Get Married in Dubai for Filipino and Egyptian

Understanding Marriage Rules for Expats in the UAE

Imagine exchanging vows in the vibrant heart of the Middle East, where ancient tradition meets modern luxury. The United Arab Emirates (UAE), a melting pot of cultures and nationalities, offers a unique backdrop for expatriates looking to tie the knot. With its growing expat population, the UAE has become a popular destination not just for tourism and business, but also for those seeking to celebrate their union. However, getting married in the UAE involves navigating a complex web of legalities, especially when it concerns expatriates from diverse national backgrounds. Whether you share the same passport or hail from different corners of the globe, understanding the marriage rules in the UAE is crucial for planning your big day.

Getting married in Dubai as a Filipino and Egyptian couple involves navigating both local UAE regulations and the specific requirements that pertain to each nationality. Here’s a concise guide to help you understand the process:

Step-by-Step Guide to Marrying in Dubai for Filipino and Egyptian Couples

1. Check Eligibility and Requirements

  • Both parties must ensure they are legally free to marry, which includes being of legal age (18+) and possessing valid residency in the UAE.

2. Gather Necessary Documents

  • Filipino Partner:
    • Valid Philippine passport.
    • Birth certificate.
    • Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR) issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority.
    • If previously married, an annulment decree or death certificate of the former spouse.
  • Egyptian Partner:
    • Valid Egyptian passport.
    • A recent family ID card.
    • A declaration of religious denomination.
    • If previously married, proof of divorce or death certificate of the former spouse.
  • Both partners will also need UAE medical fitness certificates and respective single status certificates from their home countries or local embassies.

3. Visit Respective Embassies

  • Filipino Partner: Visit the Philippine Consulate in Dubai to file a notice of intention to marry and get the marriage license.
  • Egyptian Partner: Visit the Egyptian Consulate in Dubai to complete any required formalities, as they may have specific procedures or additional documentation.

4. Choose the Type of Wedding Ceremony

  • Decide whether to have a civil ceremony at a location licensed by the UAE courts or a religious ceremony at a place of worship that is recognized and has authorization to conduct marriages.

5. Conduct Pre-Marital Screening

  • Both partners need to undergo pre-marital screening tests at an approved health center in Dubai.

6. Register the Marriage

  • For a civil marriage, register your marriage at the Dubai Courts or through the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department if opting for the civil marriage option available there.
  • For a religious ceremony, ensure the officiating body is recognized by the UAE government to record the marriage officially.

7. Obtain Marriage Certificate

  • Following the ceremony, obtain the official marriage certificate. If the ceremony is conducted in Arabic, you may need to get the certificate translated into English or other languages as required.

8. Attestation

  • Have your marriage certificate attested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the UAE for it to be internationally recognized.

9. Inform Home Country Embassies

  • Report your marriage to both the Philippine and Egyptian embassies in the UAE for updates or changes in civil status and to comply with any further legal formalities from your home countries.

General Requirements for Expat Marriages in the UAE

Regardless of nationality, expatriates wishing to get married in the UAE must adhere to certain general requirements:

  • Minimum Age: Both parties must be at least 18 years old.
  • Valid Documentation: Each party needs a valid passport and UAE visa.
  • Proof of Single Status: A no-objection certificate from the home country may be required to prove that both individuals are legally free to marry.
  • Medical Fitness Certificates: These are mandatory to ensure that both parties are free from transmittable diseases.
  • Witnesses: Typically, two witnesses are required to be present at the ceremony.
Marriage Rules for Expats in the UAE
Marriage Rules for Expats in the UAE

Marriage for Expats of the Same Nationality

Expats marrying someone of the same nationality will find that the process might closely resemble that of their home country, but with a local twist:

  • Embassy or Consulate Involvement: Couples should contact their respective embassy or consulate in the UAE, as many nations have their own rules and procedures for marriages abroad. For instance, British expats can have a Christian marriage ceremony conducted at the British Embassy.
  • Additional Documents: The embassy may request additional paperwork, such as birth certificates or proof of residency.

Marriage for Expats of Different Nationalities

When expats from different nationalities decide to marry in the UAE, the process can become more complex:

Sharia Law: If either party is Muslim, the marriage must comply with Sharia law, which may involve proceedings in a Sharia court.

Marriage Under Sharia Law for Muslim Expats in the UAE

For Muslim expatriates in the UAE, marriage procedures are governed by Sharia Law, reflecting the country’s deep-rooted Islamic traditions. Understanding these legalities is crucial for Muslim couples wishing to marry in accordance with their faith while residing in the UAE.

Key Legalities and Requirements

  • Islamic School of Thought: The UAE primarily follows the Hanafi school of Islamic jurisprudence, which may influence certain aspects of the marriage process, such as the conditions for the marriage contract and the responsibilities of each partner. It’s important for couples to be aware of these specifics, as they can affect the rights and obligations recognized under local law.
  • Documentation and Procedures: Couples must register their marriage at a Sharia court to ensure legal recognition. Required documents typically include identification (passports and Emirates IDs), visa status, a pre-marital screening certificate, and proof of divorce or widowhood if applicable.
  • Marriage Guardian (Wali): A Muslim bride must have a marriage guardian, known as a “wali,” who is typically her male guardian (father or another male relative). His presence and consent are essential for the marriage to be recognized under Sharia Law.
  • Witnesses: The marriage must be witnessed by two Muslim males, or one male and two females, who are of sound mind and can attest to the legitimacy of the marriage.
  • Dowry (Mahr): The groom is required to declare a dowry for the bride, which is a mandatory gift to the bride as part of the marriage contract. The amount and terms should be agreed upon before the marriage.

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Marriage for Expats of the Same Nationality
Marriage for Expats of the Same Nationality

Civil Marriage Abu Dhabi Step by Step Guide

Civil marriage in Abu Dhabi provides a legal avenue for expatriates of different nationalities or religions to marry without one partner needing to convert to the other’s religion. This initiative reflects Abu Dhabi’s progressive approach to accommodating its diverse population. Here’s a step-by-step guide to registering a civil marriage in Abu Dhabi:

Step 1: Check Eligibility

  • Parties: Ensure that both parties are non-Muslim expatriates, as civil marriage in Abu Dhabi is primarily designed for non-Muslim residents.
  • Legal Status: Both individuals should hold valid residency visas in the UAE.

Step 2: Gather Required Documents

  • Passports: Copies of valid passports for both parties.
  • Residency Visas: Copies of valid UAE residency visas.
  • Birth Certificates: Original birth certificates of both parties.
  • No Impediment to Marriage Certificates: Also known as a certificate of legal capacity to marry, issued by your home country or the embassy representing your home country in the UAE.
  • Divorce/Death Certificates: If previously married, provide divorce decrees or death certificates to prove single status.
  • Medical Fitness Test: Obtain a medical fitness test from a recognized medical facility in the UAE.

Step 3: Apply for a Marriage License

  • Visit the Judicial Department: Go to the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD) to submit your application. You may also check if part of the process can be initiated online via the ADJD’s official website.
  • Submit Documentation: Provide all the required documents along with the completed application form. Ensure all documents are translated into Arabic by a certified translator and attested as required.

Step 4: Marriage Ceremony

  • Appointment: Once your application is approved, you will be given an appointment for your marriage ceremony.
  • Ceremony: The ceremony will be conducted by a legal official at the designated marriage court or at the ADJD, depending on the arrangement.

Step 5: Obtain Your Marriage Certificate

  • Issuance: Following the ceremony, you will receive a UAE-recognized civil marriage certificate.
  • Attestation: It’s advisable to get your marriage certificate attested at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC) for use both locally and internationally.

Step 6: Register Your Marriage

  • Consular Registration: Depending on your nationality, it might be necessary to register your marriage at your country’s embassy or consulate in the UAE for it to be recognized in your home country.
Civil Marriage Abu Dhabi Step by Step Guide
Civil Marriage Abu Dhabi Step by Step Guide
  • No Interfaith Marriages under Sharia: In cases where one partner is not Muslim, Sharia law in the UAE typically requires the non-Muslim partner to convert to Islam before the marriage. This rule particularly applies if the bride is the non-Muslim party, as Islamic law traditionally stipulates that a Muslim woman can only marry a Muslim man.
  • Registration: Post-wedding, the marriage must be officially registered in a Sharia court to ensure it is legally binding and recognized. This process solidifies the marriage legally and enables the couple to act as a married pair in legal and social settings within the UAE.

Different Nationalities: Embassies and Consulates in the UAE

These embassies and consulates not only provide essential services but can also offer specific advice regarding marriage laws, notarial services, and other pertinent information for their nationals living in the UAE. It’s advisable for expatriates to establish contact with their respective embassies as soon as possible upon their arrival in the UAE or when planning significant life events such as marriage.

United States

  • Embassy in Abu Dhabi
  • Consulate in Dubai

United Kingdom





Additional Considerations

  • Pre-Marital Counseling: Some nationalities or religious groups might require couples to undergo pre-marital counseling.
  • Costs: Be prepared for various fees, from marriage license costs to administrative expenses.
  • Document Translation: If documents are not in Arabic, official translations may be required.
  • Cultural and Legal Advice: Understanding local customs and legal advice is beneficial, especially for mixed-nationality couples navigating the intricacies of UAE marriage laws.

By following these steps and thoroughly preparing, expats can ensure their marriage in the UAE proceeds as smoothly as possible, respecting both local laws and the traditions of their home countries.

Frequently asked questions

FAQ 1: Can expats from different nationalities get married in the UAE?

Answer: Yes, expats from different nationalities can get married in the UAE. They can opt for a civil marriage in Abu Dhabi, which allows couples of different nationalities or faiths to marry without religious conversion. Otherwise, they must follow the legal requirements set by their respective embassies or comply with Sharia law if one of the parties is Muslim.

FAQ 2: What documents are needed for expats to marry in the UAE?

Answer: Typically, expats need to provide valid passports, UAE residency visas, proof of single status (like a no-objection certificate from their home country), pre-marital medical screening certificates, and sometimes birth certificates. The exact documents can vary based on nationality and the specific requirements of their embassies.

FAQ 3: Do both parties need to be residents in the UAE to get married?

Answer: Yes, generally both parties need to have valid UAE residency to get married in the UAE. Tourists may face difficulties in marrying legally without residency, though they should consult their respective embassies for specific advice.

FAQ 4: Is a medical fitness test required for marriage in the UAE?

Answer: Yes, both parties must undergo a pre-marital medical screening test at an approved health center in the UAE. This test is to ensure they are free from communicable diseases and is a mandatory requirement for completing marriage formalities in the UAE.

FAQ 6: What happens after the marriage ceremony in the UAE?

Answer: After the marriage ceremony, the couple needs to get their marriage certificate attested by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC) to ensure it is recognized internationally. Couples are also advised to register their marriage with their home country’s embassy in the UAE.

FAQ 7: Can expats get married in the UAE without a religious ceremony?

Answer: Yes, expats can opt for a civil marriage, especially in Abu Dhabi where civil marriage laws have been established to allow non-religious, legal unions between expats of different nationalities or faiths. This provides an alternative to the religious ceremonies that are common in other parts of the UAE.

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