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Everything you need to know about Mixed Marriages in the UAE

In the UAE, marriages are allowed to be registered for expats even if they are not Muslims. By the law, marriage is a legal bond to establish a relationship between a man and a woman. Expats do get married in the UAE, some have an interfaith marriage (involving a Muslim and an expat from another religion), and some have a marriage following the customs and procedures of their religion. However, the procedure for a registered marriage in the UAE for any of the above cases depends on the nationality and religion of the bride and the groom. A Marriage Lawyer in Dubai can help get your marriage registered as per the laws in the UAE.

General laws governing marriage in the UAE

  • If the man and woman are unmarried, they cannot live together – The UAE law does not allow and considers it illegal if a man and woman live together before marriage.
  • The marriage must be legally valid – The marriage in the UAE can be legally valid if it authorized and registered by the relevant authorities.
  • Same-gender marriages are prohibited in the UAE – The UAE prohibits same-gender marriages; this is not recognized in the UAE.

Marriage laws for non-Muslims in UAE

Legal Requirements for non-Muslims to get married in the UAE

  • Residency in the UAE – The parties to the marriage must have valid permission to stay in the country until the documents are prepared. However, at least one of the parties should be a resident of the UAE.
  • Permissible age – As per the law, the permissible age for both men and women are 18 years. The age of the spouse should not exceed double of their partner. If the age of either spouse is less than 18, the approval of the Chief Justice of Personal Status Court must be taken.
  • Pre-marital medical certificate – The government must provide a medical certificate after the couple undergoes a medical checkup.
  • Witnesses – There maybe two male witnesses required for getting married in the UAE. These conditions can vary depending on the nationality of the bride and the groom.

Court marriage in Dubai between a Muslim and a non-Muslim

  • The law allows a Muslim man to marry a non-Muslim woman but prohibits a Muslim woman marrying a non-Muslim man. This marriage will be conducted as per the Sharia provisions, regardless of the nationalities.
  • Before getting married in the Dubai Courts, the couple must register electronically online through the Court’s website. The reference number received on registration must be brought along to the Court.
  • At least one party to the contract should be a resident of the UAE. The parties must bring their Emirates id and passports to verify their identity.
  • The parties must be of the permissible age as per the law; if either party is below the age of 18 years, they must take the approval of the Judge or the Chief Justice of Personal Status Court.
  • A pre-marital certificate must be provided to ensure that none of the parties suffer from diseases such as HIV/AIDS or thalassemia
  • The parties (bride and groom) must be present, along with the bride’s father and two Muslim male witnesses. If the bride’s father is deceased, then the death certificate must be provided to the Court, and the closest male guardian must be present. If the father is alive but is unable to be present in the wedding, the father may appoint a guardian of his (father)religion, so that he may complete the rituals through a valid power of attorney.
  • The documents presented to the Court must be authorized by the relevant authorities.

Interfaith Marriage Laws in the UAE

Procedure for marriage on Non-Muslims in the UAE

  • Non-Muslims can conduct the marriage ceremony in the embassy or consulate of their country in the UAE, or in a church or temple as per their religion.
  • The procedure is subject to vary depending on the nationality of the parties.
  • Generally, the parties may approach the embassy of their country in the UAE to solemnize and register the marriage.
  • If non-Muslims want to get married in the UAE, they are subject to the laws of their country.
  • For most nationalities, the parties must bring along certain documents such as the birth certificate and passports of the bride and groom, and passports of the witnesses.
  • The UAE medical fitness test must be taken to ensure that the parties are free from certain diseases.
  • At least one of the parties must be a resident of the UAE
  • If the parties are married in English, the marriage contract will also be in the same language. However, to register this marriage in the UAE, it must be translated by an official translator into Arabic. The marriage certificate can then be taken for certification and registration to the Notary Public in the Dubai Courts
  • Further, the certificate requires authentication from the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The latter can be obtained from the respective embassies of the parties involved.
  • For obtaining the marriage certificate and other attestations, it is beneficial to appoint a Marriage lawyer that can offer attestation services in Dubai.

Marriage Lawyers in UAE

Acquiring legal services for marriage is considered to be essential for expats. HHS Lawyers and Legal Consultants offers such service to their clients, to make their memorable day easier. They also provide consultations to non-Muslim expats to ensure a peaceful marriage experience.

M. Al Khairy, LL.B. is a Senior Partner of HHS Lawyers in UAE. Practicing law for almost a decade, he has in-depth knowledge on UAE legislation with particular expertise on legal drafting, contract drafting, labor disputes, family law, and regulatory compliance for business organizations. Al Khairy also provides counsel on legal rights and obligations in the UAE to clients, including individuals and businesses subject to investigation or prosecution under Criminal Law by major regulators. Read more