Marriage in Dubai: what expats need to know


DUBAI – Under Sharia Law, which is applicable to the UAE, a marriage is a legal bond in which a man and woman establish a relationship.

It is prohibited in UAE for unmarried couples to live or share a living space. UAE Penal Code Article 365 states that the punishment for the violation to this provision can include jail term and deportation.

Marriage in Islam is a legal agreement or contract that’s aimed at safeguarding a couple’s rights and also of their children. A marriage agreement has to undergo registration with a Sharia court in order to make sure a marriage is legal.

As for a non-Islamic marriage that is carried out in the country, a couple has to contact their embassies and/or church to follow the marriage regulations that are applicable to them.

An Islamic marriage with the Dubai Courts has to follow certain conditions, which are as follows:

• Prior to visiting the Dubai Courts, the couple needs to register with the Court. As soon as registration is done, a reference number will be provided and kept as it is one of the requirements.

• One party to a marriage contract should be in possession of a residence or employment visa in UAE. It can be the guardian of the wife, the wife, or the husband. Spouses should bring their passports and national IDs in order to provide proof of visa status and identity.

• The age of the spouse should not be more than double the age of the partner. For a spouse who has not yet turned 18, the approval of the Personal Status Court Chief Justice has to be obtained first.

• The couple has to furnish pre-marital medical certificates that are issued by a government clinic or hospital in the UAE in order to rule out any disease like HIV, AIDS or thalassemia.

• The couple has to be present for the marriage themselves together with the male witnesses that are Muslim and the father of the bride. If the father of the bride is unable to attend, a death certificate has to be furnished and the presence of the male guardian that is closest is required e.g. brother, adult son, cousin, uncle, or nephew. If the father of the bride is alive but won’t be able to come to the ceremony, a proxy guardian can be delegated.

The guardian must have the same religion as the father of the bride in order to complete the marriage procedure. Also, a power of attorney is required and the document has to be certified and made official.

• The fee for a marriage at the Dubai courts can vary, depending on the required procedure. Authorized officers for marriage at Dubai Courts would advise a couple on the fee for a marriage contract.

In addition to the conditions we have mentioned earlier, there’s going to be additional conditions that apply to those who have been divorced, widowed, newly converted Muslims, and for marriage that involves an expat woman.

A newly converted female Muslim has to submit an embracing Islam certificate and a certificate from an Islamic center. A divorcee has to submit a divorce judgment or official certificate of divorce. As for a widow or widower, there is a need to submit a death certificate for the deceased spouse. A certificate that is not issued in UAE has to be translated officially into Arabic. A power of attorney, as well as other certificates that were issued outside of UAE has to be ratified by MOFA and other ministries and legally translated.

If you want to know more about the marriage procedure for expats in UAE, we suggest you talk to a marriage lawyer in UAE like HHS Lawyers.

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