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Legalities of Registering Marriage in UAE

If a couple goes through a church, temple, or court marriage in UAE or overseas, and then proceeds in living with each other as husband and wife, presumption would be that the marriage that took place is legal in UAE. However, the presumption may be overturned should there be enough evidence showing that the marriage isn’t legal. 

In order for a foreign or local marriage to be recognized by the local authorities as legal, the following conditions are to be met:

Conditions for a foreign or local marriage to be recognized by local authorities as legal

  • The marriage has to be recognized to be legal in the country where it took place. 
  • Parties to a marriage must have complied to all processes that are required for marriage in the country where it took place. This includes giving relevant notice, as well as having the required number of witnesses
  • Any previous marriage has to be terminated properly as per what’s required with the UAE legislation. 
  • Each marriage to a marriage must have the capacity in marrying under the applicable laws of the state domiciled during the time of the church or court marriage. Capacity covers issues like consent, mental capacity, and age. 

It is also very important that evidence of marriage is presented, such as a marriage certificate. A marriage certificate should be in the language used in the ceremony. If it is not in either Arabic or English, a certified translation for the marriage certificate has to be obtained. 

You may want to know: Marriage Requirements in Dubai for Tourists

How does the UAE court decide a marriage is valid?

There are three factors in which the UAE Sharia court will investigate in order to determine whether or not a marriage ceremony which has taken place must be considered as legal and valid. These are capacity, form, and that it’s not against any public policy. All three factors are consistent to the approach that’s taken in majority of Middle Eastern countries when considering any marriage undertaken in the UAE or abroad. 

Find more: Why you need a guardian to get married in the UAE

Requirements for registering a UAE or overseas marriage with the UAE Sharia court are as follows: 

  • Report of marriage 
  • Marriage certificate
  • Original and photocopies of data page of groom’s passport 
  • Original and photocopies of data page of bride’s passport 
  • Original and photocopies of bride and groom’s birth certificates 
  • Receipt of payment for Report of Marriage 
  • If Report of Marriage was only filed twelve months following the date of the marriage, a Late Registration Affidavit has to be accomplished and a fee for late registration will apply. 

Additional documents required for special cases:

  • If either groom or bride had a previous marriage that was annulled, an annotated marriage certificate must be shown, including authenticity of amended marriage certificate and authentication certificate issued by Ministry or Dept. of Foreign Affairs of the relevant party’s home country.
  • If either groom or bride has been divorced, a final divorce decree with the original copy presented to the local authority. 
  • If either groom or bride has been widowed, attested death certificate of spouse that is deceased and attested marriage certificate (originals must be provided).
  • Duly notarized parental advice of parents for a contracting party to a marriage who is below the age of twenty-one
  • Duly notarized parental consent of parents for a contracting party to a marriage who is twenty-one to twenty-five years old

You may want to know: The Legal Requirements for a Second Marriage

New Legal Conditions in Dubai for Non-Muslim Expat Civil Marriage

It is now possible for any non-Muslim couple getting married in Dubai to get a civil marriage license in just one day. Non-Muslim couples now have the option to apply for a civil marriage contract in the Emirate, allowing them to wed in a civil ceremony. These couples may get their marriage license in as little as 24-48 hours under the New Personal Status Law.
Couples who are not Muslims may get a civil marriage license. Couples may simply apply for civil wedding permits under the New Personal Status Law, which went into force in February 2023. To get the license for the same, the couple must satisfy a few requirements.

Requirements for a marriage license

  1. Neither can be a Muslim.
  2.  At least one of the two must live in Dubai.
  3. They need to be older than 21.
  4. They must provide documentation of their single status, such as a marriage certificate that has been confirmed by the embassy of their place of origin.
  5. They need to show up there in person or may have a representative. In such cases, a power of attorney is a requirement.
  6. Their original ID as well as any other electronic records must be in PDF format.
  7. While applying, they must have an original copy of their Dubai residence permit, their Emirates ID, and their passport.
  8. The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation must completely certify the legal Arabic translation of the papers by a company recognized by the UAE Ministry of Justice.

When can an overseas or UAE marriage certificate be declared invalid in UAE?

In many cases, marriage certificates are considered invalid when there is an occurrence of fraud. In general, a marriage license may be invalidated and not allowed to register for marriage in a UAE Sharia court on the following grounds:

  • Medical examination – the UAE requires a mandatory premarital medical exam for a couple to undergo should they wish to get married in UAE. Medical verification documents include blood tests for tuberculosis, rubella and venereal diseases. 
  • Misrepresentation – your marriage certificate may be considered invalid and not allowed for marriage registration with the UAE Sharia court if you or your spouse has provided a fraudulent document or information e.g. sham marriage for immigration status. 
  • Improper identification – you’ll need to give proof of identification in order to register your marriage, including government issued ID and birth certificate.  
  • Age – the UAE has a baseline age applicable for couples marrying in UAE. A parental consent or parental advice, as mentioned earlier, will be required if a contracting party to a marriage is twenty-five years old or under.
  • Proxy – the contracting parties to a marriage must be present during the time of the marriage ceremony. If any of the spouses weren’t physically present, the marriage will not be considered valid. 
  • Incapacity – it’s not illegal for anyone with a mental illness to want to marry. But, a marriage will be invalid if a contracting party doesn’t comprehend what marriage is.

If you want to know more about UAE marriage registration, call us here in Dubai Court Marriage today to speak to our team of seasoned marriage attorneys!

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.