Getting married in UAE can be a rewarding and memorable experience, but it also requires some planning and preparation. Depending on your nationality, religion, and residency status, there are different requirements and procedures that you need to follow. Here is a general guide on how to get married in UAE for Muslim and Non-Muslim couples.
General pre-marital requirements in UAE
Regardless of who you are and your country of origin, these are the pre-conditions and documents required to get married in UAE:
- The bride’s approval.
- A residence visa in the UAE is mandatory for one of the parties involved in the marriage contract (the husband, the wife, or the wife’s guardian) in Dubai.
- In the other emirates, both the bride and the groom must be UAE residents.
- A positive pre-marital health screening certificate for the couple issued from the concerned public healthcare facilities in the UAE. This pre-marital screening is mandatory for getting married in UAE. The test is conducted to limit the risk of spreading communicable and inherited diseases.
Marital requirements for Muslim couples in UAE
Muslim couples who wish to get married in UAE must meet the following requirements:
- The groom and bride must be at least 18 years old. In case one or both of them do not meet the legal age for marriage in UAE, special approval from the judge is required.
- A spouse must not be twice the age of the other. In the event that they are, a judge’s approval must be sought.
- The couple must be in attendance.
- The bride’s father or his designated proxy must be in attendance.
- Two male Muslim witnesses must be present with their Emirates IDs or passports.
- The guardian of a woman has to approve her marriage.
- In the absence of her father, the closest male kin such as an elder brother must be there.
- A proof of their status is required for women who are either divorced or widowed.
- A letter of ‘No Objection’ from her embassy or consulate is necessary for a Muslim bride with a non-Muslim father.
Muslim couples can conclude their marriage formalities at the Sharia court in the UAE, which will issue a marriage contract and certificate. The marriage contract is a legal document that outlines the rights and responsibilities of the husband and wife. The marriage certificate is a proof of the marriage and is required for various purposes, such as applying for a spouse visa, opening a joint bank account, or changing the marital status in the passport.
Marital requirements for Non-Muslim couples in UAE
Non-Muslim couples can also get married in UAE, but they have to follow the rules of their respective countries. Non-Muslim couples can conclude their marriage formalities at:
- The embassy or consulate of their country in the UAE.
- A temple or a church as per their religion.
Some countries require their citizens to file an application of intention to marry at their embassy or consulate in the UAE. You are advised to consult a marriage lawyer for the specific requirements and procedures for getting married in UAE.
Non-Muslim couples also need to obtain a marriage certificate from their embassy or consulate, or from the temple or church where they got married.
Civil marriage in Abu Dhabi
In 2021, the Abu Dhabi Civil Marriage Service was established, which allows anyone to get married in Abu Dhabi, regardless of their nationality or religion. The only exemption is a UAE national who is Muslim. A civil marriage is a lawful union of a man and woman, solemnized as a civil contract. It is based on secular rules and does not require a pre-marital screening test or the permission of the wife’s father or guardian.
To apply for a civil marriage in Abu Dhabi, you need to:
- Go to the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD) website or one of the ADJD typing centres.
- Complete a digital form and provide a copy of both parties’ passport or Emirates ID (if UAE resident).
- If one of the parties were previously married, provide proof that the marriage is now dissolved.
- If you have a pre-nuptial agreement, provide a copy of it (optional).
- Choose between the regular service or the express service. The regular service costs AED 300 and takes 10 working days to process. The express service costs AED 2,500 and takes one working day to process.
- After confirmation, the document will be electronically signed and sent to a judge to ensure all legal requirements are met.
- Receive your civil marriage contract and certificate.
Civil Marriage for Non-Muslim Expats in Dubai
The UAE has introduced a new personal status law for non-Muslim expatriates that came into effect in February 2023. The Federal Decree Law No. 41 of 2022 provides non-Muslim residents the option to follow the laws of their home country or select alternative personal status laws in effect in the UAE. This law allows non-Muslim expat couples to get a civil marriage contract in 24 hours, without having to follow the Islamic rules of marriage. However, if the expat does not opt for the new law, the court will apply the existing law based on Sharia principles.
To apply for a civil marriage contract, the following requirements must be met:
- The applicants must not be Muslim.
- One of the applicants must be a resident of the Emirate of Dubai.
- The minimum age requirement is 21 years.
- The applicants must provide proof of their single status by submitting an attested marital status certificate from their country of origin’s embassy.
- The applicants must be present in person or have a representative present with a power of attorney.
- All original identification and other electronic documentation must be in PDF format.
- During the application process, the applicants must bring their Emirates ID, original passport, and a copy of their Dubai residency permit.
- All documents must be legally translated into Arabic by an agency recognized by the UAE Ministry of Justice and fully certified by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
The steps to get a civil marriage contract in 24 hours are as follows:
- Go to a Dubai Courts service centre.
- Complete a digital form.
- A designated employee will verify consent from both parties.
- After confirmation, the document will be electronically signed.
- The document will be sent to a judge to ensure all legal requirements are met.
- Upon verification, the judge will sign the document.
- The marriage contract will be officially documented and approved electronically.
- The applicants will receive the document via text message and email.
The civil marriage contract is subject to the following conditions:
- The spouses shall not be less than 21 years old. Their age shall be verified by the document issued by the state of their nationality.
- Both spouses are required to give consent to the marriage before the authentication judge, and prove that there is no legal impediment that prevents the marriage.
- Both spouses are required to sign the declaration form.
- Marriage shall not be established between siblings, or with children, grandchildren, or uncles.
- Any other conditions prescribed in a decision of the chairman.
The total fee for obtaining a civil marriage contract in Dubai is AED482. This fee comprises of AED220 as service fees and AED262 as court fees.
How Marriage Lawyers at Dubai Court Marriage Can Assist You
If you are looking for a quick and hassle-free way to get married in Dubai, you may want to consider hiring a marriage lawyer from Dubai Court Marriage. Dubai Court Marriage is one of leading law firms that specializes in court marriage and family law. They can help you with all the legal aspects of your marriage, such as:
- Applying for a marriage license and preparing all the required documents.
- Checking and drafting your marriage contract and settlement agreement.
- Registering your marriage with the courts or the relevant embassies.
- Obtaining a civil marriage contract and certificate in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
- Advising you on the marriage laws and procedures in UAE.
Dubai Court Marriage has a team of experienced and qualified marriage lawyers who can handle any type of marriage case, whether you are a UAE resident or a visitor, and regardless of your nationality or religion. Don’t let the legalities of getting married in UAE stress you out. Contact Dubai Court Marriage today and let them take care of everything for you.
Getting married in UAE can be a wonderful experience, but it also requires some planning and preparation. Depending on your nationality, religion, and residency status, there are different requirements and procedures that you need to follow. You should always consult a marriage lawyer or relevant authority before getting married and obtain the necessary documents and certificates. We hope this guide has given you some useful information on how to get married in UAE for Muslim and Non-Muslim couples. We wish you all the best for your marriage and your future.