In 2021, in accordance with Abu Dhabi Law No. 14 of 2021 Regarding Civil Marriage and Its Effects (as amended), the Abu Dhabi Civil Marriage Service was established.
A civil marriage is a lawful union of a man and woman, solemnized as a civil contract. It a regulated by Article 4 and 5 of the Law and is based on secular rules. Couples are not required to have a pre-marital screening test and do not need permission of the wife’s father or guardian.
Who can get married in the Abu Dhabi Civil Family Court?
It is possible for anyone to get married, regardless of nationality or religion. The only exemption is a UAE national who is Muslim. It is also important to note that tourists can get married at the Abu Dhabi Civil Family Court.
What are the requirements to get married at the Abu Dhabi Civil Family Court?
both parties must not be a UAE National who is a Muslim
both parties must consent to the marriage taking place
both parties must be at least 18 years of age
the parties must not be related by first or second degree
The parties must not be married to anybody else.
How can you submit an application for a civil marriage?
through one of the ADJD typing centres’ based in Abu Dhabi.
What are the required documents?
a completed and signed marriage application form
a copy of both parties’ passport or Emirates ID (if UAE resident)
if one of the parties were previously marriage, proof that this marriage is now dissolved
pre-nuptial agreement (optional)
What is the difference between the regular and express marriage service?
The regular service is AED 300 and applications will be dealt with within 10 working days. The couple will then be allocated a date and time for the marriage ceremony based on the next availability of the court.
In contrast, the express service costs AED 2,500 and the application will be fast tracked and processed within 1 working day. The couple can then choose the specific time and date for the marriage ceremony in line with the Court’s opening hours. This is the most suitable option for couples who want to get married quickly or on a specific date.
What happens at the marriage ceremony?
The court will confirm the marriage ceremony date and time by email.
On the scheduled date, the couple should attend the ADJD main court building through Gate 5 and present the ceremony confirmation to the security at the entrance. They should then make their way to the Abu Dhabi Civil Marriage Section. The couple will then be asked to provide a physical copy of their ID document (either Emirates ID or Passport) and will need to check that the details on the draft marriage certificate are correct. They will then be taken to the ceremony room.
During the ceremony, a marriage notary will be present and the vows will be read to the couples in a pre-recorded voiceover, which is available in 7 different languages. If the couple require a language other than English, they should inform the Court in advance of the ceremony so the relevant arrangements can be made.
The couples can bring as many guests with them as they like, although witnesses are not required as the notary public officer acts as a witness to the ceremony. The couples can also bring a photographer and videographer if they wish to record their special day and can choose to exchange rings and their own vows.
At the end of the ceremony, both parties will be required to sign the marriage certificate.
What action should be taken after the marriage certificate has been issued?
There is no further action to take once the marriage certificate has been issued. However, most couples choose to get the certificate attested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. For more information, please visit the website of Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
To find out more information about the Abu Dhabi Civil Marriage Service, you can send an email to email@example.com or visit the Judicial Department website.
At least one of the parties must be a resident of Dubai
The age of the couple must be at least 21 years old
The couple or their legally authorised representatives must appear in person
Original IDs are required to prove their identity details
Proof of being single must be provided.
The documents must be submitted as soft copies in PDF format.
For documents in a language other than Arabic, certified Arabic translations, stamped by Ministry of Justice in the UAE are required.
Documents issued from outside the UAE, must also be duly certified by Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the country concerned, the UAE embassy in that country, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the UAE.
In the UAE, premarital examination is a requirement for Emirati and resident couples to get married. The aim of the screening is to safeguard their health by ensuring that no potential infections will be transmitted between them.
Note: Applicants for a civil marriage are not required to have a premarital screening.
The screening includes tests for infectious diseases, such as HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), Hepatitis B & C, syphilis and genetic diseases such as Beta-thalassemia, sickle cell anaemia and other hemoglobinopathies. It also checks for German Measles (Rubella) and blood grouping, as per Department of Health, Abu Dhabi.
You can apply online to get the service and obtain the marriage fitness certificate through the UAE government’s health facilities mentioned in the following links:
Documents required and service fees are mentioned in the service card.
Marriage grant - Encouraging Emiratis to marry Emiratis
The UAE Government aims to build and maintain a stable and consolidated Emirati family and to fortify the Emirati social and demographic structure, by encouraging Emirati men to marry Emirati women.
In this regard, the UAE established Marriage Fund under Federal Law No. 47 of 1992, complementing and integrating with the social policy set up by late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Founding President of the UAE.
In 2016, the entity Marriage Fund was dissolved and its scope was brought under Ministry of Community Development (MoCD). The role of Marriage Fund is with the Marriage Grant Department of MoCD.
The Marriage Grant Department in Ministry of Community Development receives marriage grant applications from UAE citizens and offers the grants to deserving Emiratis according to its set criteria.
Dubai Municipality launched the Bunyan card under the theme ‘We build happiness for a better life’ for UAE citizens aged 18 years and above. The card provides citizens with discounts and offers on furniture to meet their needs of building materials and home furnishings at reduced price, thus providing them with good financial savings.
A citizen can get the Bunyan card from Dubai Municipality centres at Al Tawar, Al Kafaf and Hatta.
Islamic marriage (Sharia marriage)
All nationals and expatriate residents can conclude their marriages in the UAE. In the UAE, Islamic marriages are conducted according to the Sharia provisions, which apply in the following cases, regardless of nationality:
where both the groom and the bride are Muslims
where the groom is Muslim and the bride is from 'Ahl Al-Kitaab'; such as Christian.
While the law permits a Muslim man to marry a non-Muslim woman, it does not allow a Muslim woman to marry a non-Muslim man without proof of his conversion to Islam.
Polygamy is allowed as per the UAE's law. A Muslim male may have four wives, provided he offers equal sustenance and equal treatment to all.
Key legal requirements for Muslim marriages
Here are the key legal requirements for Muslim marriages:
Marriage contract needs to be registered in a Sharia court in the UAE.
Legal age for marriage is 18 Hijri years; otherwise, the judge's approval is required.
A spouse's age should not be twice the other; otherwise, the judge's approval is sought.
A premarital screening certificate is needed.
Attendance of the couple is required.
Attendance of the bride's father or his proxy and two male Muslim witnesses are required.
For a woman to get married, she needs the consent of her guardian.
In case of father's death, the presence of the next closest male guardian i.e. closest kin such as elder brother is required.
Divorced and widowed women must produce a proof of the status.
If the bride is Muslim and her father is not, she needs a 'No Objection' letter from her embassy or consulate.
Marital screening test must be done through one of the medical centres of the:
Based on the medical screening certificate, application for marriage may be denied if one of the parties suffers from a:
genetically inherited blood disease
Entities responsible for concluding Islamic marriages
Islamic marriages are conducted by UAE Judicial departments and Sharia courts or through the services of authorised marriage officers (Mazoons) in each emirate.
Maximum dowry (Mahr) in the marriage contracts
According to Federal Law No. 21 of 1997 on Fixing the Dowry in the Contract of Marriage and Its Expenses, the advance dowry in Islamic marriage may not exceed AED 20,000 and the deferred dowry may not exceed AED 30,000.
Ministry of Justice has launched eMarriage service that lets couples wishing to get married to book an appointment with a marriage officer through an online updated database linked to the ID card system.
Both, the Judicial Department in Abu Dhabi and Dubai Courts facilitate online marriage applications and the services of marriage officers.
AED 50, 000 is the maximum dowry limit for UAE nationals. AED 20,000 is paid in advance.
National males who are members of Armed Forces or employees of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Police and wish to marry expatriates should first obtain a special permission from their employers.
Ajman nationals must obtain the approval of the Sharia Court of Ajman, if marrying a woman other than from GCC countries.
For Emirati women marrying expatriate men
When an Emirati woman wishes to marry an expatriate man, she should obtain:
consent from her parents/guardian
permit from her employer if she is working in the Armed Forces.
Note that the nationality of the Emirati woman should not have been obtained by dependency.
In addition, the prospective groom
must not be stateless
must be a legitimate resident of the UAE
must obtain a certificate of good conduct issued from the UAE.
For GCC nationals and citizens of other Islamic countries
Citizens of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain wishing to marry a person of nationality other than theirs must obtain the approval of their respective countries.
A Yemeni woman wishing to marry a man of different nationality must obtain consent from her country.
Marriage of non-Muslims in the UAE
Non-Muslims can conclude marriage formalities at:
the embassy or consulate of their country in the UAE
or at a temple or a church as per their religion.
Some countries require their citizens to file an application of intention to marry at their embassy or consulate in the UAE. You are advised to check with your embassy and proceed accordingly. The marriage must also be registered in the embassies of both partners in the UAE.