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Procedures for Expatriate Marriage in UAE

There are customs, traditions, and laws related to marriage and the marriage relationship, which may differ from one country to another or from one religion to another, however it is a common cause that marriage is a very important aspect of societal living.

Thus, UAE legislators have thus taken care of defining laws related to marriage that may be applied equally to Emiratis and Expatriates alike.

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General documentation required for marriage in the UAE

In terms of the initial procedures, the following general pre-marital documentation is required:

  • Birth certificates (original and copy);
  • Passports (original and copy);
  • Proof of residence in the UAE (if the marriage is taking place in Dubai, at least one party to the marriage must be a resident of the UAE. In the other emirates, both the bride and the groom must be UAE residents);
  • Emirates ID’s (original and copy);
  • Pre-marital screening certificates confirming medical fitness as issued by the Dubai Health Authority or the Department of Health in Abu Dhabi;
  • A certificate of proof of marital status for both parties.

Read also: Court Marriage without Witnesses in UAE possible?

Requirements for Muslim Expatriates getting married in the UAE

Muslim expatriates who wish to get married in the UAE must meet the following requirements:

  • The bride and groom must be at least 18 years old. If this requirement is not met, special approval must be obtained from a judge.
  • Neither spouse may be twice the age of the other. If this is the case then a judge’s approval must be obtained.
  • The couple must both physically be in attendance.
  • The bride’s father or his designated representative must be in attendance.
  • There must be 2 Muslim male witnesses present.
  • The bride must obtain the consent of her father or legal guardian.
  • Proof of their marital status must be provided.
  • In case a Muslim bride has a non-Muslim father, a ‘No Objection’ certificate must be obtained from her consulate or embassy in the UAE.
  • The marriage certificate must be registered in a Sharia Court in the UAE.

Requirements for Non-Muslim expatriates getting married in the UAE

Non-Muslim expatriates are able to get married at the embassies or consulates of their home countries.

They may also get married at any place of worship such as a church or temple and then subsequently have the marriage registered at their embassy or consulate as mentioned above

The following criteria must be met for such marriages to be legally valid:

  • The bride and groom must be at least 18 years old.
  • Have two witnesses for the ceremony.

Notwithstanding the aforesaid, the embassy or place of worship may have additional formalities that the couple must comply with so it is advisable for the spouses to consult their respective embassies or consulates first to obtain further details in this regard.

It is further important to note that if an expatriate couple getting married in the UAE belong to different nationalities, the marriage must be registered with both countries’ embassies.

Civil Marriage for Non-Muslims in Dubai

Under a new law – Federal Law No. 41 of 2022 – that came into effect on February 1, 2023 the non-Muslim couples in the Emirate can now apply for a civil marriage contract, allowing them to have a civil ceremony. This law enables couples to obtain their civil wedding license within 24 to 48 hours of application.
Previously, non-Muslim couples could only get married in a religious ceremony or at their home country’s embassy or consulate. However, with the introduction of this new personal status law, non-Muslim couples can formalize their marriage as a civil contract. To qualify for a civil marriage in Dubai, non-Muslim couples must fulfill the following legal conditions:

  1. Both parties being non-Muslim,
  2. Being at least 21 years old,
  3. Having one party be a resident of Dubai,
  4. Providing proof of single status, and
  5. Being present during the application process or having a legal Power of Attorney represent them.
  6. The Dubai Courts requires important documents for the civil marriage contract, including the original passport and Emirates ID, and a copy of a valid Dubai residency permit.
  7. Couples must also submit an attested marital status certificate from their country of origin’s embassy to prove their single status.
  8. Additionally, all documents must be translated into Arabic by a legal translator approved by the UAE’s Ministry of Justice and attested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC).

Special Cases

UAE Nationals, irrespective of whether they are male or female, who are members of Armed Forces or employees of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Police and wish to marry expatriates must first obtain special permission from their employers.

Additional Requirements for Emirati Women Marrying Expatriates

Firstly, it must be noted that an Emirati woman may not marry an expatriate man if she has obtained her nationality by marriage.

When an Emirati woman wishes to marry an expatriate, she is obliged to obtain the following:

  • consent from her parents/guardian;
  • permission from her employer if she is working in the Armed Forces as mentioned above.

Furthermore, her prospective spouse must comply with the following requirements:

  • He may not be stateless;
  • He must be a legitimate resident of the UAE;
  • He must obtain a certificate of good standing issued in the UAE.

Read also: Marriage Requirements in Dubai for Tourists

Requirements for GCC nationals and citizens of other Islamic countries marrying expatriates

Citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries (male and female) wishing to marry a person of another nationality must obtain the approval of their respective countries and have such approval approved by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Procedures for expatriates getting married in the UAE

Online application for Marriage via eZawaj system – Ministry of Justice

  • Complete list of required documents;
  • Pay the fees;
  • The couple must appear before a judge with 2 witnesses, the wife’s guardian, and all the necessary documentation. The judge will then hear the marriage application and communicate his decision.
  • If the marriage is approved, the marriage certificate can be obtained online after the completion of the necessary information.

Contact Dubai Court Marriage right now if you want to get married in Dubai UAE!

Hazim Darwish Practicing law for almost a decade, he has in-depth knowledge on UAE legislation with particular expertise on family law, and regulatory compliance for business organizations. Hazim Darwish also provides counsel on legal rights and obligations in the UAE to clients, including individuals and businesses subject to investigation or prosecution under Criminal Law by major regulators.