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Information on the marriage process for foreigners wanting to have their wedding in Dubai. What to expect, where to go and the documents required for the legal process...
Note: Under UAE law unmarried couples may not live together.
Dubai is a growing destination for couples looking for a glamorous location for their wedding and there is no residency requirement for marriage. Couples already living in the emirate can also marry there as long as they meet the legal and religious requirements of Dubai law. Residents will need to show their residency permit when getting married in Dubai.
Only religious (Muslim, Christian or Hindu) weddings are legal in Dubai; civil unions do not exist within Dubai law.
If a couple prefers a non-religious wedding they can ask their embassy to perform this; it will be recognised as a foreign wedding. However, not all embassies perform weddings. Some of those that marry their citizens are Germany, India, Italy, Egypt and Sri Lanka. Those that do not do so include USA, Canada, Australia, Lebanon and Pakistan.
Dubai law regulates marriage according to religious affiliation. Muslim men can marry a Muslim or Christian woman, although she is strongly advised to convert to Islam. The situation is more complicated if a Muslim woman wishes to marry a non-Muslim man. It is likely that this will only be possible if he converts to Islam. Some churches will only agree to marry members of their own denomination; this is a requirement that is separate from Dubai law.
Foreign brides or grooms must also meet the legal requirements for the marriage under their own national law.
A man can be married to up to four wives at the same time but must prove that he can support all of them equally. However, first wives do not have to accept additional wives and this is an acceptable reason for divorce. A woman can be married to only one man at a time.
A marriage performed in Dubai is recognised in most other countries and the couple's embassy(s) can confirm whether this is the case for their country(s).
- Dubai courts website
- UAE official website
- USA consulate in Dubai
- British Embassy
- Canadian Embassy
- Australian Embassy