If you are planning on getting married in the UAE, be sure to firm up the paperwork first; lest you end up running around in circles leaving you a bundle of nerves when the big day arrives.
Like every other formality, getting married in UAE has its own set process. Depending on your nationality, citizenship and residency status, planning your dream wedding in UAE could range from the straightforward and simple to time-consuming. In all cases, specific conditions must be followed, and documents must be attested and approved by several parties.
If you’re spending most of your time picking out the perfect wedding dress and worrying about the venue, it may be time to stop and first give a thought to the paperwork you need to complete to make your big day a reality.
So, what does it take to get legally married in the UAE?Let’s get to the basics.
Your guardians are your angels
As per UAE Law, it’s mandatory that both the groom’s and the bride’s guardians (father’s presence is essential unless voided by a legally appointed proxy) along with two Muslim male witnesses. If the bride’s father is deceased, the death certificate should be submitted and her next of kin should appear for the wedding ( i.e. her brother, nephew, uncle or cousin); or his appointed proxy with a power of attorney.
You can’t do this without a medical screening
Couples who are planning to get married in the UAE are required to undergo pre-marital screening and counseling.This entitles them to a medical certificate, which is valid for three months, and which needs to be submitted to the court.The programme aims to screen for the most prevalent infectious diseases and genetic disorders and inform couples about their health, the risks of transmission of infectious diseases and congenital anomalies to their children.
Your religion matters
According to the law, the husband must be a Muslim, but the wife can either be a Muslim, Christian or Jew, in order to be able to marry at a Sharia court.
What if the bride doesn’t hold a residence permit?
As per UAE law, it’s mandatory that the couple have valid residence visas. However, if the wife is entering the UAE on a visit visa with her legal guardian, the residence visa of the husband will be enough to complete the marriage process.In this case, the applicants should present the medical report of the bride, and which can be obtained from a government clinic or hospital.
What if the bride is a divorcee?
If the bride is divorced or a widow, a proof of her status must be submitted to the court.However, if her divorce is pronounced by a court judgment, a statement that the judgment is not subject to an appeal, must be submitted.Divorce judgment issued by a court in the UAE should be sealed with an executory note.
What if the groom doesn’t hold a residence permit?
If the groom is on a visit visa, residency papers of the wife’s legal guardian (father, stepfather, mother or brother) are required for his medicals.
So what happens if the bride is a Muslim; while her legal guardian is not?
If the wife is Muslim and her legal guardian is a non-Muslim, a letter from her Consulate confirming a no objection to the marriage must be attached.This must be ratified by the Foreign Ministry, with its legal translation into the Arabic language. The translation must be certified by the Ministry of Justice.
What if the bride is a Christian?
If the bride is a Christian residing in UAE, the attendance of her legal guardian, or the guardian’s deputy, is required.If there is no legal guardian, the judge can act as the legal guardian.Two Muslim witnesses should also be in attendance. (If the wife is a Christian or a Jew, the court will accept two witnesses from her religion.)
The couple is required to check the conditions set down by their countries such as the authorization of marriage, proof of social status and all other documents. The application fee is Dh60. The couple needs to present their original passports or copies, and also the passport of the legal guardian and proof of the identity of the two witnesses.
What if both the bride and groom are Non-Muslims?
Christians can marry at any of the churches in the UAE. But they can only register their marriage in their home country.People of other religions such as Buddhists, Hindus, Sikh or Bahai can get married at their embassies or consulates.
How does a proxy power of attorney work?
Power of attorney or documents issued from a country outside the UAE must be ratified by the following:
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the country of contract origin
- UAE embassy in the country of contract origin
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the UAE
- The documents shall be in Arabic.All other language articles must be legally translated into Arabic and attested by the UAE Ministry of Justice.
- Documents issued from a consulate or an embassy in UAE must be ratified by Ministry of Foreign Affairs and translated into Arabic by a legal translator
Steps to be taken when you are ready
- Go to the Sharia court and give verbal information to the certification department at the court and then submit the papers.
- Pay the required fees.
- Appear at the court with the witnesses in front of the judge for examination of the application.
- If the papers are issued abroad, they must be approved by the Foreign Ministry in UAE.
- If the papers are drafted in a language other than Arabic, a translation endorsed by the Ministry of Justice is required.