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Legal Requirements and Conditions of Marriage in the UAE

In accordance with the UAE Law of Personal Status, marriage is a legal contract between two people (man and a woman), focusing on protecting the rights of married people and their children. This contract requires certain conditions to be achieved before it becomes valid.

In this article, we will try to answer some questions raised by the UAE residents about the marriage of expatriates and its required conditions.


General Conditions

The essential general conditions for expatriates (Non-UAE Nationals) to get married in the UAE are as follows:

– Paperwork takes approximately 4 weeks

– At the time of marriage, both the parties to the marriage must have completed the age of 18 years.

– Two witnesses with their ID proof.


Marriage of Muslim Expatriates

There are also conditions and requirements for Muslim expatriates to acquire a marriage certificate according to Shari’a (Islamic Law):

– Both parties to the marriage must be Muslims.

– Where one of the parties is a non-Muslim, then a proof of conversion to Islam must be required.

– A lawful UAE residence visa is a must for both bride and groom. Only in Dubai, at least one party to the marriage (wife, wife’s guardian or husband) should have a residence visa.

– The bride’s father. In the case of his absence, a guardian or a lawyer must be present with the parties to the marriage in the court.

– Two Muslim male witnesses.

– Birth certificates of both the parties.

– Passports and photocopies of the parties to the marriage.

– Passports and passports photocopies of the witnesses.

– Presenting a pre-marital screening and blood test undertaken at the Ministry of Health.

– In case one of the parties or both are divorcees, the divorce papers and previous marriage certificates or

– In case one the parties is a widow or widower, then a death certificate of the former spouse.


Marriage of UAE Nationals

The essential conditions for the marriage of UAE Nationals (As per Islamic law) are:

– Both the parties to the marriage are Muslims

– Where one of the parties is a non-Muslim, then a proof of conversion to Islam must be required.

– Marriage must be registered in a Shari’a court in the UAE.

– Both the parties to the marriage has completed 18 Hijri years, or else the judge’s consent is required.

– A spouse’s age must not be twice the age of the other; or else, the judge’s consent is required.

– Pre-marital screening certificate is required.

– Bride’s father along with the couple and two male Muslim witnesses are required.

– Presence of the next closest male guardian in case of father’s death is required.

– In case one of the parties is a widow or widower, then a death certificate of the former spouse is required.

– If the bride’s father is not a Muslim, a ‘No Objection’ letter is needed from her embassy.


There are specific authorities responsible for conducting Islamic marriages. Such marriages are conducted through Sharia courts or by UAE Judicial departments and or by the Ma’zoon (marriage officers who are clergymen) in the UAE.


Marriage of Non-Muslim(s)

The conditions for a Non-Muslim to get married in the UAE are:

– Parties must plan a marriage in a church or to their respective embassy or their country’s consulate in the UAE.

– Any country may require their citizen to file an application of their marriage at their embassy or consulate in the UAE and process accordingly.

– The marriage should be registered in the embassies of both the parties in the UAE.

– Marriage laws are applicable as per the laws of their country.

– Both the parties are required to have a residence visa. In case one of the parties possess a visit visa, he/she must go through a medical examination in the UAE before marriage.


Special Cases

There are also some special cases where there are certain requirements:

– If an Emirati woman (nationality not obtained by dependency) marries an expatriate man, the woman must have the approval of her parents or guardian. The man (expatriate) must be a legal resident of the UAE and provides a certificate of good conduct issued by the UAE authorities.

– If a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) national or citizen of other Islamic countries wishes to marry a party of a different nationality then they must have approval from their own country.

– A foreigner who wants to marry an Emirati citizen must acquire a certificate of good conduct issued by the UAE Authorities.

– An Emirati woman who has acquired citizenship through extension is not permitted to marry a foreigner.



– There’s always a need to look upon the laws of the home country or the country’s embassy if the parties to the marriage are of different nationalities, as there are different legal conditions required for a marriage to be valid.

– Marriages which are performed in the UAE or in a church or temple in the UAE, it must be registered at the respective UAE Court. Otherwise, it will not be acknowledged in the UAE or in any other country.

– Court marriage is automatically registered in the UAE.

– Marriages which are performed outside the UAE, and are valid, then the official marriage certificate of that country is acknowledged by the UAE. Although the marriage certificate must be attested by the foreigners’ office and the UAE Embassy.

– The parties to a marriage must obtain a marriage certificate in Arabic. In case it is in English, then an Arabic translated certificate must be obtained by an official translator who must be then certified by the Notary Public at the Court in Dubai.

– The certification must further go through authentication by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) respectively. Further, in order to authenticate the certificate for validity in their own country, one needs to visit their country’s embassy and obtain the MoFA authentication to verify using it in their own country.

– The UAE marriage license can be granted on paying the required fees along with the required documents, although authentication is required by both MoJ and MoFA.

– Marriages can be denied on the basis of medical screening certificate if one of the applicants to marriage suffers from any transferable disease or genetically inherited blood disease.

– Under the UAE laws, live-in relationships are prohibited for all citizens and residents irrespective of their religion or nationality.

– In accordance with the UAE laws, polygamy is allowed.

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