Civil Marriages in the UAE: A Comprehensive Guide for Non-Muslims in UAE

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January 02, 2024

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Introduction:

The UAE has implemented extensive legal structures for non-Muslim citizens and residents seeking civil marriages. This article summarises the eligibility criteria and procedural requirements specified in Federal Decree-Law No. 41/2022 on Civil Personal Status and Abu Dhabi Law No. 14/2021 on Civil Marriage.

Federal Decree-Law No. 41/2022 On Civil Personal Status:

Article 1 of this decree-law extends eligibility for civil marriages to non-Muslims who are citizens of the UAE and non-Muslim foreigners residing in the country.

Conditions for Civil Marriage as per Article 5:

  • Age: Both parties must have attained a minimum age of 21, verified by official documents from their respective countries.
  • Consent: Marriage requires explicit consent from both parties before the authentication judge. There should be no legal obstacle to the marriage.
  • Declaration Form: Both spouses must sign a disclosure form, acknowledging their consent to the marriage and confirming the absence of legal obstacles.
  • Prohibited Relationships: Marriage is forbidden between certain relatives, and additional conditions may be specified in the Executive Regulations.

Application Process of Civil Marriage:

Article 6 outlines the application process. Eligible spouses can apply for a civil marriage by submitting the prescribed form to the authentication judge at the competent court. The form includes details of prior marital relationships, consent verification, and other essential information. After meeting all conditions, the authentication judge legalises the marriage contract, entering it into the official register.

Abu Dhabi Law No. 14/2021 on Civil Marriage:

According to the Abu Dhabi Civil Marriage Law, the law allows civil marriage for male or female non-Muslim citizens or residents who reside in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Conditions for Civil Marriage as per Article 4:

  • Age: Both parties must have attained a minimum age of 18.
  • Consent: Marriage requires explicit consent from both parties before the authentication judge. There should be no legal obstacle to the marriage.
  • Declaration Form: Both spouses must sign a disclosure form, acknowledging their consent to the marriage and confirming the absence of legal barriers.
  • Prohibited Relationships: Marriage is prohibited between certain relatives, and additional conditions may be specified in the Executive Regulations.
  • The contract is issued in two languages and ratified by the Authentication Judge.

Procedures for Contracting a Civil Marriage under Article 5:

  • Application Submission: Foreigners can apply for a Civil Marriage by submitting a specially prepared Form to the Authentication Judge, and foreigners are not required to submit a pre-marital medical examination certificate.
  • Form Completion and Marriage Conduct: The marriage process begins as both spouses fill in the Form before the Authentication Judge.
  • Agreement: Spouses can agree on contract conditions, considering rights during marriage and post-divorce.
  • Disclosure of Previous Marriages: Spouses must disclose prior marriages in the marriage contract Form. Include the date of divorce and provide proof of no existing marriage relationship.
  • Bilingual Marriage Contract: The Chairman or their representative decides to issue the bilingual Civil Marriage contract.
  • Verification and Ratification: The Authentication Judge verifies the conditions for Civil Marriage. Upon verification, the Judge ratifies the marriage contract. The contract is registered in the Register after approval.

Application Process in Abu Dhabi:

Applicants can apply online through the Interactive Case Registration (ICR) service on the Judicial Department-Abu Dhabi website or visit the Family Court. Required documents include a completed marriage application form, copies of passports or Emirates IDs, proof of no existing marriage records, and an optional marriage agreement.

Application Process in Dubai:

At least one of the parties must be a resident of Dubai. Dubai introduced a civil marriage service for non-Muslim residents of the emirate of Dubai. This service enables couples to obtain a civil wedding license within 24 hours. The entire civil marriage service in Dubai is designed to comply with the provisions outlined in Federal Decree-Law No. 41 of 2022 on Civil Personal Status for Non-Muslims.

Conclusion:

With the progressive legal frameworks for non-Muslims in the UAE, couples can navigate the process of civil marriage efficiently. Understanding the specific requirements outlined in Federal Decree-Law No. 41/2022 and Abu Dhabi Law No. 14/2021 ensures a smooth and legally binding union for couples seeking a civil marriage in the UAE.

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