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Is online marriage legal for Dubai expats moving to CANADA?

Due to the stringent rules and regulations, many expats in Dubai are considering moving to other western nations such as Canada, the UK, and the US. Canada is an excellent option for anybody looking to start a family in a foreign country. There are various reasons why expatriates move to Canada for a higher standard of living.  If you’re a Dubai expat and thinking of getting married online and moving to Canada, read this article to learn more about whether it’s allowed.

 Does CANADA recognize online marriages?

Virtual or Online marriages are not covered by Canadian immigration law and are not eligible for sponsorship under the family category. However, foreign spouses of Canadian residents or citizens may still cross the border.

In 2015, IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) issued regulations governing virtual unions. Then it was established that only members of the Canadian Armed Forces might sponsor their spouse, even if they had married someone from outside Canada. These marriages must have been subject to restrictions that required them to take place virtually or through a proxy. Proxy weddings are highly prone to abuse because the actual partners aren’t the ones who solemnize the union. It gets simpler to coerce two people into getting married.

However, because of COVID-19 travel limitations, there is no ambiguity and disagreement over whether a marriage that was solemnized between two real people through video conference should be considered a proxy marriage.

Read more about – Marriage in Seychelles for UAE residents

Online marriage vs proxy marriage

Immigration law experts are divided on whether a lawful couple that has to exchange vows through video conference due to coronavirus precautions qualifies as a proxy marriage. The difference between a proxy and an online marriage is that proxies may be carried out by a representative, while couples can participate in virtual weddings by phone, fax, or video messenger.

Couples must be “physically present” during their wedding in order to be eligible for spousal sponsorship, according to the legislation as outlined in the Immigration Refugee Protection Regulations. An online marriage involves the original couple taking part in a virtual ceremony, as opposed to a proxy wedding, which a representative of the genuine couple might perform. The ceremony might be conducted via phone, fax, or video messenger.

According to IRCC legislation, a couple can only be eligible for spousal sponsorship if they are both physically present during their marriage ceremony. However, it is also true that demand for virtual weddings has grown dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

The COVID-19 pandemic problem has been treated with consideration by IRCC, which is aware of the importance of families being together. Even close relatives coming to stay for at least 15 days in Canada are now excluded from the rule. It hasn’t included any clauses approving or accommodating proxy weddings even then.

Exceptions to an online marriage

Online Marriage are permitted in Canada with a few limitations.

  • If you were lawfully married online before June 11, 2015
  • If you are a member of the Canadian Armed Forces and satisfy specific requirements

Couples who don’t fit the requirements mentioned earlier won’t be able to justify an online wedding in Canada legally.

What are the Canadian law relating to immigration?

There are limited options for either spouse who haven’t cohabit together to bring other partner into Canada.  The only option is a legal marriage in which both of you are present.

You and your spouse should be aware of the time-consuming documentation required to be married in the UAE if you both reside in Dubai or the other GCC nation. Additionally, getting married is made more difficult if you are a Muslim and your spouse is not.

To avoid challenges mostly foreigners chose other alternate routes, such as traveling to Georgia or even tying the online marriage. Online weddings are not recognized in Canada; therefore, it is not the ideal choice if you wish to migrate there.

You should know: Civil Marriage – What impact do new laws have on expat marriages in Abu Dhabi?

Court marriage in Dubai for expatriates

As per Sharia law Muslim expatriates can get married. It is considered to be a straightforward procedure. Couples who are not Muslims might choose the civil court marriage in Dubai. Any of these marriages may be testified to and made legitimate for your migration to Canada. However, the procedure of civil court marriage in Dubai becomes very difficult if either of the partners is a Muslim, as was already indicated. To learn more about procedure relating to court marriage in Dubai, seek legal advice for our legal representative.

The best ways to marry for immigrants from Dubai to CANADA

Couples must still establish that their marriage is still enforceable in both the country in which it was solemnized and in Canada, even though Canadian border services will recognize marriage certificates issued by other countries. Georgia and Seychelles are excellent options if you believe your position makes getting married in the UAE or other GCC nations difficult. In any of these nations, there are no restrictions for civil marriage based on nationality or religious beliefs. Marriage certificates are legally binding worldwide, enabling spouses to sponsor their partners.

If you have questions about getting married in Dubai, Georgia, or another location, schedule a consultation with one of our marriage lawyers at Dubai Court Marriage.

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.