Marriage can be defined as a civil arrangement between a man and a woman for the safeguarding of the couple’s and their children’s rights.
But getting married can be quite a hassle, especially when the bride and the groom have different nationalities. The city of Dubai is a melting pot of races and cultures.
The majority of the city’s population is made up of expats who belong to various nationalities and religions.
The city has also emerged as a prime wedding destination in recent years.
If you consider these factors, as well as the fact that the UAE is an Islamic country (which means different regulations for Muslims and non-Muslims), you will need some legal help if you want to get married in Dubai.
It is highly advisable that you hire a marriage consultant to guide you through the process and make your special event less complicated and hassle-free.
To make the readers aware of the process and the importance of a marriage attorney, we have provided information on the laws, documents, and conditions for marriage in Dubai in the following sections.
Family Law in the UAE
Registration of a marriage in the UAE comes under Family Law.
Under this law, marriage is the only legal contract between a man and a woman which permits them to develop a partnership and have children.
All other forms of relationships based on mutual consent are deemed illegal under this law, such as live-in and same-sex relations.
The following general requirements must be met for a marriage (of any nature) to happen in the UAE:
- Written approval/consent of the bride.
- At least one of the parties (bride, bride’s guardian, or groom) must have a UAE residency visa to get married in Dubai.
- Both parties must have a UAE residency visa to get married in other emirates.
- The couple must have a positive certificate of premarital medical screening approved by the authorized UAE public health facilities.
The screening must be carried out from one of the following medical centers:
- Ministry of Health and Prevention (offices in all emirates)
- Department of Health (Abu Dhabi)
- Dubai Health Authority (Dubai)
Documents required for marriage
You are required to submit a set of documents to register your marriage in the UAE. Depending on your nationality and circumstances, the list can differ. A list featuring some of the documents is given below:
- Bride’s written consent. Some consulates can also ask for the groom’s statement.
- Filled notice for marriage form.
- Attested sworn declaration by the pair.
- Photographs (passport size) of the couple.
- Passports (original and photocopies) of the couple.
- One of the parties (bride, bride’s guardian, or groom) must have a UAE visa for registration in Dubai.
- Both parties must have a resident UAE visa for registration in other emirates.
- Certificates of pre-marital medical screening for both bride and groom.
- Former marriage and final divorce certificates if either or both parties are divorced.
- Death certificate of the deceased spouse if either or both parties are widows.
- Passports (original and photocopies) of the witnesses.
Islamic and Non-Islamic marriages
Islamic marriages in the UAE are conducted under Sharia laws, irrespective of nationality. These provisions are applicable if:
- Both the husband and the wife-to-be are Muslims.
- The wife is non-Muslim and the groom is Muslim.
The main legal conditions for Islamic marriages (for both residents and expats) are as follows:
- The marriage agreement must be registered in a Sharia court in the UAE.
- 18 Hijri years is the legal age of marriage. Court’s permission is required if the age of any of the parties is less than 18.
- The age of one of the partners must not be twice the other. In cases otherwise, the court’s permission is required.
- A certificate of pre-marital medical screening is required.
- The couple’s attendance is mandatory for the marriage.
- The bride’s father (or his representative) must be present along with two male Muslim witnesses.
- A woman must get her guardian’s permission for the marriage.
- The next closest male guardian (such as an elder brother) must be present in case of the death of the father.
- A status proof must be provided if the bride is divorced or widowed.
- If the father of the bride, who is a Muslim, is not a Muslim, she must present a ‘No Objection’ note from her consulate or embassy.
While a Muslim man is permitted by law to marry a non-Muslim, a Muslim woman cannot marry a non-Muslim person without evidence that he has been converted to Islam. The laws of the home country apply to non-Muslims who want to get married in Dubai. In addition, both the bride and the groom must be a resident of Dubai or hold a valid visa. In case the bride or the groom has a visiting visa, he/she must undertake a thorough medical checkup before the marriage. Non-Muslims can conduct marriage formalities either at their country’s embassy or consulate in the UAE or at a temple or a church, according to their faith.
Other requirements and cost
Foreign nationals must get tourist visas if they want to get married in the UAE. The whole process is a bit lengthy and requires a few trips to the marriage registration office. If you are interested in a destination wedding in Dubai, we will advise you to plan and make arrangements accordingly.
When it comes to the cost of registering marriages in the UAE, charges range from AED 200 to AED 400. The minimum charge that you are required to pay is AED 200 for registration plus AED 20 (knowledge fee and innovation fee). There are other factors that decide the cost of marriage registration such as your ethnicity, criteria, and the laws of the emirate where you are planning to register.
Now that you are familiar with the regulations and requirements, you can imagine how important it is to enlist a marriage lawyer in Dubai before making any wedding plans. It is advisable to seek advice from a lawyer who specializes in family and marriage laws even if you are a resident of Dubai. Getting married in Dubai is not a walk in the park but marriage attorneys can guide you through the storm and make your wedding a less stressful affair.