UK curriculum in this year group (equivalent to grade 10) since this is half way through the 2 year (I)GCSE programme. Your only option would be to join year 10 (grade 9 equivalent) and you would study for an extra year as a result.

  18. September 7, 2016, 11:21 am

    My son is currently studying in Kerala, India case circular grade 11 science stream. He finished 10th grade in Abudhabi, UAE. Now he is not studying properly we need to bring back to UAE we can apply for him commerce group next year. Please advice. One thing the previous UAE school TC still with us if apply for next year we can use this TC. Please help us to take right decision.

    • November 26, 2016, 9:46 am

      Please advice

    • January 10, 2017, 2:46 pm

      What is the validity of TC school transfer from India yo use

      • January 11, 2017, 7:08 am

        HI Neetha,

        The transfer certificate is valid for 30 days only. However, if it is issued at the end of the academic year and there is a longer official holiday period, it will be accepted after this period.

  19. Muhammad Khalid says
    September 5, 2016, 12:55 pm

    My daughter has changed the school from Dubai to Sharjah. In Sharjah, they are asking KHDA report for admission. What type of this report and from where we will get. Can we get through online? Please help us in this matter.

    • September 5, 2016, 2:28 pm

      HI Muhammad,

      I am not aware of any report that the school would need from the KHDA – have you provided the Transfer Certificate which is the document that confirms your daughter’s last school grade and is used to determine which grade she would enter now? Your daughter’s previous school in Dubai will be able to assist you with this.

  20. Barnaby McKay says
    August 29, 2016, 10:17 pm

    Dear Lyn

    Thank you for this article, I read with much interest. I moved to Dubai over a month ago and my wife and 2 children recently joined me in time to start school at a British curriculum school in the Greens. Unfortunately it has taken longer to process my visa that first anticipated and consequently my children’s visas will also be delayed. The admissions department at the school have stated that my children are not allowed to start school until they have a visa and evidence that we have applied for their ID card as this is a KHDA requirement and will result in large fines for the school if they accept “illegal” pupils. This means that my children may miss at least a month of schooling so I read your article with interest which suggests that pupils can still attend school as an observer. Are you able to offer advice on how to overcome this barrier, I am interested to know where I might find the official KHDA rules governing this as the school are being intransigent on this matter and quite unhelpful whereas parents who have moved to Dubai at the same time as us (no visas yet) do not seem to have had the same problems with the schools they have enrolled their children in. Any help gratefully received!

    • September 4, 2016, 2:46 pm

      HI Barnaby,

      I’m afraid that this is a difficult area. It is now a Ministry of Education requirement that children should already have their Emirates ID and visa before starting school (it has always been a requirement but, in the past, not strictly applied). However, many schools now are very nervous of accepting children without the required documents being in place. Some are more flexible than others but it is essentially the decision of the school as to whether they wish to be so. Have you asked whether the school would be willing to accept some form of letter from your employer confirming that your visa is under process? Often some evidence that the legal process is under way for the sponsor and an indication of the time-span involved may be sufficient. If you have not spoken with the Head of Admissions, this may also be helpful. Hopefully the situation can be resolved. On a positive note, with the Eid break, many schools are not even returning until the middle of the month, and your children will catch up quickly if their start is delayed. Good luck in your discussion with the school.

  21. Karolina says
    August 25, 2016, 2:38 pm

    Hi Lyn,
    My son’s date of birth is 28th June 2008. He was in a British school in Saudi Arabia and graduated in June 2015 from year 2. Due to the circumstances we had to move back home- Poland in September and he attended the Polish school- grade 1 as according to Polish law children start their education at the age of 7. He completed grade 1 in Poland and in August 2016 we moved to Ras al Khaimah UAE. We want to put him in a British school to continue his education. We have Transfer Certificate from British school in Saudi and Transfer certificate from Poland.
    Is it possible for my son to be put into year 3 ?
    Is the transfer certificate from Saudi still taken into account?

    • September 4, 2016, 2:22 pm

      HI Karolina,

      I am afraid that it will be the last transfer certificate that will be taken into account. However, you should also discuss with the school whether they are able to consider his previous school and also his age in terms of whether it is appropriate for year 3. It may be possible for them to test him as appropriate for year 3 and provided that matches with his age and the UK curriculum 13 year system, it is possible that they may consider grade 1 in Poland as equivalent to year 2 in the British system and place him accordingly. Good Luck!

  22. Jap says
    August 22, 2016, 10:18 pm

    First and foremost I’m happy to have found this forum. My concern is we are transferring from the Philippines to AL Ain UAE. My two sons:my eldest w/c d.o.b. is AUG 30 2009 has already completed his kindergarten 2 last March 2015. My 2nd son w/c d.o.b is NOV 10 2010 has completed his kindergarten 1 last March 2015 too.Will they both be needing transfer certificates?can my eldeldest continue his 1st grade as he’s currently taking grade 1. We’re using K to 12 programme here in the Philippines. Planning to transfer them this Sept 2016. Would be blessed to hear from you. Thank u so much. Mabuhay! 😊

    • August 25, 2016, 7:46 am

      Dear Jap,

      I am a little confused by the information you have provided since you mention both children having completed their most recent school grades in 2015. I assume that this is an error and that you mean 2016. As your older son has just turned 7, he is age-appropriate, he is age appropriate for grade 1. Your younger son is age appropriate for KG2. Transfer certificates are not usually required for children starting school in KG1, KG2 and grade 1 at the start of the academic year (September). However, as you mention that your older son is already studying in grade 1, I would advise you to confirm this directly with the schools to which you are applying. If there is any possibility of a delayed start to your children’s education in the UAE, you should definitely arrange for transfer certificates (duly attested in the Philippines) to be issued.

  23. Nayeem says
    August 22, 2016, 3:55 am

    I have shifted to uaq Emirates my son was studies sharjah school and I want to get transfer certificate to uaq school same cylabus .Academic year was started April now September there is any problem to get transfer certificate

    • August 23, 2016, 11:38 am

      Dear Nayeem,

      You will need to contact your son’s current school in Sharjah and request them to arrange the transfer certificate. Since you are not changing curriculum, I do not believe there should be an issue, but you will need to ensure that the transfer certificate shows the grade he is currently studying in. The new school in Umm Al Quain should also be able to confirm the requirements – I would suggest that you check with them.

  24. Alvin Lugtu says
    August 21, 2016, 11:27 pm

    Hi Good day,

    I would like to ask your kind assistance, we are transferring my son, from the school in Sharjah (SBIS) to Dubai school (St.Mary’s School in Muhaisnah, its our first time to transfer our son, if you could kindly tell and assist me on what to do, this are the documents the school are asking :

    – Transfer letter from student’s previous school
    – Recommendation letter from previous school
    – Report Card (Form 137)
    – Heath & psychological assessment of the student

    Do this documents needs attestation?

    From which Agency can we attest this school documents?

    Is there any Fee for the attestation? How Much?

    Thank you very much for your help in advance.
    If you could reply to us immediately We would appreciate it very much, because I took a half day leave for this documents, to be attested, sorry for the urgency.

    Best regards,

    Alvin J. Lugtu

    • August 25, 2016, 7:29 am

      Dear Alvin,

      You will need to coordinate with the current school for the documents that they need to provide (transfer certificate and recommendation letter). They will also be able to guide you in respect of the attestation of the transfer certificate which will need to be done via the Sharjah Education Zone. I am not aware of the requirements for a health and psychological report and would advise you to confirm the requirements for this with the new school.

  25. Raj says
    August 21, 2016, 10:56 am

    I am in Dubai now on Residency visa, planning to bring my family here. My daughter is in 9th Grade CBSE curriculum in India. Now she has completed almost half year in India , can she be transferred to Dubai this year , will schools here accept her, if so what all I need to do to get her admission in UAE CBSE schools. Please advise.

    • August 21, 2016, 5:02 pm

      Hi Raj,

      I would advise you to contact the schools directly as although there is no regulatory reason why your daughter could not transfer mid-way through the academic year, individual school policies do vary. You can find details of Indian curriculum secondary schools by using the search Schools section on the home page. I would suggest that you contact them by email initially to find out whether the transfer would be an option. Generally it is the newer schools that are most likely to have places part way through the academic year. I would suggest you also request recommendations from the schools you contact if they are not able to assist.

  26. Mohamed says
    August 20, 2016, 2:30 am

    Hi my daughter is studying in KG2 in Abu dhabi. Her dob is 26th Dec 2010. I am moving to sharjah in September 2016. How to approach cbse circullum indian schools in sharjah. Should i request transfer certificate and then approach to schools or should I wait untill all the visa cancellation process is done.
    Whom should I speak to for getting a seat in mid year for KG 2.
    Plz reply. …

    • August 21, 2016, 8:32 am

      Hi Mohamed,

      You will need to contact the schools in Sharjah directly with regard to admission – you can find details of schools through the search option on Whichschooladvisor.com. You should request the transfer certificate when you notify your current school that your daughter is leaving them. You can apply to the schools in Sharjah prior to having the transfer certificate in place and visa cancellation, but she will not be admitted without this and her new Emirates ID.

  27. Fatemeh says
    August 18, 2016, 7:24 pm

    Hi, I recently finished my year 11 in a British school (Westminster Dubai) and I honestly got really bad grades, and it’s really low compared to my year 10. I really didn’t expect such low marks since I failed my igs with low grades this year, and I wanted to know if I could apply to year 12 American curriculum would they accept me or get me a grade down? And if I did go to Murdoch university Dubai where they take in my year 10’s ig grades and accepted me cause they were way better but I need to do foundation also in the university. I was hoping to guide me which option is the best as I have to apply as soon as possible since schools/unis start by September? Thankyou

    • August 19, 2016, 4:52 pm

      Dear Fatemeh,

      I’m sorry that your IGCSE results were not what you hoped for. My initial advice would be to discuss with your current school how they can best support you. It may be that it would be worthwhile repeating year 11 and resitting your IGCSE exams in a year.

      Moving curriculum is not necessarily the best route and may not be possible. In order to receive the High School Diploma, you need to have studied in High School for 4 years. It may be that you will find an American school that would accept you in grade 11, but you should be very careful in making such a move as it is possible that the school will not be accredited in the US and this means that your Diploma will have little value outside the UAE.

      I think you need to consider whether you would be better able to cope with more demanding university courses by retaking your exams and having potentially stronger grades and knowledge as a result, or whether a move to university now is the best option. The people who can best guide you on this are your current school teachers, since they know you already and understand where your strengths and weaknesses lie. They should also be able to help with a decision as to whether a Foundation course is likely to be the better option.

      Good luck!

  28. abdo says
    August 14, 2016, 11:18 pm

    I am in grade 11 and i got my IGCSE results (Ds , Fs , Es , Gs). I would like to move to any american school.

    Would they accept the marks to move to anther school or no? Please reply. Many thanks.

    • August 16, 2016, 10:05 am

      HI Abdo,

      I’m sorry that your IGCSE results were not what you hoped for. My initial advice would be to discuss with your current school how they can best support you. It may be that it would be worthwhile repeating grade 11 and resitting your IGCSE exams in a year.

      Moving curriculum is not necessarily the best route and may not be possible. In order to receive the High School Diploma, you need to have studied in High School for 4 years. It may be that you will find an American school that would accept you in grade 11, but you should be very careful in making such a move as it is possible that the school will not be accredited in the US and this means that your Diploma will have little value outside the UAE.

  29. Mona iqbal says
    August 13, 2016, 12:47 pm

    My daughter got two Es and one D in her AS level exams. Will she be promoted to her 12th grade by her school?

    • August 16, 2016, 10:00 am

      Dear Mona,

      I do not know what policy your daughter’s school follows, but generally I believe that schools still promote students to the final year for completion of their A levels, even when the results at AS level are not as wanted. The school should be working with your daughter to help her understand where she can improve and how she can do this in preparation for her A levels. The AS results are really not relevant to the final A level results which is what universities look at for acceptance. Where they may impact her is if she is applying for university in the UK where her results would be taken into account for any potential conditional offer.

      My advice would be that you arrange to meet with the school staff with your daughter to find out how they will support her in her final year.

  30. Lel says
    August 12, 2016, 1:29 pm

    I’m moving to the uae in a few weeks from India. I have taken admissions for my children ( class kg1 & grade 2) at Aspam Indian International School in Sharjah. I was asked to bring a TC since my children will be starting mid term. I have managed a TC for my daughter as she’s in grade 2 but the Director of Education here in India is refusing to sign kg1 TCs as there is no authority to counter sign for pre primary schools. Also the school in Shj has asked for attestation of report cards which again the DOE isnt doing.Will I be able to succeed in getting admissions with out a TC for my child in kg1?? Some advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • August 13, 2016, 9:36 am

      Dear Lel,

      I’m sorry that you are having difficulties obtaining the documents for your children. I would expect that KG1 should not be such an issue as children do not legally have to attend school in the UAE until they reach 6 years of age and therefore the school should not need to prove that your child has been attending KG1 in order to register him/her. Since you have the TC for the grade 2 place, this is the most important document. I would advise you to discuss with the school the report attestation as I do not believe that this is a usual requirement and the transfer certificate is the primary document required to enable registration.

      • Lel says
        August 13, 2016, 1:04 pm

        Thank you Lyn. Feeling hopeful reading your reply. Will talk to the school and hopefully manage to sort it out. Thank u for you time.

  31. Dana says
    August 11, 2016, 3:41 pm

    Hello Sir/ Ma’am,

    I’m a student living in AL-AIN city, UAE. I study in Our Own English High School Al-Ain. I finished my AS level (grade 11) British system. I got my grades 3 subjects which I’ve chosen, which are chemistry, biology and Applied ICT. Unfortunately, I got really bad marks in all three. I wanted someone experienced to guide me, because I’m thinking of two options. The first one is repeating the whole AS level and the second one is changing from British to American curriculum.
    I will be grateful if any help can be provided regarding my problem.
    Looking forward for a reply.

    Yours Sincerely,
    Dana Issam

    • August 11, 2016, 4:02 pm

      HI Dana,

      I am really sorry to learn that your AS results were not what you had hoped for. My initial advice would be to discuss the results with your teachers at your present school. You and they together will probably be best able to work out why the exams did not go as planned and what you can do to improve your chances if you you were to re-take the exams. They would also be able to guide you on whether it makes sense or is possible to re-sit the year.

      Switching curriculum is unlikely to be the answer and may well not be possible. In order to receive a US High School Diploma, the requirement is for students to study for 4 years in the US system. As you potentially would only be looking at a maximum of 2 years, I don’t believe this is an option. If you do choose to investigate further, it is also really important to check that the school you are considering is properly accredited in the US as any certificate you receive will otherwise not be valid for study there.

  32. Dana says
    August 11, 2016, 3:25 pm

    Hello Sir/Ma’am,
    I’m a student living in the city of AL-Ain. I have finished my AS level (grade 11) British Curriculum. I have got my results for the 3 subjects i chose which are
    Chemistry, biology and Applied ICT. Unfortunately, I got really bad grades in all the three subjects. I wanted some guidance from an experienced person. I was thinking of either repeating the whole year of AS level again or changing to american curriculum.
    I will be really grateful if any help or guidance can be provided, because I’m lost and disappointed at the same.

    Yours Sincerely,
    Dana Issam

  33. Pam says
    August 10, 2016, 3:37 pm

    Dear Lyn, many thansk onec again for enlightening me. I hope it all works out to the betterment of my son. Regards Pam

  34. Pam says
    August 9, 2016, 1:05 pm

    Hi there, i am really confused with the grades and year curriculum, please help me understand. I moved from South Africa in 2014, my son aged 9 at the time (DOB 13/01/2006), was completing grade 4 in SA. He then started at a school in Dubai in September 2014 and was accepted in Year 5. I am now moving from Dubai to Ras Al Khaimah and the school here wants to admit him in grade 5. I am very concerned that he may be losing an entire year or even repeating it. I do not understand why this is the case. Should he not then be admitted grade 7? Please explain how this curriculums work. thank you

    • August 9, 2016, 4:08 pm

      Dear Pam,

      I’m sorry that you are in such a difficult situation. You don’t mention which curriculum your son is moving to in RAK. There does seem to be some confusion, as you mention that you moved to Dubai in 2014 but if your son was already 9 at the time, this suggests from his date of birth that your move took place in 2015, unless I have misunderstood. Assuming the date of birth information is correct – that he is currently 10 turning 11 -, I believe he should either be going into year 6 in the UK curriculum or grade 5 in an international curriculum school. Usually, the decision is based on the transfer certificate issued in Dubai – so if he is shown to have completed year 6, then he would go into year 7 in September. However, if you are changing curriculum, it may be that the school will base his place on the correct age rather than previous school grade/year group. I would advise you to speak with the school and ask them to take into account the different structure between UK (13 year) and international curriculum (12 grade) and place him based on the correct academic level. However, they may not be willing to do this and, generally, age does seem to be the determining factor in other Emirates especially if there is a change of curriculum involved.

      • Pam says
        August 10, 2016, 9:15 am

        Dear Lyn
        I appreciate your response.
        Yes you are correct, he started in September 2015 in year 5. Would you know if the grade in SA is the same curriculum as the grade in UAE. If so then he would have been in grade 6 in SA. Thanks for taking the time to explain to me, it does make a little more sense to me re the year/grade curriculum. He does however have an assessment at the school tomorrow, so will ask the relevant questions as well. Many thanks again.

      • August 10, 2016, 9:28 am

        Hi Pamela,

        I believe that SA follows the 12 grade system, so yes, he would have been in grade 6 in SA/year 5 under the UK system, grade 6 in the UAE. As you are at the school today, do definitely check with them on what is appropriate grade based on his age, the TC and the assessment results. Usually from grade 1 onwards, it is the transfer certificate that is used to determine, but even the regulators here find the equivalence between the year and grade system confusing and not all seem to accept that there is such a thing! Good Luck.

  35. Yasir Zaheer says
    August 7, 2016, 10:48 am


    we are in a fix, my son was studying in Class FS-1 in a private school in Dubai with UK Curriculum. Now, for FS-2 we have changed the school within Dubai and also with same UK curriculum BUT the previous school is giving us a hard time for issuing Transfer Certificate so my son can be enrolled in new school where admission is already secured but the new school needs certificate from previous school as per KHDA rules.

    Appreciate if any one can advise as we came across different requirements where some says for FS-2 we don’t need a transfer certificate as KHDA requirement is from Class 1.

    previous school is saying that they have processed a transfer request in KHDA system but KHDA said they have not received any such request from the school.


    • August 7, 2016, 5:03 pm

      Dear Yasir,

      I am afraid that you will probably have no option but to continue to press the previous school to arrange the transfer certificate. This is all done on-line between the schools and the KHDA and if your son was previously registered, then the transfer certificate will be necessary. I would perhaps check with the KHDA that your son was indeed registered at his previous school. If he was not, then the requirement for the transfer certificate no longer applies. If you continue to have difficulties, I would suggest that you go back to the KHDA with copies of school reports and payments to prove that he was at the school and ask them to assist you in arranging for the transfer certificate or registration by the new school.

  36. sayiraman says
    August 6, 2016, 7:48 pm

    My kids currently studying Grade 2 & KG 2 in UAE.(C.B.S.E Syllabus ) We would like to transfer from UAE to Singapore. What is the procedure to transfer from UAE to Singapore? We wants to transfer in the month of Oct’16/Nov’16. What is the possibilities & How to get the TC from UAE government / School during this period.

    Please advice

    • August 8, 2016, 9:47 am

      Dear Sayiraman,

      You will need to approach the Registrar/Admissions team at the current school to request the transfer certificate. They will arrange for this though you will be responsible for arranging any attestation from the Ministry of Education and possibly the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the UAE – the school in Singapore will be able to guide you on the requirements in this regard. You should also check whether there is a limit on the length of time that children are allowed to not be in school in the UAE before they start in Singapore as this may be considered in terms of the continuity of their education.
      If you have not yet done so, you will need to provide notice to your current school of your intention to withdraw your children and any outstanding fees/other payments will need to be settled before the transfer certificate will be applied for and issued.

  37. Kainaat says
    August 3, 2016, 7:32 pm

    Hi, we are new to Abu Dhabi, moved from Oman. My son is 8 years old his Date of birth is July 2008, he completed grade 2 in May 2016 from a Canadian school in oman. We are offered admission in year 3 in Abu Dhabi, but we think he should be offered in year 4 considering his age? Because British is 13 year programme and american / canadian is 12 years programme.

    Can some one guide me, will he be losing one complete year?

    • August 7, 2016, 8:47 am

      HI Kainaat,

      Yes, your son does appear to be age appropriate for year 4 based on his date of birth – he needs to be 8 by 31st August, which he is. The school will also go by the transfer certificate from the school in Oman. I would ensure that the school is aware that they use a 12 grade system and also check with the school as to why they have not offered year 4. He is young for the year group and it may be that his age and any assessment that has been done have been taken into account, as he presumably started school at in KG1 which is the equivalent of FS2, so he has possibly had one year less in school than his new counterparts will have done.

  38. Ashok says
    July 31, 2016, 4:24 pm

    Hi Lyn,

    This is an interesting and useful website for all expats moving to Dubai. I have two kids,

    My son (11th Dec 2008) completed Grade II (CBSE) in April 2016 and am planning to admit him to Grade III when they get resident VISA by Mid September 2016. Transfer Certificate for Grade II is ready without any attestations. Please suggest if he would be GETTING admissions for Grade III without any issues in September 2016. Is there any option to get him admitted in Dubai being in India or coming here in Tourist VISA sometime in August 2016.

    My daughter (24th Mar 2013) completed PreKG (CBSE) in April 2016 and am planning to admit her to KG 1 when they get resident VISA by Mid September 2016. Transfer Certificate for PreKG is ready without any attestations. Please suggest if he would be GETTING admissions for KG 1 without any issues in September 2016. Is there any option to get her admitted in Dubai being in India or coming here in Tourist VISA sometime in August 2016.


    • August 7, 2016, 9:37 am

      Dear Ashok,

      Thanks for your message. Please confirm that your children have continued to attend school after completing the last academic year. It is a requirement that children are not out of school for longer than a period of one month (excluding holidays). If your children have not started the new academic year in April, then I am very doubtful that they will be promoted to the next grade in August. The transfer certificate needs to show the current academic year that they are studying in and not the last academic year completed.

      Your daughter is almost certainly too young to be admitted to KG1. The requirement here is that she should be 4 years of age by 31st July which was not the case – she is therefore age appropriate for pre-KG only.

      With regard to residence visas, most schools will not admit children whose residence visas are not yet issued – in some instances it is not possible even to apply to the school without the residence visa and Emirates ID process being complete. I would advise you to get in contact with schools in the area you are seeking as soon as they re-open in order to clarify both the appropriate grade, entry requirements and transfer certificate requirements before you bring your children to the UAE.

  39. Sunshine says
    July 26, 2016, 1:30 pm

    Dear Sir ,
    My daughter was born on 17th Nov 2005 she is enrolled in french school in Egypt and she completed CM2 and should start 6eme , we should move to Dubai within the coming month , when is the latest we can enroll her in a school here ? can she be enrolled in a school before we have residency ? and is there an option that she is enrolled in home schooling in case there is no places for her in schools , if yes how will she take her exams ? Thanks .

    • August 7, 2016, 9:47 am

      HI Sunshine,

      Your daughter should be enrolled by the end of September in order to ensure that she does not miss too much of the academic year and for her to be registered with the local regulator – her residence visa will need to be in place for this to happen.

      There are limited options for home schooling – this is possible but I am not aware whether she would be able to take the exams in this case. Home schooling is a grey area in the UAE as officially all children should attend school from the age of 6. You would need to check with the French schools to see if this would be permitted. There is one alternative which is iCademy who do offer home schooling programmes but following either US or Swiss curricula.

  40. Laura says
    July 22, 2016, 12:37 am

    Hi. My daughter 4 years old (12-12-2011) studding in KG2 in india. We will be moving to dubai end of this july. We are planing to send her from august to new school. But school acadamic year started last april. Is it possible to send her from mid term?
    Is she has to go to KG 1 in uae? In( cbse)
    She need to have leaving certificate from india?

    Plz advice

    • July 24, 2016, 11:07 am

      Dear Laura,

      Your daughter can join mid-year in August, but she will almost certainly have to join KG1 as she would need to have turned 5 by 31st July in order to join KG2. Most schools in the UAE do require a transfer certificate although this is not relevant for children aged under 6, since their admission is determined by their date of birth and not the home country school grade. You should reconfirm whether it is a requirement with the schools that you approach.

      • Laura says
        July 26, 2016, 11:54 pm

        Thank you for your advice.

  41. MOHAMED says
    July 11, 2016, 1:31 pm

    Dear Sir,

    My son is studying first standard in india. he had been here in dubai for 2 years to accomplish his kindergartens. My question is that I would like to bring my family back by October this year. would it be possible to get the admission in any Indian CBSE curriculum school by the time? or should I wait for next year to get the admission? or is there any potential for lateral entry to put him to second standard on next year?

    looking forward to your earliest response.
    Kind regards

    • July 15, 2016, 6:35 pm

      Hi Mohamed,

      There have been quite a few new schools that have opened for CBSE curriculum in the past year and they tend to be able to offer spaces part way through the academic year. We would suggest that you contact them to find out what options there may be that would suit your situation.

  42. Mohan says
    June 22, 2016, 12:37 pm

    My daughter turns 3, Sep-24-2016 – a bit confused about the FS1 entry, as she misses the cut off by a whisker. Some schools say they still can, after an evaluation. We are a bit worried if it is a good time to push her in to FS1 this year, or wait for another year to start.
    Also, is there an option to directly get into FS2 next year, as she is been going on with a nursery for almost 14 months now…


    • June 22, 2016, 1:35 pm

      Dear Mohan,

      If you are worried about your daughter starting school in September, I think the general advice would be to wait a further year. She will be among the very youngest in the class, together with children who will potentially be a full year older than her. To some degree only you can judge whether she is mature enough to start school at less than 3 years of age, but you may also want to check with your nursery teacher to get her views.

      In terms of joining FS2 next year, yes, this would potentially be an option as most schools add additional places for FS2 precisely aimed at families who feel that nursery remains the right environment for their child rather than FS1. You can ask any of the schools that have indicated they would accept your child, to go ahead with the assessment and then defer the place until FS2 next year assuming the assessment is successful (which would give you priority). If it is not, then you would be best advised to keep her at nursery dependent on the feedback you receive. If you place her in FS2 next year, the issue will be the same – she will still be among the very youngest in the year. This issue really only starts to even itself out later in Primary School.

  43. Sini George says
    June 15, 2016, 12:33 pm

    I have a son whose D.O.B is 25/04/2013. I would like to know if it is possible to do CBSE for him in primary school and then shift him later to IB Curriculum for MYP and if so by which class and year we need to shift. Waiting to hear from you.


    Sini George

    • June 21, 2016, 11:23 am

      HI Sini,

      Your son will be able to start the CBSE curriculum in April next year in KG1. The PYP programme starts in Grade 6 in most IB curriculum schools (but be aware that some follow the UK 13 year structure, so this would be year 7 and also that the school year is from September). Your son would therefore need to stay in the CBSE curriculum until mid-way through grade 6 and then transfer to the IB curriculum (repeating one semester).

      I would consider carefully whether you really want to make this change and the reasons behind it. The IB curriculum is very different to the Indian system. It is much more based around topics (units of enquiry) and demands much more independent research and learning than is general found in Indian curriculum schools – particularly at Primary level. You can find out more about the IB curriculum’s PYP programme at http://www.ibo.org.
      If you really feel that the IB programme would be the better choice for your son, I would plan to put him into an IB curriculum school from the outset.

      He would start school in September 2017 rather than April, but as you will end up with him delaying his graduation by one semester if you transfer him from the CBSE curriculum in any case, it would probably be better to postpone his start rather than change curriculum part way through the academic year. The extra 6 months could be spent at nursery in preparation for school.

      • Sini George says
        July 24, 2016, 10:12 am

        Dear Lyn,
        Thanks for your response. I am still researching on most of the curriculum syllabus details. What about if I am shifting him to UK IGCSE Syllabus? Would that also be tough to cope with if he completes Year 5 in CBSE and starts Year 6 in British Curriculum.
        Also could you specify what is O Level Syllabus

      • July 24, 2016, 11:39 am

        HI Sini,

        GCSE O Level and (I)GCSE are essentially the same exams. Students usually take 8-10 subjects including Maths, English Language and Literature, Science (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) and a Modern Foreign Language. They usually also choose a creative Arts subject and may also take further Humanities such as History, Geography and Psychology for example. These subjects are taken over a two year period during years 10 and 11, prior to A levels which are taken in the final two school years. A Levels are usually taken in 3-4 subjects. The UK system is probably closer to the Indian one, but there are significant differences in that there is much less in the way of rote learning. Students are required to research and to answer questions independently, rather than being provided with the answers by teachers. I think that seeking to move your son to a UK curriculum school for year 6 is probably the better option as he will be able to prepare for Secondary school.

  44. mary says
    June 5, 2016, 3:27 am


    We have relocated our business here from the UK. My son is currently in his year 10 (14 y.o) back in the UK. We would like to move him in any British school here. Would there be any space accept him for year 11 at this time?

    • June 6, 2016, 4:11 pm

      It is highly unlikely that your son will be able to enter year 11 assuming that he is part way through the two year GCSE programme. Unless you can find a school that offers the exact same mix of subjects and examination board(s) (and he is a particularly able student), you will almost certainly find that he will have no option but to repeat year 10 and start his GCSE’s again. Unfortunately, even where it is the same subject and Board, schools do not necessarily teach the same topics at the same time and this makes it extremely difficult to slot a child into year 11 (or 13 for that matter). The only other option would be for your son to remain in the UK until he has completed year 11 and then consider a relocation to the UAE.

  45. Mallika says
    May 28, 2016, 3:08 pm

    We will be relocating to Dubai from india later this year and we are keen to secure a place. Ideally we would like them to start in the January term.

    My son is born on 12/09/07 and will be entering grade 4 in the IB curriculum in his current school in September 16. Our daughter born 28/09/11 will be entering kg2 in the IB curriculum in September. We are keen to enrol them in a British curriculum school in Dubai.

    Are there any rules that prevent us from doing so or those that will make it harder? As both the kids are September born and miss the usual 1st September cut off in British schools, we understand that they may have to repeat the year and we are happy to do so.

  46. Sinead says
    May 18, 2016, 10:50 pm

    Hi, we need to transfer our sixteen year old this September 2016, he has completed IB Grade 10 this past year (2015/2016) bit we are now looking to transfer him to a British School to do A Level’s so will need to go into a Grade 12 (Reason being A Level system is more akin to Irish one and also better for applying for Universities for him in a few years time). He has already completed the equivalent of the British GSCE’s in Ireland in previous school year 2014/2015 (called the Junior Certificate which is a state exam there) so technically has the right exam levels to enter a British A Level course, however my question is will there be a problem getting approval from Adec with regard to him going from an IB School Grade 10 to a British Grade 12 (even though technically they are the same level grade wise, will they question the fact that there is no grade 11 done, even though he has completed equivalent of GSCE level in Ireland previous year to grade 10 IB). Advise greatly appreciated, thank you!

    • May 24, 2016, 4:23 pm

      HI Sinead,

      Apologies for the delay in getting back to you but I wanted to double check my information about the position with transfers and ADEC before replying.

      I have been advised that provided your son meets the academic requirements for Sixth Form entry to an A level curriculum school, even with the change in grading structure, provided that he is in the correct age group, there should not be any issue with transferring at the start of the academic year. ADEC recognises the different grading structure between the international curricula and the UK curriculum. My advice would be to reconfirm this with the Admissions staff at the school(s) to which you apply.

      Good Luck.

  47. Evangeline says
    May 3, 2016, 7:32 am

    Good day.

    My daughter AM will be turning 17 this Nov and finished grade10 curriculum from Philippine School here in UAE. Can you please advise is there any school who will accept her to continue her grade 11 here in UAE? Right now she’s presently in Philippines and have just finished the 2sems in college degree but we are planning to take her back here in UAE.

    Appreciates your prompt reply, many thanks.

    • May 4, 2016, 11:36 am

      HI Evangeline,

      You have two options – apply to the Philippine curriculum schools or to US curriculum. She is age appropriate for grade 11. Provided you still have the school transcripts and transfer certificate from the school in the UAE that she left or can go back to them and ask for a copy, I believe it should be possible to re-register her, but you will need to contact the schools directly to confirm this.

  48. zama says
    April 27, 2016, 2:07 pm


    Please assist. I am relocating to Abu Dhabi from South Africa late this year. My son is turning 6 in August 2016. He is currently in grade R in preschool. He will be the right age for grade 1 here in SA next year 2017. But I want to bring him out with me to Abu Dhabi to start grade 1 there. I just want to know if we will need to have a school transfer certificate attested and all since he is still in preschool. And when can he join the schools there. I know he would have missed 1 term since the schools run from Jan to December on this side. He will join me in Jan 2017. Wen can he start school?

    Thank you

    • April 28, 2016, 11:09 am

      HI Zama,

      Since your son will be 6 by 31st December, he would be the correct age for grade 1 and possibly year 2 in the British system. In order for him to start school in January, you would be advised to try to arrange that he has a Transfer Certificate if possible. You should aim for him to start school here as soon as possible after your arrival as he will have already missed one term. He will not be able to start until his residence visa and Emirates ID card have been issued, so it would be wise to plan ahead in terms of making sure that this can be put in place as soon as possible. The schools that you apply to will arrange assessment for him, and this together with his age will form the basis of the decision on the appropriate grade.

  49. Sufia says
    April 27, 2016, 12:32 pm

    My daughter studying in grade 8 in American curriculum. Will it be possible to change to indian curriculum? Which grade she will be accepted if she changes now

    • April 28, 2016, 9:52 am

      Dear Sufia,

      Without knowing your daughter’s date of birth, I cannot be sure, but if she is currently in grade 8, she would usually transfer to the same grade, as she has not completed the school year in the US system. Please be aware that the style of learning in the US curriculum is very different to the Indian curriculum and she may well have some difficulty in adapting. You would definitely need to discuss this with the schools you plan to approach. It is also very late to transfer as the Indian schools started their new academic year several weeks ago.

  50. SEJ says
    April 25, 2016, 11:59 am

    Hi Lyn,

    My daughter is studying in a Cbse school, Abu Dhabi. In the new academic year April 2016 I changed her to another school in Abu Dhabi. I had another school as my priority but since there is no availability I could not get through but I am still trying. My query is there any rule for multiple Transfers in a year. Is it allowed?

    • April 25, 2016, 3:02 pm

      Dear SEJ,

      According to the rules in Abu Dhabi, children are not permitted to change school during the academic year. Your daughter will already have been registered with ADEC and her entry to the new school approved and in their system when she started, so it will not be possible to transfer her again in the current academic year.

  51. Syed Waqas Baqir says
    April 25, 2016, 3:08 am

    My daughter was studing in kg 1 in cbsc curriculum in dubai but due to some problems she could not go for last samester
    My question is that does we need to pay her last samester fees?
    And 2nd question is that does she need tc from that school to take admission in a British curriculum in Grade 1?
    She is now 6 years

    • April 25, 2016, 3:00 pm

      Dear Syed, as per the Parent School contract which now exists between all schools and parents in Dubai, you are required to provide a term’s notice to withdraw your child. Assuming that you did not provide such notice, you may be obliged to pay the fees for the period that your daughter was absent.

      If your daughter did not complete KG1, you may find that schools are not willing to accept her in year 1 in the British curriculum as children are required to start school in the year in which they turn 5 in the UK – she has therefore missed a term of school. You will need to discuss with the schools to which you apply. Assuming that your daughter was registered by her previous school with the KHDA, you would usually require a transfer certificate – again, you will need to confirm this with the school to which you apply, as since she missed a term of school and did not complete the academic year, it may not be possible to obtain the transfer certificate.

  52. abdirahman artan says
    April 20, 2016, 11:16 pm

    im in grade 10 in igsce curriculum i would like to transfer to a american curriculum next year but do i have to repeat a year???im 16 years old born in 2000

    • April 25, 2016, 2:55 pm

      HI Abdirahman,

      Based on the information you have provided, you are age appropriate for your current grade 10 in a 12 grade structure school. In theory, you should be able to enter grade 11 in the US curriculum, but you will need to check whether the IGCSE curriculum and exams are acceptable as a basis for you to earn the High School Diploma. Usually, students are required to have 4 years of High School to obtain this. Also, the method of study between the IGCSE and US curriculum are quite different and you may find that US curriculum schools will feel that you may find it hard to manage the US Senior school programme. Whatever you do, ensure that the schools you consider are fully accredited with one of the US School Associations as you otherwise risk that your Diploma is not accepted for College entry in the US or elsewhere.

  53. Mae says
    April 20, 2016, 11:34 am

    *reposting again because I’m not sure if you can reply to my comment
    Let me correct myself, I’ve just completed Grade 10 in my school that uses the K-12 curriculum. So I would have to be Grade 11. I will be turning 17 on May 30th this year. Will any schools (specifically UK curriculum) admit me to Grade 11? Will I have to repeat a grade? I have a grade 10 completion certificate, which I believe is similar to a high school diploma since grade 7-10 in my country is just considered junior high school.

    • April 21, 2016, 9:16 am

      HI Mae, you would be able to enter both grade 11 in a US or IB curriculum or year 12 in the UK curriculum. You would need to complete two further years of school here in order to receive your High School Diploma or IB/A level qualifications. I am still of the view that the American curriculum is probably better suited to your previous academic studies.

  54. Mae says
    April 18, 2016, 2:51 pm

    Hi! I’m transferring from an Asian curriculum in the PH, and according to my equivalency here, I’ll be in Grade 12 when I start school this September ’16. Is it okay for me to not attend the Grade 10-11 UK curriculum or do I have to repeat those two years? Hoping for a reply. Thanks!

    • April 19, 2016, 9:31 am

      Hi Mae,

      I would need to know your date of birth in addition to the current school grade to answer you precisely. Assuming that you will be turning 18 after 31st August, you would usually be studying in grade 12 or year 13. You definitely would not be able to enter the UK or IB curriculum in grade 12/year 13 as the course offered (whether A Level or IB) is a two year programme. You would also need to confirm with a US curriculum school (which may be the better option as I believe this is more closely aligned to the schools in the Philippines), because some will only issue a High School Diploma if you have had 4 years of High School study in an equivalent programme.

      I think it is very unlikely that you will be able to join a school here unless you repeat grade 11. I would advise you to start contacting schools as soon as possible to find out what their requirements are for you to apply and to which grade.

      • Mae says
        April 20, 2016, 8:24 am

        Let me correct myself, I’ve just completed Grade 10 in my school that uses the K-12 curriculum. So I would have to be Grade 11. I will be turning 17 on May 30th this year. Will any schools (specifically UK curriculum) admit me to Grade 11? Will I have to repeat a grade? I have a grade 10 completion certificate, which I believe is similar to a high school diploma since grade 7-10 in my country is just considered junior high school.

  55. Marwa says
    April 11, 2016, 9:10 pm

    Hi,we are moving to Dubai in September 2016 from the UK and my daughter will start primary 1 in August in the UK but she will be just 4 years when we move to Dubai. she will be 5 next February . Can she get a place in primary 1 in Dubai???

    • April 13, 2016, 2:20 pm

      Dear Marwa,

      The latest regulations state that a child must be 5 years old by 31st August in order to join year 1. As your daughter does not meet this age cut off, she will not be able to join year 1, but will have to repeat Foundation 2.

  56. Khallyshah says
    April 11, 2016, 5:06 pm

    It states that it would be almost impossible to enter year 11. But what if i really have to get an entry to a school there in that year?

    Hope to get a response.Thanks

    • April 13, 2016, 2:18 pm

      Hi Khallyshah,

      Unless you can find a school that offers the same subjects through the same examination board, you will have no option but to repeat year 10. Most schools are very reluctant to take on students part way through either (I)GCSE or A levels because the subject content varies from Board to Board. In same cases, they would also have to ask for approval from both the current Board and the new one (if they are not identical) for the first year’s study to be accepted. I think you will have great difficulty if you try to join a school in year 11 and you most certainly would need to start the process as soon as possible.

  57. samsung says
    April 4, 2016, 12:34 pm

    I am facing the same issue as one of the member in the thread SMS. My brother is in year 5 now in IGCSE school in dubai..we are planning to move him year 6 in sharjah..but the administrator said that he will have to repeat grade 5..he cleared out the test and everything..went for admission today they saw his report card and there it was mentioned year 5 and in sharjah its grade…kindly someone help..really confused whats going on

    • April 10, 2016, 1:49 pm

      Dear Samsung,

      Please see the response to SMS. It is likely to be the same issue and you would need to follow the same advice.

    March 26, 2016, 11:10 am

    My son is studying in Ajman School, my wife is expecting second baby in month of November, and due to some circumstances she will deliver in home country. My question is, is it possible my son take 3 month leave (oct, nov dec) and join school in month of Dec/Jan? In this scenario what is procedure from MOE and school.?

    • April 10, 2016, 1:52 pm

      Dear Mohammed,

      Without knowing the age of your child, it is very difficult to answer your question in terms of the impact this absence would have on his learning. However, if your son is registered with a school at the start of the school year, provided you advise the school and continue to pay the fees, his seat should be held open. However, you would need to check with the school in terms of how they would want to manage his learning during his absence and what impact this might have on his promotion to the next grade at the end of the school year .

  59. Sms says
    March 24, 2016, 1:41 pm

    Hi ..my daughter is in grade 6 in an IGCSE school in dubai..and would b going to grade 7 in September. ..I want to shift her to a Cambridge curriculum school in sharjah. .but the administration says that they would take her in 6 and she will have to repeat grade 6 as per ministry rules for students coming from dubai schools . They said that this is a new rule and many people r unaware of this. ..this sounds strange to me as other sharjah schools informed me that there is no such rule in their school..my daughter s age fulfills the age criteria. ..so I’m not able to understand. .please guide. Thanks in advance

    • April 10, 2016, 1:48 pm

      HI Sms,

      Is your daughter’s current IGCSE school a 12 grade or 13 year one? Most UK curriculum schools go to year 13 which is the same equivalent as grade 12 and this applies throughout the school. This may be the reason why you are being told this. The other issue may be your daughter’s date of birth as if the school is applying the Ministry of Education’s Dec 31 date instead of Aug 31 in Dubai, this would also possibly have an impact. We can only suggest that you ask the new school for further clarification and if this is not helpful, Sharjah Education Zone.

      • Abdur Rahim says
        April 19, 2016, 7:47 pm

        Hi. My son is currently studying in a University of Cambridge school in Dubai, grade 7. His current school had classes till yr 9 only and thats why we are shifting him. His DOB is 19.05.2004 and we are shifting him to a UIC school in sharjah Grade 8 where he has passed the entrance exam.

        The sharjah school informed us that we need to obtain an equivalency certificate from KHDA for him to be able to goto Grade 8 in sharjah. We approached KHDA and they informed us that the certificate can be issued at end of year.

        The issue, we got to know that in some cases the equivalency certificate is issued for the same year and the child has to repeat that year. We as parents are worried and would appreciate your advise. Thanks

  60. Swati says
    March 17, 2016, 7:52 pm

    Hello, I am struggling for my daughter’s admission in year 11 in sep 2016. We almost applied to all British curriculum school in Abu dhabi but answer is same , not accepting in year 11. Can anybody advice school accepting admission in year 11.
    kind regard

    • March 19, 2016, 4:21 pm

      Dear Swati,

      Year 11 is usually the second year of the (I)GCSE curriculum in UK curriculum schools. This is a two year programme and unless a student has been studying the exact same syllabus, examination board and subjects, it is very tough for them to move schools at this stage. For this reason, schools usually do not allow entry in year 11 or indeed year 13. Normally the option that is open is to resit year 10 and start the programme from scratch.

  61. Fernando says
    March 16, 2016, 12:06 am

    Good Pm! Just want to ask when is the enrolment for the first semester of a grade 8 student in abu dhabi school?

    • March 19, 2016, 4:18 pm

      HI Fernando,

      You don’t mention which curriculum, but for Indian curriculum schools and others starting the academic year in April, this will be 10th April. For schools starting in September, it will be during the last week of August.

  62. Mosleh says
    January 31, 2016, 10:12 pm

    Hi, my daughter is in Choueufat school Sabis system and I was considering moving her to British school offering IB. She is currently in Grade 5 (Yr 6 in british system). They have told me that she will have to do Year 6 if I move her. By the move into 13 years IB ..I am increasing one year to her graduation? Vs. if she continues in SABIS in the grade system. Please assist.

    • February 2, 2016, 11:44 am

      HI Mosleh,

      Based on the information you have provided, it does sound as though your daughter would need to repeat the equivalent of grade 5 (so year 6) if she changes to the school you have approached. This may be to do with her age or because the school is not able to take the equivalent grade into account. You mention that the school is British offering the IB curriculum. If the school is offering the IB curriculum in year 6, then it is not a UK curriculum school. If you are seeking the IB curriculum, most of these schools offer the 12 grade structure (the same as Choueifat) and your daughter should be able to transfer to grade 6 if you move her. You may, therefore, want to look at other IB school options. If the school is British curriculum but offering the IB Diploma programme in years 12 and 13, then you would have to accept the additional year of school.

  63. Ashvini says
    January 27, 2016, 4:42 pm

    Hi I registered my daughter to a school in Abu Dhabi and she sat for the assessment test on the 15th of December 2015, the school informed us that they would let us know the results soon buy even though we continually went and asked them for a feedback regarding our daughter’s application there only reply was that they would contact us soon but suddenly today they said that as per the new rule INN UAE students cannot be taken mid term…I am actually lost right now . We are from sri lanka and my daughter had completed grade one in Sri Lanka..I have no clue as to how to solve this issue…Please advice as to what step that I need to take next..are there any schools that you know that take students during the second term?…Please advise

  64. Mohammed says
    January 19, 2016, 5:12 pm

    I am considering moving my children from a British curriculum school in Dubai to an American curriculum school in Sharjah. I have spoken with the admissions team, and am told that my children will have to repeat the entire academic year under the new curriculum. They also asked me to speak with Sharjah Education Zone for more information. I found it strange though. I understand from the article above that a move from US / International to UK could cause this problem, but is it same the other way round? Will we really have to repeat the year?

    • January 20, 2016, 2:55 pm

      Dear Mohammed,

      The grading structure between the British and international curricula are different as you are aware. Essentially, the UK system goes up to year 13 and its equivalent for children of the same age and level of study in the American system is grade 12. This change is reflected all the way through the system. You don’t mention your children’s current grades, but assuming that one of them is in year 9 in the UK system, they would currently be in grade 8 in the American one. This means that if you were to move your children at the start of the school year in September, your child would be going into year 10 in the UK system which would be equivalent to grade 9 in the US one. In this case, your child is not repeating a year and he or she will still finish school at the same age and qualification level, but in grade 12 in the US system instead of year 13 in the British.

  65. Chetan Salia says
    January 16, 2016, 9:23 pm

    I am in Abu Dhabi. My son is going to give his Year 10 exam in India in IGCSE board. After his exams, I am planning to continue his education in Grade 11 in the UAE. I observed that in India, Grade 11 is AS level while in the UAE Grade 12 is AS level.

    Can someone guide me if he can get in AS level directly in the UAE.

    • January 19, 2016, 9:31 am

      Dear Chetan,

      Most Indian schools here follow either the ICSE or CBSE Boards and are graded from KG1 to grade 12. IGCSE and AS/A levels are generally offered by UK curriculum schools where the grading structure (or year group) is from FS1 (pre-KG equivalent) to year 13 (grade 12). If you wish your son to continue with AS and A levels, you may well need to apply to UK curriculum schools. The schools will take into account the difference in structure and also your son’s date of birth and academic achievement. My advice would be to contact the appropriate schools without delay as availability in Abu Dhabi remains a major challenge and most schools are full.

  66. Imran says
    December 16, 2015, 9:48 am

    Hi fellows,
    I have given school leaving notice to my kid’s school in Abu Dhabi on 15-12-15. School is asking balance fee for month of Dec-15 whereas i paid for 1st term in advance and from 18-Dec-15 onwards are holidays. Kindly guide about ADEC rule in this regard.


    • December 17, 2015, 12:42 pm

      Hi Imran,

      I am sorry that we can’t confirm the rules is this regard but you can contact ADEC directly to find out on 02 615 0000. Usually, though, schools require a term’s notice in order to release children and to be able to fill their places. Although the school may be closed for lessons, its staff will still be working and preparing for term 2 and the school may well request the additional two weeks’ payment in compensation for the short notice.

  67. Ian says
    October 21, 2015, 4:47 pm

    Hi I am trying get a transfer certificate from my childrens old school. They are refusing as they say i have charges outstanding for library books…. 250 AED fine per book. Apart from the fact that the replacement cost for each book is about 30AED, we were only notified 3 years after the books were supposed to have been taken out of the library. Can the school legally hold me to randsom like this?

    • October 22, 2015, 12:27 pm

      Hi Ian,

      Yes, I am afraid that they often do and it is really only the KHDA who may be able to intervene. It has always been the case that schools have used sanctions to ensure that any outstanding payments were made (whether schools fees or other charges), and the transfer certificate is really the only means to do this. Under the terms of the new Parent School contracts, there is specific mention of sanction (for non-payment of fees or other charges) by means of a refusal to re-enroll the following year. There has to be written evidence to show that the parent has been contacted to sort this out. The transfer certificate does not feature as a means to ensure payment is made and since it is not specifically mentioned in the agreement, I fear that there is probably no formal position to be taken by the KHDA on this. My advice would be to settle with the school; if you wish to go to the KHDA, you can call their Customer Service on 800 5432 but I suspect that you will be advised to settle. I am curious as to why you are seeking a transfer certificate if your children left the school some time ago – t/c’s are usually only valid for a short period after departure from the school.

      • Ian says
        October 22, 2015, 1:16 pm

        Thanks Lyn for the guidance. In answer to your question, they left their old school last term. The school lost my original email advising them of withdrawal from the school… The charges i am being hit with I can pay, but to be advised of penalties 3 years after they were incurred sort of grates a little. In business you would be laughed at if you presented an invoice 3 years late. Having had 3 children at this school for 5 years, and having paid every single dirham and fil on time I suppose this serves a reminder of why i chose to remove my children from the education of people like this. I will contact the KHDA and will follow their instruction. Thanks and Regards

  68. Kaneta says
    September 12, 2015, 8:33 pm

    Hello, i was supposed to get my child’s registration done today (12th sept 2015) at his new school but couldn’t do it because my husband’s emirates id has expired and he applied for a new id which we expect to get it within a week or two, my husband is the sponsor, my question is, will there be any problem if we register later when we get the id ? Plz reply, thanks

    • September 16, 2015, 5:16 pm

      Hi Kaneta,

      The schools will be keen to get the registration process completed as soon as possible as they have a deadline in November. As long as you go back with the updated EID as soon as you have it, there should not be any problem.

  69. Ayesha says
    November 12, 2014, 6:27 pm

    Please… I need to know of a way to transfer from American to British even after the last date. Having not known that there was a deadline, I was stupid enough not to go look at Sharjah English School earlier in the academic year and now I am in grade 9 stuck in the worst school ever to be known to mankind, New World American Private School. So, please if there is any way to transfer, I have to know so that I can change and actually have a chance at graduating from an actual school and not a circus…..

    Kindest regards,

    • November 13, 2014, 8:12 am

      Hi Ayesha, I’m so sorry to read that you are having a tough time at your current school. Unfortunately, the rules and regulations around curriculum transfer are usually strictly applied and unless your parents can arrange for an exception to be made by the Sharjah Education Authorities, it is very unlikely that you would be able to transfer after the cut-off date. This is mainly to ensure that you have not missed too much of the curriculum, as it is difficult to catch up part way through the academic year. My suggestion at this stage would be that you discuss the issues you have with the school with your parents and then ask them to meet with the leadership of the school to address your concerns. If this does not work out, then your parents can speak with the authorities, and worst case, you would be able to transfer to another school at the start of the new school year. Good Luck.


Share YOUR experience... Have your say here...