According to Sharia’ah law, wedding must be performed in the Marriage Section of Islamic Courts. Both bride and groom must be UAE citizens or hold a valid UAE residence visa.
The groom must be Muslim (the bride can be of any religion).
The dowry should be specified and paid directly to the bride beforehand, otherwise a written declaration stating there is to be no dowry is required. In most Emirates it is mandatory that the father of the bride is present (see below for documentation required if this is not possible). Also required are two additional male, Muslim witnesses.
Once the ceremony is completed you will receive a UAE Marriage Licence. This document then needs to be taken to the Ministry of Justice for authentication.
For non-UAE citizens, you will need further authentication from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Final authentication, for non-UAE citizens, is then required by your embassy or consulate.
The couple’s original passport plus photocopies. Identification papers for the bride’s father (or guardian) and witnesses are also necessary.
If the bride’s father is deceased, a Sharia’ah Declaration of his death must be provided as well as consent of the bride’s brother or an uncle from the father’s side. If there are no male relatives to give consent there must be documentation proving this. If the bride’s father cannot be present, a letter of consent is required. In this case, a certified copy of his passport must also be included to verify his signature.
If the bride is Muslim and her father or guardian non-Muslim, a certificate of no impediment (or no objection) from the bride’s embassy or consulate is required.
If the bride is divorced or widowed, proof will be required.
Non-UAE citizens should check with their embassy as many require letters of no objection from employers and perhaps clearance from the Police Directorate stating the parties do not have any criminal records.
For non-UAE citizens, all English documents issued outside the UAE, including birth and death certificates and divorce decree must be translated into Arabic by a legal translator (i.e. approved by the Court).
The first step is choosing a church and minister for authentication in the UAE; both must be recognized and registered at the Dubai Courts.
Some ministers will only marry members of their own denomination.
The marriage ceremony can take place either in the church if you are a regular member of the congregation or at an alternative venue with a wedding license, depending on the minister.
Fees or church donation vary and should be discussed with the minister. At least two witnesses are required to attend the ceremony.
Following the wedding ceremony, the minister will provide a marriage certificate in English, which then needs to be translated into Arabic by a court-approved legal translator.
Submit the original English marriage certificate and the Arabic translation (keep copies of both) to the Notary Public Office at the Dubai Courts.
Take all documents to the Ministry of Justice for authentication and the Notary public seal. Then take your documents to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for further attestation.
Check with individual embassies as most will require authentication, for a fee, to make the documents and marriage legal in Countries of citizenship.
- Passport originals plus copies and birth certificates, as well as divorce decrees if applicable
- A certificate of no impediment (no objection) is generally required by most embassies – fees vary
- Both parties must complete standard forms provided by the church.
The symbolic wedding does not have specific requirements, either legal or religious. It can be celebrated by any chosen celebrant and is usually performed at the same premise where the reception will take place.
Some couples, especially mixed nationalities-religions, opt for a celebration that encompasses reading their vows or any religious or philosophical reading, performing symbolic rituals, with a background of their preferred music.