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You need a guardian to get married in the UAE

So, after searching high and low for someone special. You finally find your soulmate and decide to tie the knot within the UAE. While this is all well and good in this article. We will outline the importance of Bride-to-be having Legal Guardian present in order for marital proceedings carried out successfully. Before we can go into the many points and circumstances that can arise regarding the need for the Legal Guardian. We will first briefly touch on the principles of Sharia Law – the judicial system that exists within the UAE.

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Sharia Law and Marriage

This form of law is Islamic in nature. And when it comes to marriage have some key base points that should known. some of which include:

  • The minimum age that one can married within the UAE is 18 years (or 18 ‘Hijiri’ years as they are referred to Locally.)
  • The Man must Muslim in order to get married while the wife can Muslim, Jew or Christian.
  • All marriages must go through a Sharia Court. A UAE Judicial department or a Mazoon (an authorized Marriage officer) in order to recognized as legal wedding.
  • In the event spouses age exceeds twice of their potential partner special permission from Judge required for wedding to proceed. Failure to do so means the Wedding will not be permitted.
  • A pre-marital screening must taken place through the Dubai Health Authority. The Ministry of Health and Prevention or the Department of Health. If successful a certificate will then issued.
  • If the Bride divorced or a widow proof her current status must be presented.
  • The bride and groom must register the marriage at their respective embassies. In some instances, some embassies require an intent of marriage to also submitted.

These are some main points that should known about Sharia Law with respects to marriage within the UAE. There are more points such as Emiratis wishing to marry other nationalities (particularly those working for the armed forces). But we will not delve into look at those scenarios here. For now, let us talk about the vital roles of the Bride’s Legal Guardian.

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What are the rights and key roles of a Legal guardian?

The legal Guardian (or his proxy) play a vital part in the proceedings. When it comes to marrying within the UAE. We will now look at various scenarios and see how some of these roles play out:

  • A woman must have the consent of a Legal Guardian. When wanting to get married in Dubai UAE as the Guardian will tasked with handling parts of marriage contract on her behalf.
  • Should the bride enter the UAE on a Visit Visa. She need to have her Legal Guardian with her. And agree to go for a medical (where she must receive a clean bill of health report.) These things along with the potential spouse’s Residence visa will be enough for the Wedding to take place.
  • If the wife’s Legal Guardian has residential papers and the husband-to-be has a Visit Visa and medical report the wedding can proceed in this way.
  • In the case where the Guardian is Non-Muslim whilst the wife-to-be is Muslim, a ‘No Objection Letter’ from the respective consulate must accompany the marriage application. The document must authenticated by the Foreign Ministry and needs to translated into Arabic before being certified by the Ministry of Justice.
  • If the Father of the Bride is not able to attend he needs sign over a Power of Attorney to a Proxy Guardian who must be of the same religion as the father.
  • And, If the Bride’s father has passed away the next closest male Guardian would then required to be in attendance.
  • If the wife has a residence visa and is Christian or Jew, her Legal Guardian (or assigned Proxy Guardian) needs in attendance. Additionally, there should be either 2 Muslim witnesses or 2 witnesses from the bride`s religion.
  • All those involved in the above procedures (Groom, Bride, Legal Guardians and witnesses) will have to present their original passports or certified copies of said passports during this time.
  • When the bride have no Legal Guardian (and have proven this) a Judge can commissioned to act as her guardian (referred to as Marriage by Judge Guardianship) enabling the marriage to take place.

New Federal Personal Status Law in the UAE

The UAE has introduced Federal Decree-Law No. 41 of 2022 on Civil Personal Status for Non-Muslims (New Personal Status Law), which regulates family matters of non-Muslim residents in the country. This new law provides individuals with the option to either follow their home country’s laws or choose alternative personal status laws currently in effect in the UAE instead of the provisions of this Decree-Law.
The law covers various family matters, including marriage, divorce, inheritance, and child custody. It outlines the requirements and procedures for getting married and registering the marriage with the competent courts and procedures for divorce, settling financial claims, and arranging joint custody of children. The law also provides procedures for handling inheritance, wills, and proof of paternity. The Decree-Law came into effect on February 1, 2023.
It is important to note that this Decree-Law does not apply to Muslims, as Sharia, or Islamic laws, govern family matters for Muslims in the UAE.

No requirement for a Guardian under the New Personal Status Law in Dubai:

The New Personal Status Law, in Article 5, outlines the conditions necessary for a civil marriage to take place in the UAE. The law stipulates that:

  • Both parties must be at least 21 years of age and
  • They must not be related to each other.
  • Additionally, both parties must provide their consent to the marriage and sign a declaration form in the presence of a judge.
  • Importantly, the legal requirement for the wife’s father or guardian to provide consent has been removed.

Under the New Personal Status Law, the marriage must be registered with the court, and witnesses are not required to be present. The couple can also agree on the terms and conditions governing their marriage, divorce, and joint custody of their children within the marriage contract. Moreover, the couple must sign a disclosure form containing information about their previous and current marriages.

Dubai Court Marriage Experts

Now that you have a good understanding of the Legal Guardian`s purpose we wish you all the best in your endeavors and should you wish any assistance from our team of experts we at Dubai Court Marriage are only a phone call away.

With decades of experience we are more than capable of helping you go through all these key proceedings swiftly and smoothly relieving your stress and allowing you to go ahead and plan the rest of your special day.

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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.