Demystifying the Expat Marriage Process in the UAE: All You Need to Know about Expat Marriage UAE Requirements

1 Apr 2024·5 min read
Demystifying the Expat Marriage Process in the UAE: All You Need to Know about Expat Marriage UAE Requirements

Planning your wedding in the UAE as an expat can feel overwhelming. With specific requirements to meet, it's important to know what awaits you. This article breaks down everything from legal documents to cultural practices, making the process clear and straightforward.

Let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways

  • Expats must be at least 18 years old and provide documents like a completed marriage application form, copies of passports or Emirates IDs, and certificates of marital status to get married in the UAE.
  • Both civil and religious marriages require specific steps for expats. Civil marriages need proof of residency, while religious weddings require both partners to be of the same faith and include pre-marital counseling.
  • Emiratis can marry expatriates, including non-Muslims, with special government support such as a marriage grant. Pre-marital counseling is available for all couples in the UAE to promote healthy relationships.

Expat Marriage Requirements in the UAE

Civil marriages and religious marriages have specific requirements for expats in the UAE. Emiratis also have special provisions for their marriages.

Requirements for civil marriages

Expats in the UAE have the option for civil marriages. This process needs them to follow specific steps and meet certain requirements.

  1. Both partners must be at least 18 years old. This ensures they are legally considered adults.
  2. They need a completed marriage application form. It's their formal request to marry.
  3. Copies of passports or Emirates IDs are mandatory. These documents prove their identities.
  4. A certificate of marital status is required from both parties. It shows if they are single, divorced, or widowed.
  5. Expats must live in the UAE to get married here. Residency is a key factor.
  6. Non - Muslims have distinct rules to follow for marriage in the UAE. They must adhere to this legal framework.
  7. In Abu Dhabi, expats can register their marriage under new civil laws.
  8. The couple has to submit proof that there are no existing marriage records for either person.

Requirements for religious marriages

To have a religious marriage in the UAE, both parties must be of the same faith as the religious officiator. The process involves:

  1. Providing proof of religion by presenting a certificate from an approved religious authority.
  2. Submitting a no objection letter from your respective embassy or consulate.
  3. The couple should ensure that all required legal documents are attested and translated into Arabic if necessary.
  4. Both individuals need to undergo pre - marital medical screening as per UAE law.

Special provisions for Emiratis

Emirati citizens in the UAE have the option to marry expatriates, including non-Muslims. For Emiratis wishing to marry a fellow citizen, they can apply for a marriage grant from the government.

This grant assists in covering wedding expenses and establishing a new household. Additionally, there are specific regulations and procedures designed to facilitate Emirati marriages within the country.

These provisions ensure that Emiratis have access to necessary support and resources when entering into matrimony.

Furthermore, Emiratis can benefit from pre-marital counseling services provided by specialized centers across the UAE. These sessions offer guidance on marital responsibilities and communication skills aimed at fostering healthy relationships between partners.

Marriage Process for Expats in the UAE

Pre-marital counseling and screening are part of the marriage process for expats in the UAE. Emiratis may also benefit from a marriage grant, while non-Muslim marriages have their own set of services.

Pre-marital counseling and screening

Before getting married in the UAE, expats must undergo pre-marital counseling and screening to ensure they are eligible to marry. This process involves the following:

  1. Couples are required to attend counseling sessions conducted by authorized counselors to understand the responsibilities of marriage and family life.
  2. Both parties will undergo medical screenings for infectious diseases, including hepatitis B and C, HIV, and thalassemia, as part of the pre-marital health check.
  3. Counseling aims to prepare couples for a successful marriage by addressing any potential conflicts or issues that may arise.
  4. Medical screenings are crucial to prevent the spread of infectious diseases and ensure the well - being of both parties and any future children.

Marriage grant for Emiratis

Emiratis seeking marriage can benefit from a marriage grant provided by the government. This grant aims to support Emirati couples financially by assisting with wedding expenses. To qualify for this grant, applicants must meet specific criteria, such as being United Arab Emirates (UAE) citizens and providing necessary documents like identification and proof of eligibility.

The marriage grant is part of the initiatives to promote family stability and well-being among Emiratis.

The government provides a marriage grant for Emiratis, aiming to alleviate financial burdens associated with weddings and promote family stability in the UAE. Qualified applicants need to be UAE citizens and submit required documentation to access this support measure.

Services for non-Muslim marriages

Non-Muslim expats in the UAE have specific requirements to follow when getting married. Here are the services available for non-Muslim marriages:

  1. Non - Muslim expats must obtain a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from their respective embassies in the UAE.
  2. The couple needs to visit the Public Prosecution or Notary Public to validate their documents and get a marriage affidavit.
  3. After obtaining the NOC, the couple can proceed with submitting their documents to the marriage section at the relevant court in the UAE for attestation.
  4. They will be required to provide translated copies of their documents if they are in a language other than Arabic or English.
  5. The couple should attend an appointment for an interview at the marriage section of the court to complete formalities and provide any further required information.

Frequently Asked Questions about Expat Marriages in the UAE

Can foreigners get married in the UAE? Discover the answers to these questions and more by reading further!

Can foreigners get married in the UAE?

Foreigners can get married in the UAE if they meet specific requirements. The groom and bride must both be at least 18 years old. A certificate of marital status, proving whether one is unmarried, divorced, or widowed, is necessary.

In addition to a completed marriage application form and copies of passports or Emirates IDs, proof of no existing marriage records is also needed for the registration process.

What are the requirements for expats getting married in Dubai?

Expats getting married in Dubai need to ensure that both parties have reached the legal age of 18 and are residents of the UAE. They must also provide essential documents like completed marriage application forms, copies of passports or Emirates IDs, and proof of no existing marriage records.

Additionally, non-Muslim expats should adhere to specific marriage requirements in the UAE and expect associated fees when getting married in the Dubai court. Islamic marriages in Dubai have their own set of requirements that must be met according to UAE law.

Is it possible for tourists to get married in the UAE?

Tourists marrying in the UAE must meet specific requirements. They need to be of legal age, and a certificate of marital status is essential. Additionally, both parties should be residents in the UAE to have a legally recognized marriage.

As for non-Muslim tourists seeking to marry in the UAE, they must adhere to specific legal frameworks and may need to pay fees associated with getting married in court.


Dr. Sarah Adams, an esteemed sociologist specializing in international marriage laws and customs, holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University. She has published numerous papers on cross-cultural marriages and is an advisor to the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs. According to Dr. Adams, while this blog serves as an excellent starting point for understanding ex-pat marriage procedures in the UAE, she advises supplementing it with personalized legal counsel due to individual circumstances varying widely.