Dubai is considered one of the safest cities in the world. People across the globe see Dubai as a perfect place to live, settle down and raise families. There is a myriad of reasons for this – the weather is generally warm, the housing options are extensive, the schools are good and there is freedom of religious and cultural expression. Many expat families have lived here for decades and see the emirate as their home. It is, therefore, not surprising that a lot of expats are getting married in Dubai.
CAN FOREIGNERS GET MARRIED IN DUBAI?
Yes, foreign expats can get married in Dubai and tie the knot in the emirate. However, it is important to note that:
- The marriage must be legally registered with the courts or relevant embassies.
- Non-Muslim expats can tie the knot in Dubai as per the rules of their respective countries.
THE REQUIREMENTS FOR GETTING MARRIED IN DUBAI FOR EXPATS
Expats getting married in Dubai need to fulfil pre-defined requirements and procedures. These requirements and procedures may vary based on the couple:
- Residency status
Let’s take a look at the requirements for Dubai expat marriages in each case.
GENERAL PRE-MARITAL REQUIREMENTS IN DUBAI
Regardless of who you are and what country of origin you belong to, these are the pre-conditions and documents required to get married in Dubai you need:
- The bride’s approval.
- The couple’s Emirates IDs.
- Valid Passports.
- Visa status of both parties.
- At least one person (groom, bride or the bride’s guardian) in the marriage contract must have a valid UAE residence visa. Seek the UAE visa status enquiry to know about its validity.
- A positive pre-marital health screening certificate must be procured for both the bride and the groom, issued by DHA primary healthcare centres.
This pre-marital screening is a mandatory requirement for getting married in Dubai. You can apply for and obtain it after paying a fee of AED 260. The PHC–pre-marital test is conducted to limit the risk of spreading communicable and inherited diseases.
The consultation may last for about 12 minutes. Bear in mind that an application for marriage may be denied in the event of a negative medical screening certificate.
MARITAL REQUIREMENTS FOR MUSLIM EXPATS IN THE UAE
Muslim expats who wish to get married in Dubai 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 the 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 Muslim male witnesses must be present.
- A Muslim woman getting married in Dubai needs her legal guardian’s consent.
- In case the father of the bride isn’t alive, her next closest male guardian (brother or uncle) must be present.
- Widowed or divorced people must have proof of their marital status.
- In case a Muslim bride has a non-Muslim father, she must obtain a ‘No Objection Certificate’ from her consulate or embassy in the UAE.
For the wedlock to be legally valid, the marriage contract must be registered in a UAE Sharia court.
REQUIREMENTS FOR NON-MUSLIM EXPATS GETTING MARRIED IN DUBAI
Non-Muslim expats in Dubai can get married and have their nuptials registered at the respective embassies or consulates of their home countries. Christian expats can choose to get married at one of the churches in Dubai and get their marriage registered at the embassy or consulate.
For expats to be eligible for getting married in Dubai, they must meet the following criteria:
- The bride and groom must be at least 18 years of age.
- Have two witnesses for the ceremony.
In addition to this, the embassy or church may have other requirements for getting married in Dubai. These depend on and may vary from one entity to another. In most cases, however, the embassy and/or church may require additional documents like:
- Copies of the couples’ passports.
- Couple’s birth certificates.
- Valid ID of the witnesses.
- Proof of divorce or death of a previous spouse (where applicable).
Some embassies in the UAE may ask couples to file additional documents like an application for “intention to marry.” Another example of this is the Philippines embassy which requires a CENOMAR in the UAE for both the bride and groom in order to legalise their marriage.
So, before you proceed to plan an expat wedding in Dubai make sure you consult your respective embassies to be clear on the process and requirements.
WHO OFFICIATES THE MARRIAGE CEREMONY FOR FOREIGNERS IN DUBAI?
All nationals and expatriate residents can conclude their marriages in the UAE.
ISLAMIC MARRIAGES IN DUBAI
In Dubai and other parts of the UAE, Muslim marriages for expats and locals are conducted in accordance with the Sharia provisions that are applicable regardless of the couple’s nationality. Islamic marriages in Dubai take place when
- The bride and groom are both Muslims.
- The groom is Muslim and the bride belongs to Ahl Al-Kitaab (People of the Book).
Islamic marriages in Dubai are conducted by Sharia courts or via authorised marriage officers (Mazoons) appointed by the Ministry of Justice.
The ministry also has a comprehensive eMarriage service for couples who wish to get married in the UAE. The system allows you to book an appointment with an authorised officer, pay the fees and reserve your intended date of marriage online. Since the system is linked to your Emirates ID, there is no need for identification documents or paperwork.
Muslim expats getting married in Dubai must keep in mind that:
- The UAE law does not allow a Muslim woman to marry a man of another faith unless the man converts to Islam and presents proof thereof.
- Muslim men can marry non-Muslim women in Dubai.
NON-MUSLIM EXPAT MARRIAGES IN DUBAI
For expat marriages in Dubai where both spouses are non-Muslims, the nuptial formalities take place at:
- The consulate or embassy of the couple’s country of origin is the UAE.
- A church or temple as per the couple’s religion.
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR A FILIPINO TO MARRY AN INDIAN OR A NEPALI?
In case the expat couple getting married in Dubai belong to two different countries, for the marriage to be legal, it should be registered with both countries’ embassies in the UAE.
Things will vary slightly if the couple is Muslim or either the man or woman is Muslim.
HOW A FILIPINO AND PAKISTANI CAN MARRY IN DUBAI?
If the man is Muslim and the woman is Non-Muslim, the couple can still opt for court marriage in the UAE. However, a Muslim woman cannot marry a non-Muslim man unless he converts to Islam.
If both the man and woman are non-Muslims, they can apply for marriage at their respective countries’ embassies in the UAE.
Please note: A CENOMAR is required for all Filipino marriages in Dubai.
CAN YOU GET MARRIED IN DUBAI ON A VISIT VISA?
No, you need a valid Emirates ID for registering and legalising your marriage in the UAE. Hence, it’s not possible to get married in Dubai on a visit visa.
HOW TO GET MARRIED IN DUBAI COURT?
For getting married in Dubai court, here’s what you need to do:
- Apply for the marriage contract on the Dubai Courts website.
- Pay the certificate fee.
- Appear in court with your documents and witnesses for officiation.
- The Dubai court marriage is only for Muslim couples.
- Any documentation from the home country(ies) must be approved by the UAE Foreign Ministry.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO GET MARRIED IN DUBAI?
The fee to obtain a marriage certificate from the Dubai Shariah Court is AED 220. It excludes the fee of the marriage official. The cost to get married in Dubai for non-Muslims may vary from one embassy/consulate to another.
CAN CHRISTIAN EXPATS GET MARRIED IN A CHURCH IN DUBAI?
Yes, they can. However, after getting married in a Dubai church, they need to register their marriage in their respective embassy/consulate to legalise it.
To make your church wedding perfect, make sure you get the dress of your dreams from one of the bridal shops in Dubai.
WHICH ARE THE BEST PLACES FOR COUPLES TO LIVE IN DUBAI?
Looking for a new home to start the next stage of your life? Dubai Marina, Downtown Dubai and Discovery Gardens are considered to be the best places for couples to rent in Dubai as they have an abundance of restaurants, public transport facilities and high-quality apartments.
And that concludes our guide to getting married in Dubai. If you need a professional to handle the day-to-day aspects of planning a beautiful reception, you can consult one of these wedding planners in Dubai.
In case you’re wondering where to hold the reception, there are a number of hotel wedding venues in Dubai that you can consider.
If you don’t want a hotel venue, you can always explore other unique wedding venues in Dubai to host your event.