Expat Marriage UAE: A Comprehensive Guide

20 Jun 2024·0 min read

Getting married is more than just a step; it’s a thrilling journey. Imagine sailing unknown seas with your favorite person. In UAE, expat marriage brings its own set of joys and challenges, especially for foreign national couples.

We’ve got you covered on everything you need to know about marrying in The UAE. From the expat marriage requirements in uae to organizing your big day, we’re here to help. Easy Wedding ( is all about creating lasting memories. Our team, made up of both locals and expats, works to ensure your wedding expresses who you are.

Key Takeaways

  • Understand the uae marriage laws for expats and legal requirements for marriage in the UAE.
  • Learn about the different types of marriages in the UAE, including traditional Emirati weddings, expatriate weddings, and civil marriages.
  • Explore the uae expat marriage procedures and documentation requirements for expat prenuptial agreement uae.
  • Discover the options for intercultural marriage uae expats and uae expat marriage customs.
  • Understand the expat spouse visa uae and residency requirements.

Introduction to Expat Marriage in the UAE

Marriage is more than a bond; it’s a crossing of borders and cultures. For expats in the UAE, beginning their marriage journey here can be both thrilling and challenging. This guide will illuminate the legal needs, customs, and essential aspects of expat marriage in the UAE.

Marriage as an Adventure

Marriage is like an expat marriagemarriage uae> journey, taking you and your partner through unknown lands. The UAE’s diverse tapestry adds a unique flair to wedding celebrations. Everyone, from seasoned expats to new arrivals, will find something special here.

Significance of Understanding UAE Marriage Laws for Expatsmarriage laws for expats>

To marry in the UAE as a foreigner, you must understand the local laws and customs well. This guide covers everything, from pre-marriage steps to wedding traditions. It’s designed to help make your wedding day in the Emirates a perfect expression of your love and cultural mix.

Arabian Wedding Traditions

Arabian weddings kick off with Al Khoutha, setting the path for the union. It’s where the groom’s father requests the bride’s hand, marking the families coming together. This big step includes the signing of the marriage contract, Al Akhd, and a 40-day beauty preparation for the bride.

During these 40 days, the bride is taken care of to look her best. Her body gets oils, and her hair is styled with flower essences. These traditions show respect and celebrate the new bond forming.

Al Khoutha: The Marriage Proposal Ceremony

The Henna night is a must before the wedding. The bride’s female friends and family join her. Everyone enjoys dancing and eating, as the bride gets beautiful henna designs.

This night is not only about looks but also about blessings. Gifts like jewelry and dresses are given to help her on her new journey. In Emirati culture, these gifts are very important.

Henna Night: A Vibrant Pre-Wedding Celebration

The actual wedding is full of celebration. Men and women have their own parties. This lets everyone fully enjoy the event with dancing and showing off beautiful attire and jewellery.

The groom gives the bride special gifts, known as Al Zahba, like silk and jewelry. Her dress is central to the celebration, showing her important role. This grand occasion celebrates their love with all the splendor.

The Wedding Ceremony and Receptions

The nikah ceremony itself is very meaningful. It happens in front of loved ones and religious figures. After that, there are big parties. Women get to have fun without a hijab, and men enjoy traditional music and dances.

The food at these receptions is a big deal, with many customary Emirati dishes. It’s all about showing hospitality and togetherness. From start to end, Emirati weddings focus on tradition, family, and the start of a new chapter with full support.

Celebration of Familial Bonds and Cultural Traditions

Types of Marriages in The UAE

Wedding traditions in the UAE are special and unique. They are often big events, with men and women celebrating separately. An Emirati usually goes through several steps. This includes getting engaged, signing the Nikkah (marriage contract), and the big wedding party. The Nikkah is crucial, has legal and religious significance. In the UAE, Muslim men can have up to four wives but must treat them all fairly and equally.

Expatriate Weddings

The UAE, with its big community, sees many types of weddings. These include Christian, Hindu, Sikh, and more. Non-Muslim expats can have weddings in line with their faith or culture. For example, Christians can get married in a church and then register the marriage for it to be fully legal.

Civil Marriages

Historically, the UAE mainly followed Islamic marriage laws. But over time, as their community grew diverse, they made changes. In early 2021, the UAE updated its laws to welcome a more diverse population. They did this by introducing civil marriages for non-Muslims. This was a step towards becoming more inclusive and appealing to everyone. The civil marriage law means that non-Muslims can get married without any religious rites. This is helpful for couples of different faiths or those who just want a civil ceremony.

The Legal Requirements for Marriage in The UAE

First off, knowing the legal steps to marry in The UAE is crucial. The bride’s agreement is key. One between the couple must have a UAE visa for Dubai, or both must be UAE residents in other places.
You need a clean bill of health from local healthcare before marriage. This rule aims to stop the spread of diseases. Also, both of you should not be Muslim UAE Nationals, and you have to be 18 or older. You can’t be closely related, and neither of you should be already married.

Requirements for Civil Marriage in Dubai in 24 Hours

To wed civilly in Dubai at short notice, you both must be of a different faith than Muslim. At least one of you should live in Dubai, and you must be 21 or older. In person, you need to show your original IDs and proof that you are not already wed.

Islamic Marriage Requirements

For Islamic unions, both of you can follow Islam, or only the groom. The bride can also be from ‘Ahl Al-Kitaab’, like Christian. Your marriage must be united in a Sharia court in the UAE. You must be at least 18 Hijri years old, under which case you need a court’s OK. When marrying, the age gap cannot be too big without a judge’s say.

You also need a clean bill of health and a few key witnesses. If the bride’s father won’t attend, she needs official permission from her embassy or consulate.

Special Cases

For locals, there are extra rules. The top dowry is AED 50,000, with AED 20,000 upfront. Special jobs in the forces or with foreign affairs need permission to marry someone foreign.
In Ajman, local court approval is vital if marrying outside the GCC. Emirati women marrying foreigners face stricter checks, needing parental or guardian nod, plus work permits if in the forces. The husband must have a clean record in the UAE.

For those outside the UAE but in GCC or Islamic nations, special-country approvals are needed for cross-border unions. Yemeni brides also require ago-ahead from their homeland.

Documentation Requirements

For Civil Marriage

Getting married in a civil ceremony has its steps. You’ll need to fill out a marriage application form and have your international passports or Emirates ID copies ready. Bring a proof of singlehood, like divorce or death certificates. And if you prefer, a pre-nuptial agreement is optional.

Remember, any documents not in Arabic must be translated by an official translator or certified service in The UAE, like Translayte. Also, your foreign documents must be legalised or stamped by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) to be used in The UAE.

How to Get Married in The UAE

Get a Residence Visa

In Dubai and across the UAE, a valid residency visa is key to marriage. If you’re a foreigner holding a tourist or visit visa, marrying legally can be complex. However, it’s possible if one of you is a resident.

Expat Marriage UAE: Legal Structures and Procedures

The marriage scene in the UAE is changing fast. Recent years have seen big legal changes to welcome everyone, no matter their background. This includes key laws on getting married in the UAE as a foreigner.

Federal Decree-Law No. 41/2022 On Civil Personal Status

This law makes civil marriages possible for non-Muslims in the UAE and foreign residents. To get married, you must be over 21 and meet the other rules. You then submit a form to the court’s judge for approval.

Abu Dhabi Law No. 14/2021 on Civil Marriage

In Abu Dhabi, non-Muslims can also have civil marriages. The rules are a bit different, with the age limit at 18. After meeting these and other rules, you submit a form for approval.

Applicants can do this online or in person. It’s a straightforward process, as long as you have the necessary documents ready.

Application Process in Dubai

In Dubai, there’s a special service for non-Muslims. It allows couples to get a wedding license quickly. This service follows the guidelines set by the law for non-Muslim marriages.

Can Expats Marry in Dubai?

Yes, expats can get married in Dubai. But, they must legally register the marriage. This is with the courts or relevant embassies.

For a non-Muslim expat marriage, it’s based on their home country’s laws. The wedding happens in a consulate or embassy, or their religious place. Muslim expats follow Sharia laws and must register in UAE Sharia courts.

There’s a 24-hour marriage service in Dubai for non-Muslims. If both are single and one is a Dubai resident, they can marry. This helps eligible couples get their marriage certificate fast.

Marriages in the UAE have to meet certain criteria regardless of the couple’s background. This includes health checks and proving you’re single. Knowing the rules can help couples have a smooth wedding process in Dubai.

Requirements for Marriage in Dubai

General Pre-Marital Requirements in Dubai

Anyone planning to get married in Dubai must meet some rules. First, you’ll need the bride’s okay to marry. Both of you should have Emirates IDs and valid Passports. One of you must at least have a current UAE residence visa.

Next, you’ll need health screening certificates from DHA centers. This is for the bride and groom.

Marital Requirements for Muslim Expats in the UAE

If you’re a Muslim Expat wanting to get married in Dubai, here’s what you need to know. You both must be 18 or older. The bride and groom can’t be too far apart in age. This rule makes it fair for both.

There must be people to witness the marriage. at least two male Muslims for the bride, and another woman for the groom. The bride’s father or a chosen person must also be there. The marriage must be according to Sharia law.

Requirements for Non-Muslim Expats Getting Married in Dubai

Non-Muslim Expats marrying can either do so at home country embassies or churches in Dubai. They can then register their marriage at their embassy. This applies to Christian expats.

You need to be at least 18. Have two witnesses with you. Also, bring along documents like a passport, birth certificate, and any needed marriage proof.

Requirements for Court Marriage in Dubai for Foreigners

For a court marriage, you need some key documents. These include your birth certificate, passport, and UAE residency proof. Also, you must have an Emirates ID and a health certificate for the marriage.

Both parties must provide proof of their single, married, or divorced status. This is a straightforward way for foreigners to get married in Dubai.

Expat Marriage Officiators

Islamic Marriages in Dubai

Islamic marriages in Dubai are overseen by Sharia courts or by authorized marriage officers called Mazoons. They are appointed by the Ministry of Justice. The ministry also has an eMarriage service for those wanting to marry in the UAE. If you’re a Muslim expat in Dubai, remember the country’s law. It says a Muslim woman can only marry a man of another faith if he converts to Islam. This rule doesn’t apply to Muslim men marrying non-Muslim women in Dubai.

Non-Muslim Expat Marriages in Dubai

If the couple is non-Muslim and getting married in Dubai, the ceremony can happen in a few ways. They could do it at their home country’s consulate or embassy in the UAE. Or they might choose to have it in a church or temple, following their religious beliefs.

Intercultural Expat Marriages in Dubai

If an expat couple in Dubai comes from different countries, their marriage is more complex. It must be registered with both their home countries’ embassies in the UAE. This includes Muslim couples or if only one is Muslim.

In Muslim and non-Muslim unions, a man from Islam can marry a woman from “People of the Book” faiths. These faiths include Christians and Jews. But, Islamic law in the UAE prevents a Muslim woman from marrying a non-Muslim. The exception is if the man converts to Islam.

If a woman from another non-Muslim faith wants to marry in UAE courts, she must convert to Islam. In Islamic/Sharia weddings, the bride’s hand in marriage is given by her father or closest male relative. If the father is not available, another male relative takes on this role.

For weddings under Islamic/Sharia law, the bride’s father or legal guardian must provide an Affidavit of Consent. Also, a Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR) is needed, obtained no more than 6 months before the ceremony.

Requirement Details
Muslim-Non-Muslim Marriage A Muslim man can marry a non-Muslim woman who belongs to the “People of the Book” (Christians or Jews). A Muslim woman cannot marry a non-Muslim man unless he converts to Islam.
Non-Muslim Bride’s Religion If the bride is a non-Muslim practicing Hinduism, Buddhism, or any other religion, she must convert to Islam to marry in the UAE courts.
Bride’s Guardian The father or closest male relative is responsible for “giving away” the bride in Islamic/Sharia weddings. If the father is deceased, the next closest male relative becomes the bride’s legal guardian.
Affidavit of Consent Obtaining an Affidavit of Consent from the bride’s father or legal guardian is mandatory for Islamic/Sharia weddings in the UAE.
Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR) A CENOMAR must be obtained within 6 months of the wedding ceremony.

Intercultural Expat Marriages

24-Hour Marriage Service in Dubai

Non-Muslim couples can choose the 24-hour marriage service in Dubai. They’ll receive their marriage certificate within a day. But first, they need to meet some requirements.

First, both applicants should not be Muslim. Also, one of them must live in Dubai. They both need to be over 21 years old. Plus, they must prove they are single through an embassy.

Applicants need to come in person or send someone with a power of attorney. Finally, all documents must be legally translated into Arabic. They should do this via an agency approved by the UAE government and get certification from the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Prenuptial Agreements for Expat Marriages in UAE

The world of expat marriage UAE is changing fast, making prenuptial agreements more popular. About 250 prenuptial agreements were done at the Abu Dhabi Civil Family Court in a year. This rise is mainly from ultra-high net worth individuals in the UAE wanting to safeguard their belongings.

The UAE is becoming a top spot for wealthy individuals, with projections of drawing in 4,500 new millionaires each year. This trend has led to more attention on expat prenuptial agreement details. Couples spend two to four weeks for a first draft, and up to three months to finalize their agreement.

The legal side of expat marriage in uae follows the UAE Personal Status Law. This applies to everyone living in the UAE, citizens as well as foreigners, unless they choose to use different law. Article 5 gives local courts the power over cases involving personal status, like marriage and divorce, for those living in the UAE.

When dealing with pre or post-nuptial agreements that include UAE assets, they must follow the rules in Article 5 of the law. There’s not much case law, but a Dubai Court of Cassation Case No. 2 of 2010 points out that postnuptial agreements might not be honored under Islamic Shari’a law if they’re not part of the marriage certificate.

For marriages involving Muslim expats, prenuptial agreements in the UAE are managed by the Personal Status Law. But, if the marriage ends and it’s dealt with outside the UAE, then it falls under the Civil Transactions Law No. 5 of 1985. This setup, as under Article 20, allows for certain conditions in marriage certificates, so long as they don’t go against Islamic Shari’a.

A well-drafted expat prenuptial agreement is key, especially for foreign national wives. It can protect them, giving them rights over properties in case of divorce. With the expat wedding in uae scene changing, knowing prenuptial agreements well is crucial for intercultural marriage uae expats.

Expat Spouse Visa and Residency in UAE

If you’re an expat planning to marry in the UAE, getting a spouse visa is key for legal residency. The steps to sponsor your spouse can differ based on the emirate and your nationalities. In Dubai, one spouse needs a valid UAE residence visa for marriage sponsorship. In other emirates, both must already be UAE residents.

To sponsor a spouse in the UAE, expats have to earn a set amount each month. Men need to make between AED 3,000 and AED 4,000. For women in Abu Dhabi, the required monthly income is AED 10,000 or AED 8,000 plus housing. It takes about 10 to 15 days to complete the sponsorship process once all documents are submitted.

Sponsorship Requirement Cost
Initial application and renewal fees for sponsoring children pursuing education in the UAE or abroad AED 100
Renewal fees for dependent children under student sponsorships AED 100 per year
Entry Permit fee AED 450
Visa Status Change fee AED 661
Medical Tests Approximately AED 310
Emirates ID fee (1 year) AED 255
Emirates ID fee (2 years) AED 366
Cost of health insurance Starting from AED 450 per month
Sponsorship File Opening fee AED 380

Keep in mind, UAE marriage laws often change. For a hassle-free marriage journey in the UAE, expats must keep up with the latest rules and requirements.

Cultural Considerations for Expat Weddings in UAE

Planning an expat marriage in the UAE means understanding its unique cultures. The country’s mix of cultures adds different traditions to weddings. Each background brings its own special wedding customs and beliefs.

Muslim expat couples have a special wedding ceremony called Nikah. It’s a holy event where family and religious leaders are present. This marriage is governed by Sharia law. If the couple is from mixed faiths, special rules apply. The bride’s father or a person representing him should be there, along with two Muslim men to witness the wedding. Before the ceremony, the couple must have a health screening.

For non-Muslim expats, marrying in Dubai’s churches or registering at embassies is an option. This lets them honor their own faiths during the wedding. It makes the wedding very personal and meaningful.

Every expat couple in the UAE, no matter their religion, faces certain legal rules. They need approval to marry, and these rules include the marriage visa and proving they are single. Emirati wedding customs often mean men and women celebrate separately. This allows everyone to fully enjoy their traditions without restrictions.

Dealing with the cultural complexities of expat weddings in the UAE can be challenging but also enriching. By learning about local customs and working with people who know them well, you can have an amazing wedding. It will be a celebration that truly reflects your love and commitment.

expat marriage uae


Starting your marriage journey in the UAE means you need to understand its laws well. The UAE has made recent changes that make marriage easier for non-Muslims. This makes the country a better place for foreigners to tie the knot.

This guide helps you learn about Islamic and civil ceremonies. It also talks about the paperwork for your marriage. Making sure your marriage certificate is properly legalized is key. This lets you enjoy the rights of marriage, both in the UAE and beyond.

The UAE’s wedding traditions are intriguing, but so are the challenges for expat couples. Talking to legal experts who know about UAE family law helps a lot. They can help you with prenuptial agreements to protect you and your partner. This is important in case of unexpected situations.


What are the legal requirements for getting married in the UAE as an expat?

For expats to get married in the UAE, there are some key requirements. The bride must agree to the marriage. At least one person must have a UAE residence visa.

They need a clean bill of health. Also, both should be 18 or older and not closely related.

How can non-Muslim expats get married in Dubai?

Non-Muslim expats can marry and register their marriage at embassies or consulates. Christians can wed in Dubai. They can have a church wedding and then register at their embassy.

What is the 24-hour marriage service in Dubai?

Dubai offers a 24-hour marriage service for non-Muslim couples. They can get a civil wedding license in just one day. To be eligible, both must be non-Muslim, 21 or older, with at least one being a Dubai resident.

What are the requirements for civil marriage in Abu Dhabi?

To marry civilly in Abu Dhabi, you must be 18 or older and give your consent. There’s a form to fill out and some family relation restrictions too.

To start, foreigners submit their paperwork to the Authentication Judge. The marriage contract is issued in two languages. It is then ratified by the Judge.

Can expats marry in Dubai?

Yes, expats can wed in Dubai. They have to make sure their marriage is legally registered, either through the courts or their embassy. This is the case for both Muslim and non-Muslim couples.

What are the requirements for Muslim expats to get married in Dubai?

Muslim expats follow Sharia law to get married in Dubai. The groom and bride need to be at least 18. They should not have a big age gap.

And there are rules about who can be present. For example, the bride’s father or his chosen representative should be there. Two Muslim men must witness the marriage too.

Can a Muslim woman marry a non-Muslim man in the UAE?

The UAE does not allow Muslim women to marry non-Muslim men directly. In Dubai, Muslim men can marry women from other faiths, as long as they follow certain steps, including the woman converting to Islam.

What is the process for intercultural expat marriages in Dubai?

If both partners are non-Muslim and from the same country, they should marry in their embassy or consulate. The ceremony can also take place in a church or temple.

If each partner is from a different country, the marriage needs to be registered with both countries’ embassies in the UAE.

What is the role of prenuptial agreements in expat marriages in the UAE?

Prenuptial agreements are up to the couple when marrying in the UAE. They let couples set their own terms about money, property, and more before their wedding.

How does the expat spouse visa and residency work in the UAE?

After marriage, an expat can apply for a UAE residence visa. They need to present their marriage certificate and other documents. This is how they get a spouse visa in the UAE.