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 the Muslim and non-Muslim public.
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Conditions of Marriage According to UAE law
The law of the United Arab Emirates aims to associate marriage with a contract that allows for the formation of a family and the birth of children.
In order to protect the rights of the spouses and their children, the UAE has permitted all residents and certain visitors to register and finalize their marriage ceremonies in the UAE in accordance with their own nationalities and religious beliefs.
To this end, various laws and regulations prescribing the conditions for the validity of such unions have been promulgated, the most important conditions being:
- Confirmation of the prospective wife’s complete consent without pressure or coercion.
- One or both spouses must have a valid identity card or passport, be Emirati citizens, or hold a valid residence and visa in the UAE. However, the prescriptions in this regard are flexible and it is possible to exclude many cases from the UAE residency requirement, and indeed numerous marriages are registered for visitors to the UAE.
- A certificate confirming the medical fitness of the spouses provided that this certificate is issued by one of the accredited medical centers in the UAE or the UAE Ministry of Health.
Marriage for All Religions and Nationalities in the UAE
In order to register a marriage in the UAE, one of the spouses must be residing in the Emirates. However as mentioned above, the laws are flexible in this regard and non-residents may request their exemption from this condition.
Furthermore, it is permissible for non-Muslims who are citizens of other countries to marry and register their marriages in the UAE.
Conditions for Marriage Applicable to Muslims and non-Muslims
The following conditions must be adhered to in order to finalize and register a marriage in the UAE:
- The spouses must be eighteen years or older according to the Hijri calendar. The approval of the court is required in marriages where this condition is not met.
- The husband’s age should not be twice the age of the wife or more. The approval of the court is required in marriages where this condition is not met.
- Provision of a health certificate proving the medical fitness of the spouses. The certificate must be issued by one of the accredited medical centers in the UAE or the UAE Ministry of Health.
- The spouses, the bride’s attorney, the bride’s legal guardian, and two Muslim witnesses must be present at the ceremony.
- The consent of the guardians of the spouses must be provided. This may either be provided by the father or whoever acts on his behalf if the father is deceased.
- In the event that the prospective wife is a non-Muslim, she must provide written evidence of her father’s consent to the marriage or the approval of her country’s embassy or consulate.
- Confirmation that neither of the spouses suffers from genetic blood disorders or contagious diseases.
- If the wife is divorced or widowed, she must present an official document as proof of such.
The marriage contract can be concluded and registered in the Emirati courts or judicial departments across the UAE. Recently, the UAE Government has launched an electronic marriage service. This service aims to save time and effort for the public and makes allowances for, amongst others, the interview of the prospective wife’s guardian electronically.