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Current laws in the UAE do allow for non-residents (tourists) to get married legally while on vacation, as well as UAE residents. It is important to note that as a residing couple under UAE’s law, you must be legally married in order to live together or have children.

In the UAE, Islamic marriages are conducted according to the Sharia law, which apply in the below points, regardless of nationality:

  • Where both the groom and the bride are Muslims.
  • Where the groom is Muslim and the bride is from 'Ahl Al-Kitaab'; i.e. Christian.

Please note: The law permits a Muslim man to marry a non-Muslim woman, however, it does not allow a Muslim woman to marry a non-Muslim man without proof of his conversion to Islam.

  • Marriage contract needs to be registered in a Sharia court in the UAE.
  • The legal age for marriage is 18 years; otherwise a judge's approval is required.
  • A spouse's age should not be twice the other; otherwise a judge's approval should be sought.
  • A premarital screening certificate is needed.
  • Attendance of the couple is required.
  • Attendance of the bride's father or his proxy and two male Muslim witnesses are required.
  • For a woman to get married, she needs the consent of her guardian (father).
  • In case of father's death, the presence of the next closest male guardian, i.e. closest kin such as elder brother is required.
  • Divorced and widowed women must produce a proof of the status.
  • If the bride is Muslim and her father is not, she needs a 'No Objection' letter from her embassy or consulate.

For more information and downloadable documents please click here for the UAE Official Government Portal

Non-Muslims can conclude marriage formalities at:

  • Their Embassy or Consulate of their country in the UAE [HS Celebrants is aware of the following Embassies performing legal marriage services
    • Philippine Embassy
    • Italian Embassy
    • Egyptian Embassy
  • At a temple or a church as per their religion.

Note: You must have the ceremony inside the church grounds - the legal part must take place here if you want a certified marriage certificate. Also please check with your Church as many have specific requirements regarding marriage counseling or a marriage preparation course (which in most cases is mandatory).

Info from the Jebel Ali Christ Church

The Church does marry non-residents legally. They require that the couple complete their application form with passport and baptism copies. The couple will also have to attend a Marriage Course at their local church and require a letter from their Priest or Pastor confirming their attendance, as well as what topics they covered in the Marriage Course. If the couple are residents, they would have had to attend a compulsory Marriage Seminar with the Reverend. Therefore, if they do not attend in Marriage Course, the Reverend will not marry them.

The Church also requires a Certificate of No-Impediment to Marry (CNIM), stating that they are single and free to marry. These can be obtained at their local government registry.

Once the couple are in the country, they will need to meet with the Reverend before they wed to go through the Order of Service etc.

The Church's fee includes getting the certificates attested and stamped at the Dubai Courts and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They only conduct weddings on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Weddings on a Friday will incur an additional fee.

Please note: They only accept cash and payments need to be done at the church office.

Office timings - Sunday to Thursday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Please ask for: Jayna Kusada | Weddings Secretary

Info from St. Mary’s Church

This Church has a long notice period - inform the Parish Priest at least THREE MONTHS prior to the marriage.

They require the following documentation:

  • Certificate of Baptism (Can.1055)
  • Certificate of Confirmation (Can.1065)
  • Certificate of "Freedom to Marry" from the Priest of the Parish where Baptised
  • Marriage Preparation Course certificate

Couples who wish to get married at St. Mary's Catholic Church, Dubai may refer to the following additional guidelines:

  • Valid passport copy with valid visa page
  • Two passport size photographs
  • Letter of No-Impediment to Marry from the respective Consulate / Embassy

Note: All listed certificates are to be submitted in their original form and be no older than six months. An appointment must be booked for a meeting with the Parish Priest.

Here are some other helpful links: o You need to have your baptism certificates, both churches insist on this http://dubai.ae/en/Lists/Articles/DispForm.aspx?ID=23&category=Citizens

  • At least one of the parties to be married must have a valid Residence Permit issued in Abu Dhabi only. (Not any other Emirate).
  • Those who have been married and divorced more than once, cannot be married at St Andrew’s Church.

Documents needed for each partner are:

  • The sight of both original Passports.
  • Photocopy of picture page and residence permit / visa.
  • Written evidence that each is single and free to marry – this may be as follows:
  • If not previously married, a letter or affidavit from your Embassy. In case your country does not have an embassy here, a Statutory Declaration witnessed by a solicitor in Abu Dhabi is required. A proforma and suggested solicitor are available from the office.

Note: For Filipinos a Letter of Legal Capacity to Marry is issued at the Philippines Embassy. For Chinese, Germans, South Africans it is necessary to get this document from their Country of origin. Other nationalities should get a Statutory Declaration from their respective embassy.

  • If previously married, then copy of the Divorce Certificate (not by Sharia Law) or Death Certificate of deceased spouse must be provided. Please note: All documents and fees must be submitted to the office at least ONE WEEK before scheduled date of marriage.

We have many couples that either do a private ceremony at the Church, courthouse, or an Embassy a few days prior, and then we conduct another ceremony at the couples desired location anywhere in the UAE! Which is usually in one of the hotel grounds where the reception event is planned.

For the church ceremony, you will need to gather the following documents (listed above), complete a certified marriage preparation course from a Church in your home country and bring along the necessary documentation as evidence to the Reverend in Dubai.

Note: You need to have your baptism certificates, both churches insist on this! http://dubai.ae/en/Lists/Articles/DispForm.aspx?ID=23&category=Citizens

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