Under the Sharia Law applicable in the UAE, marriage is the only legal bond for a man and a woman to establish a relationship and have children. It is prohibited for an unmarried man and woman to live together or share a closed space. As per Article 365 of the UAE Penal Code, the punishment can include a jail term followed by deportation.
Marriage in Islam is a legal contract between a man and a woman, aimed at safeguarding the rights of the couple and their children. The marriage contract should be registered in a Sharia court in the UAE, which ensures that the marriage meets legal requirements. For non-Islamic marriages, couples should contact their church or embassy and follow the marriage laws applicable there.
To get married at Dubai Courts through an Islamic (Sharia) marriage, the following conditions should be fulfilled:
1. At least one party to the marriage contract (husband, wife or wife’s guardian) should have employment or residence visa in Dubai. Spouses should bring their national ID and passports for proof of their identity and visa status.
2. A spouse’s age should not exceed double of their partner. If either spouse is less than 18 years of age, approval of the Chief Justice of Personal Status Court should be obtained.
3. The couple should furnish a pre-marital medical certificate issued from a Dubai Government hospital to rule out diseases such as thalassemia or HIV/AIDS.
4. Both spouses should present themselves, along with the bride’s father and two Muslim male witnesses. In case, the bride’s father is no longer alive, relevant death certificate to be shown and presence of closest male guardian is required (example brother, uncle, cousin, nephew). If bride’s father is alive but unable to come in person, he can delegate a proxy guardian for the marriage, through an officially certified power of attorney.
5. The fee for the marriage contract at Dubai Courts varies from AED 60 to AED 500 depending on the procedures. The authorized marriage officers at Dubai Courts will advise you on this.
In addition to the conditions given above, there are other special conditions for newly converted Muslims, divorcees, widows, widowers and for marriage of UAE female with expatriates.
Newly converted female Muslims should submit ‘certificate of embracing Islam’ and certificates from any Islamic centre approved by the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments (Awqaf). Divorcees should submit official certificate / divorce judgement. Widows and Widowers should submit death certificate of their late spouse. All certificates not issued in the UAE should be legally translated into Arabic. Power of attorney and other certificates issued from a country outside the UAE should be legally translated and ratified by Ministry of Foreign Affairs of that country, UAE Embassy of that country, UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and UAE Ministry of Justice.
Dubai Courts has more than 20 authorized marriage officers (Mazoons) to perform marriage ceremonies, draw up the marriage contract and check all documentation. At the end of the marriage procedure, you can use the decorated wedding room at Dubai Courts to take a few photographs to document your special day before you proceed to your wedding party.