Confused about how to arranging a wedding in the UAE? Well look no further! Emirates Bride have put together an essential guide, complete with embassy contact numbers, what paper work you will need and what fees you will need to pay.
According to Sharia'ah law, marriages 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 be present (see below for documentation required if this is not possible). Also required are two additional male, Muslim witnesses.
Once the ceremony is complete you will receive a UAE marriage licence (for a Dhs50 processing fee). 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, which also involves a varying fee.
- The couple's original passports, 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 can not 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. Fees vary according to nationality.
- For non-UAE citizens, all English documents issued outside the UAE, including birth and death certificates and divorce decrees must be translated into Arabic by a legal translator (see contacts below).
The first step is choosing a church and minister for authentication in the UAE; both must be recognised 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 licence, depending on the minister. Fees or church donations vary and should be discussed with the minister. At least two witnesses are required to attend the ceremony.
Following the marriage ceremony, the minister will provide a marriage certificate in English, which then needs to be translated into Arabic by a court-approved legal translator. Fees for translation vary from Dhs40 to Dhs50 per page (contacts below).
Submit the original English marriage certificate and the Arabic translation (keep copies of both) to the Notary Public Office at the Dubai Courts. They will certify the documents for a Dhs80 fee.
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.
For Indian weddings it is best to contact the embassy in Abu Dhabi or the Dubai Consulate. All the necessary civil forms can be downloaded directly from their websites (www.indembassyuae.org, www.cgidubai.com - consular forms, marriage section). Indian passports with a valid UAE residence visa and copies will be required. The secular Indian government will only recognise and solemnize civil marriages. For a religious ceremony, couples should follow the Muslim or Christian guidelines above. The Church of South India (CSI) parish in Karama can be contacted on (04) 3372111. For Hindu marriages, contact the Hindu Temple in Bur Dubai on (04) 3535334.
Following the engagement a form must be completed notifying the embassy or consulate of the intention to marry for a fee of Dhs190. The couple then has six months from the date of consular signing in which to complete the civil ceremony with an approved marriage registrar.
Following the ceremony the marriage certificate will need to be attested by the consulate, for a fee. This requires the completion of a marriage affidavit form. The names of both spouses must also be endorsed on their passports. If it is necessary to have the marriage recognised in the UAE, the documents mentioned will need to be translated into Arabic and attested by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Ministries in Dubai
- Saint Mary's, Roman Catholic Church (04) 3370087
- Holy Trinity, Anglican Church (04) 8845436
- United Christian Church (04) 3442509
Court-Approved Translators in Dubai
- Al-Diwan (Legal Translation) (04) 2232189
- Eman Translation Services (04) 2247066
- Diamond Legal Translation (04) 2273133
- Dana Translation (04) 3935702
Who Do You Call?
- Dubai Courts, Marriage Section (04) 3347777
- Sharia'ah Court (04) 3030406
- Ministry of Justice (04) 2950004
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs (04) 2958161
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs (02) 6652200
- Ministry of Justice (02) 6814000
Embassies and Consulates
• Australian Embassy, Abu Dhabi (02) 6346100 • Australian Consulate General, Dubai (04) 3212444 • British Embassy, Abu Dhabi (02) 6101100 • British Embassy, Dubai (04) 3094444 • Canadian Embassy, Abu Dhabi (02) 4071300 • Canadian Consulate, Dubai (04) 3145555 • Indian Embassy, Abu Dhabi (02) 4492700 • Indian Consulate General, Dubai (04) 3971222/3971333 • NZ Consulate General, Dubai (04) 3317500 • Philippine Embassy, Abu Dhabi (02) 6345664 • US Embassy, Abu Dhabi (02) 4142200 • US Consulate General, Dubai (04) 3116000 • Italian Embassy, Abu Dhabi (02) 4435622 • Italian Consulate, Dubai (02) 3314167 • French Embassy, Abu Dhabi (02) 4435100 • French Consulate, Dubai (04) 3329040 • German Embassy, Abu Dhabi (02) 6446693 • German Consulate, Dubai (04) 3972333 • South African Embassy, Abu Dhabi (02) 6337565 • South African Consulate, Dubai (04) 3975222.
(Procedures are accurate at date of publication, but may be subject to change)