Legal Requirements for Getting Married in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Allow at least 0-42 days from arrival in the United Arab Emirates to wedding date for processing paperwork (21 day stay is required prior to declaring your Intention to Marry preceded by another 21 days to post Wedding Banns, unless a Certificate of No Impediment has already been obtained in your home country). We recommend giving yourself more time due to preparation, weekends, holidays or unexpected delays.
Necessary legal documents:
- Certified copy of birth certificates and photocopies
- Valid Passports
- Certificate of no Impediment*/Affidavit Declaring that you are free to marry (obtained at your Embassy in the UAE or prior to your trip, from the UAE Embassy in your resident country)
- Divorce or death certificates, if applicable
- UAE Medical Fitness Certificate and blood tests from Ministry of Health affiliated government hospitals and medical clinics (easily obtained in Dubai).
- Philippine Citizens only: you will need a CENOMAR Document.
- For a Muslim wedding only: Valid UAE residence visas (if you are not citizens)
- Some places of worship may require additional documentation. It is recommended to contact the officiant prior to leaving on your trip, if applicable
Legal requirements to get married:
- Ceremony (Civil/Religious)
Religious ceremonies and ceremonies under the Sharia law in the courts are legally recognized weddings performed in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Civil ceremonies are not offered.
It is easiest to get married if the bride and groom are the same religion, Christian, Muslim, etc. In some cases, couples may be able to get married at their respective embassy. It is best to contact your embassy as requirements for Dubai marriages vary.
Most Christian churches will only marry a couple if the bride and groom are both Christian.
UK citizens will need to post wedding banns at the embassy and wait at least 3 weeks to collect these banns.
US citizens are required to be married by a pastor.
Indian citizens may marry at their embassy.
Bride and groom required to go to the Marriage Section of the Dubai Court. If the groom is Muslim and the bride is not, notify the . If the bride is Muslim and the groom is not, the groom must convert to Islam prior to marriage.
- Age and Relation
In general, the bride and groom must be at least 18 years of age. Ages vary according to religion. The couple cannot be related.
Two witnesses over 18 years of age must be present for the ceremony and provide passports and photocopies of passports. For Muslim weddings, these must be two male witnesses, as well as the bride’s father, guardian or his attorney.
Take all paperwork and photocopies to the wedding ceremony. In most cases, you will marry first and register after.
However, you will first need to obtain a Certificate of No Impediment. To save time, you can aquire this from the UAE Embassy before leaving on your trip. If you have not done this, note that after at least one party needs to stay in the UAE for at least 21 days prior to proceeding. Once you have fulfilled residency requirements, take all your paperwork to your Embassy in the UAE. At the Embassy, you will declare your Intention to Marry, swear an oath, and Wedding Banns will be posted for any additional 21 days, pending objections.
Proceeding the wedding ceremony, take your entry in the church registry to the Dubai Courts, the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Finally bring it to your Embassy for authentication.
Important: Note that not all countries legally recognize a marriage conducted in the United Arab Emirates. Please check with your Embassy prior to planning your elopement or destination wedding in the UAE.
- If married in an English speaking church, the English marriage certificate will need to be translated to Arabic by a court approved translator. These two certificates must be submitted to the Notary Public Office at the Dubai Courts. UAE Residence visas may apply.
- For Muslim weddings, the Marriage Section of the Dubai Court will process a marriage license.
- To certify a marriage certificate, issued from the court or church, each step requires authentication in this order; Ministry of Justice, then the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and finally the bride and groom’s respective embassy(s). The embassy will ensure that the marriage is valid in the couple’s home country(s).
*A Certificate of No Impediment, is also known as a Single Status Affidavit, Single Status Statutory Declaration, Certificate of No Record, a Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage, Certificate of Nulla Osta or a Certificate de coutume (plus an MP2A form).
Note: This information can change at any given moment. For up-to-date information, contact your embassy in the country in which you plan to marry.
We invite you to contact us with any new information. Be sure to note, “Update Marriage Requirements in Dubai” in the subject line.