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Marriage laws for non-Muslims in UAE

The UAE allows marriages to take place within its borders even if the people getting married are not citizens of the UAE. However, the rules and laws are different for the many nationalities and religions present in the country. In order to stay within the rules and regulations of the country a couple that wishes to get married in Dubai should make sure they are following all the laws of the UAE. Depending upon the situation a non-muslim should fulfill below-mentioned criteria.

  • Should satisfy legal age requirements to get married
  • Have a mental capacity to understand marriage
  • Freely consent to the marriage. Free consent may be absent if, at the time of marriage, the person is suffering from:
    1. Intoxication
    2. Mental disability or not able to understand legal implications
    3. Agree to marriage because of threats or intimidation
  • Observe necessary formalities of marriage

General laws governing marriage

An unmarried man and women cannot live together:

UAE s governed by sharia law which follows the moral and ethical code.  living together is against law, and hence cannot be practiced by nationality. In other words, living together with a partner, without marriage, is considered illegal and against law. living together as a couple is only permitted after conducting the marriage. there are some cases of unmarried couples living together in Dubai, i.e., it is possible, but not permitted, Dubai is a country that operates and practices Sharia Law, and it is therefore applied to all expats residing in UAE.

Legal validity:

Marriage is a legal contract between a man and a woman, aimed at safeguarding the rights of the couple and their children. The marriage contract needs to be registered under the relevant authority UAE, which ensures that the marriage meets legal requirements. For a marriage to be valid in UAE it must be authorized by relevant authorities.  matrimonial status can only be accredited by a competent court.

Prohibition of same-gender marriage:

Same gender marriage is not recognized in the UAE. Any person initiates marriage between the same gender is illegal and can face consequences as per UAE laws.

Conditions for non-Muslims to get married in Dubai

Non-muslim can get married by following their own laws and rules below mentioned are a few legal conditions:

Residential status: Both the parties to the marriage should have valid permission to stay in the country long enough to get their documents ready.

Pre-martial conditions: Pre-martial conditions require the approval of the bride for marriage. Providing a medical certificate from any public health care facility

Maturity: Age of the parties matters in UAE law for initiating marriage. Both the parties should meet the required age criteria as per UAE law. The parties should be mentally mature to understand the legal implications of marriage

Legal representative: Father of the bride along with two witnesses are needed so that they may represent the bride. If the father of the bride is dead, the death certificate should be presented, this is to ensure the death of the father and another legal representative presence is made sure. If the father of the bride is not dead but is unable to come to the wedding in person, a proxy guardian can be presented as a delegate.

 Special provisions non-Muslim marrying in UAE

Non-Muslim marrying an emirate

If a non-Muslim, is marrying an Emirati, the rules and procedures differ on the basis of nationality and/or religion. If both parties belong to the same religion; then getting married is not very difficult, but if a non-muslim wants to marry a Muslim woman then he will have to convert to Islam.

Non-Muslim marrying an expat Muslim

Expat Muslims of any nationality can marry in the UAE court. The rule clearly states that the man should be a Muslim, while the woman can be of any religion in order to marry in sharia court. For non-Muslims, every law which is applicable in your home country will be applicable here as well. While you live in the UAE

Marriage between non-Muslim of the same religion

Marriage between same religion can be conducted by understanding the rule and regulation of marriage laws in Dubai. Both parties can apply the laws of their country for initiating marriage. The procedures can be understood by contacting a family lawyer who is an expert in family matters

Marriage with no religious ideologies

UAE expat who does not follow any religious ideologies has to complete the paperwork as per marriage laws. if both the parties do not have any religious inclination can perform a Dubai blessing ceremony by contacting relevant officials.

HHS lawyers and legal consultants can give marriage counseling to non-Muslim expats in UAE. Our Marriage lawyers can deal with the required procedures of getting married in the UAE. We can provide you quality and can also provide marriage advice if needed. For a consultation contact us.

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