A comprehensive guide to court marriages in the UAE
- Marriage law in the UAE
- Pre-marital requirements
- Islamic marriage
- Marriage between non-Muslims
- Special cases
- Documents required
Marriage is the foundation of the family system. Being a safe country with an abundance of family-friendly facilities means that many people choose to get married in the UAE. Getting married here is quite convenient if you’re aware of the rules and regulations. There are legal specifications and requirements for validating a marriage in the country applied to both nationals and expatriates. Read on to know more about court marriage in the UAE including the procedure and required documents.
MARRIAGE LAW IN THE UAE
If your currently rent in Dubai or Abu Dhabi and would like to get married in the country, there are certain rules and legal procedures you must keep in mind.
According to UAE law, marriage is the only legal bond between a man and a woman to form a family or relationship. The marriage contract in the UAE is based on Sharia Law that protects the rights of the couple and their children.
The marriage between Muslim couples has to be registered in the Sharia Court in the UAE. However, people from other religions and nationalities may have to follow a different process. Let’s look at the various rules and regulations for getting married in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
GENERAL PRE-MARITAL REQUIREMENTS FOR MARRIAGE IN THE UAE
Couples wanting to organise a court marriage in the UAE have to meet certain pre-marital requirements:
- Bride’s consent to the marriage
- The couple must acquire a pre-marital screening certificate issued by the Dubai Health Authority or the Department of Health in Abu Dhabi.
- If the couple is in Dubai, then at least one party (wife, husband or wife’s legal guardian) should have a resident visa in the UAE.
- For other emirates, both the bride and groom must be UAE residents and hence need to submit a proof of UAE’s residency.
ISLAMIC MARRIAGE IN THE UAE (SHARIA MARRIAGE)
Marriage between a Muslim couple in the UAE is concluded under the Sharia Law provisions. The Sharia provisions are applicable to all Muslim couples regardless of their nationality.
- Both the bride and groom must be Muslims.
- The law also permits a Muslim man to marry a non-Muslim woman, belonging from the People of the Book or the Ahl- Al-Kitaab. However, a Muslim woman is forbidden to marry a non-Muslim man. In such a scenario, the groom’s proof of conversion to Islam is mandatory.
- UAE marriage laws permit polygamy. A Muslim male may have four wives, provided he offers equal sustenance and treatment to all.
LEGAL REQUIREMENTS FOR COURT MARRIAGE OF MUSLIM COUPLES
To have a Muslim marriage, the couple needs to meet these legal requirements:
- It’s mandatory to register the marriage contract with the Sharia Court in the UAE
- The legal age for marriage is 18 Hijri years. If the bride or groom is below that established age limit, a judge’s approval is required
- A spouse’s age must not be twice the other. In such a case, the judge’s approval is needed
- A premarital screening certificate is mandatory
- The couple must attend the court for the wedding at the given date or for other formalities when needed
- Attendance of the bride’s father or his proxy and two male Muslim witnesses are required
- The woman to be married must acquire the consent of her father or a legal guardian for the marriage
- In the case of the bride’s father’s death, the presence of the next closest male guardian i.e. closest kin such as elder brother is required
- Divorced and widowed women must produce proof of their marital status
- If the bride is Muslim and her father is not, she needs a ‘No Objection’ letter from her embassy or consulate
- MOFA attests marriage certificates in the UAE so you are required to get the court wedding certificate in Dubai attested from MOFA.
ENTITIES RESPONSIBLE FOR CONCLUDING ISLAMIC MARRIAGES IN COURT
Each emirate in the UAE has authorised marriage officers called Mazoons. The Mazoons work under the provisions of the Sharia law and they conduct the marriage at the UAE Judicial departments and Sharia courts.
Another organisation responsible for marriage in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and other emirates is the Ministry of Justice. The MOJ has also launched an eMarriage service that allows them to book an appointment with a designated marriage officer online.
Both, the Judicial Department in Abu Dhabi and Dubai Courts facilitate online marriage applications and the services of marriage officers for both expats and residents. In Dubai, the eZawaj online portal is used for applications and registrations.
MARRIAGE OF NON-MUSLIMS IN THE UAE
A non-Muslim couple in Dubai can marry at their place of worship such as a temple or church. There are some gorgeous churches in Dubai that are perfect for a ceremony where Christian residents can solemnise the wedding, while Hindus can consult with religious leaders in the top temples in Bur Dubai to organise a marriage in Dubai.
Additionally, non-Muslims can get married at the embassy or consulate of their home country in the UAE. In any case, the marriage certificate needs to be obtained from the Judicial Department.
- A foreigner who wishes to marry an Emirati citizen must obtain a certificate of good conduct and behaviour from the Abu Dhabi Police.
- Emirati women who obtained citizenship by extension are not allowed to marry a foreigner.
DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR COURT MARRIAGE IN THE UAE
These documents are needed if you’re planning to get married in Abu Dhabi, Dubai or other emirates:
- Original birth certificates
- Original passport
- Proof of residence in the UAE ( self or guardianship)
- Valid Emirates ID
- A healthy fitness certificate for marriage
- A certificate of proof of marital status for both parties (single, married, divorced). The certificate must be certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the applicant and the UAE Consulate if the certificate was issued from outside the country.
- A local proof of marital status certificate can also be issued by the consulate of the applicant and the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Please note that the documents required are subject to change depending on the scenario. Spouses must consult their country’s consulate in the UAE for additional details on the requirements.
That’s all for our detailed guide to court marriages in the UAE. If you plan to get married in Dubai as expat, make sure that you have all the documents and certificates in order to ease your marriage registration process. Check our comprehensive Cenomar in the UAE guide to know more about the process and legal requirements for Overseas Filipino Workers or OFWs and Filipino expats who want to get married in the UAE.