With the economic boom in Dubai many expatriates from around the world have moved to the bustling city. With so many young professional men and women mingling and living alone it is inevitable that some will meet, fall in love and want to get married. In some cases the couple is of the same nationality but sometimes couple seeking marriage may be from different back grounds and countries.
The UAE allows marriages to take place with in its borders even if the people getting married are not citizens. However, the rules and laws are different for the many nationalities and religions present in the country. In order to stay with in 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 or they will end up in trouble with the authorities.
Islamic Marriage Law
Dubai follows Islamic laws of marriage and the Nikah is a valid marriage contract in Shariah law. This is important for people who are Muslim and wish to get married with in Dubai because they will need to do so in a Sharia court.
According to sharia principles, a Muslim man can marry a non-Muslim women. However, a non Muslim man must convert to Islam before marrying a Muslim woman. For non Muslim couples the laws of their home country will apply but they still need to register their marriage within the UAE.
People who choose to get married in Dubai must also remember that if they are not a Emirati citizen they need to posses a valid residence visa. If a spouse has a visit visa they will need to go through a medical examination before they are allowed to marry. There are other forms of paper work that are required and people should view the steps below to make sure they have every thing in order.
Court Marriages in Dubai
Couples can choose to get a court marriage using the Dubai Courts. This means that the married couple exchanges vows in front of a judge and not in some religious ceremony. The local government has set up an online system for marriage applications and registration. Go to www.dubaicourts.gov.ae and look for the eZawaj section to register your marriage in Dubai.
For people who wish to go the courts in person the government of Dubai is building the Dubai Personal Status Courts Complex in Al Garhoud. These courts ares specifically meant to deal with issues relating to family, marriages, reconciliations, divorce and settlements. The building is expected to be completed by 2013, and will have 15 court chambers, visitor areas and a wedding chapel.
Marriage Requirements for Expatriate
Before getting married it is advisable for expats to check with the their respective embassies about the rules. In general for residents of Dubai that are not citizens of the UAE the following guidelines apply:
a) Residence permits are not a requirement. However, the paperwork can take almost four weeks so a couple must have valid permission to stay within the country long enough to get their documents ready.
b) Both the male and female who are gettin married must be 18 years or older.
c) The couples are not allowed to be related before marriage.
d) Two witnesses with proper identification documents.
Requirements for Getting Marriage License in Dubai
In order to acquire a marriage license in the UAE, expatriates who are not Muslim will need to either get married in a church or at the embassy of their country of citizenship. Further more, applicants for a marriage license will need to show valid birth certificate, passports and their photocopies, passports of the witness and also their photocopies, plus a UAE Medical Fitness Certificate and blood test from the Health Ministry.
In case one of the married couple is divorced a final divorce document or previous marriage certificates should be presented. In case of widowers a death certificate will be required of the previous husband or wife.
The marriage certificate will be in English if the marriage ceremonies were performed in the same language. The certificate will need to be translated into Arabic to be acceptable in the UAE. This can be done by an official translator and the document can be certified by the Notary Public at Dubai Courts.
The marriage certificate needs more attestation starting with the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), which will then be authenticated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA). After all this, a married couple then needs get certifications from their respective embassies if they are citizens of different countries.
Islamic Marriages of Foreigners in Dubai
For residents of Dubai who are both Muslim but not citizens of UAE the marriage procedure is different.
a) Both the groom and the bride must have a valid UAE residence visa.
b) The father, guardian or attorney of bride's father should be present at the Marriage Section of Dubai Court.
c) Two adult male Muslim witnesses.
d) Passports and photocopies along with identification document for the bride's guardian and the two witnesses to the marriage.
e) If one of the couple is divorced or widowed, proof must be provided.
f) For special circumstances where the father of the bride is not a Muslim the muslim bride will need to contact her embassy and procure a no-objection letter written or translated into Arabic. This document should then be attested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).
g) A UAE marriage license will only be granted after all documents are presented and a fee is paid.
New couple may need to get the marriage certificate attested in order for acceptance in their home country. This can be done by getting certifications from the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and then the embassy of the country of the bride and groom.
UAE National Islamic Marriage
The marriage procedure for citizens of the UAE is very similar to other muslim couples. The complete contract is under Sahriah law and the wedding takes place in the Marriage Section of the Islamic Courts. The husband must be Muslim but the bride can be non-Muslim.
a) The couple should both be UAE nationals or have the proper residency permits.
b)The dowry should be paid directly to the bride and their must be written agreement for the dowry. If no dowry is to be given then a agreement needs to be drawn up that states the fact.
c) Brides father should be at the courts during marriage.
d) Two male witnesses.
e) Valid passport of bride and groom and their photocopies.
f) Identification documents for father or guardian of the bride. Furthermore, the witnesses should also have their identification documents.
g) If the father cannot attend the wedding for any reason a letter of consent must be produced along with a verifiable signature. Shariah Declaration of death will be required if the brides father is dead. Furthermore, an agreement to the marriage will be required from the women's brother or uncle.
h) No Objection Certificate from the embassy or consulate of the bride's native country is needed if the father of the bride is not a Muslim.
i) If the bride is divorced or her previous husband has been deceased, documentary evidence must be produced.
Since Christian residents of Dubai do not need to follow Islamic rules of marriage they should make sure to do the following when getting married in Dubai. The couple will need to visit their respective embassies to get complete details of how to obtain a marriage license. Each country has its own rules and procedures. In general the following rules apply:
a) Show valid passports passports
b) signed letters that state the couple is not currently married and that there are no legal obstructions to the marriage.
c) Some embassies will require witnesses.
d) If the marriage contract is in English it must be translated into Arabic and also attested by a court approved translator.
e) Certification of the Notary Public Office at Dubai Courts will also be required.
f) The new couple will also be required to get stamps from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and then authentication from Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA).
g) The final authentication will then come from the respective embassy.
Inter Religious Weddings
For marriages that takes place between different faiths where the male is non Muslim and the woman is Muslim, the groom will need to convert to Islam.