How to get hitched
Islamic marriages STEP ONE
The couple intending to marry, together with the bride-to-be’s father or her legal guardian and two other male Muslim witnesses, must be present at the Islamic marriage court for the ceremony to take place. All witnesses must present their passports stating that they are either UAE citizens or valid UAE residence holders. To be married under Sharia’ah law, the groom must be Muslim, while the bride can be of any religion. Before the wedding, a dowry has to be confirmed and paid. If this does not occur, a written declaration must be provided stating that there is no dowry. STEP TWO Following the ceremony a UAE marriage licence will be issued for a Dhs50 fee in addition to a Dhs10 fee for identification purposes. If the marriage is conducted outside of the UAE and you want the agreement to be legalised here, the documentation will need to be taken to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates for ratification. If the certificate is in a language other than Arabic it will need to be translated and ratified by the Ministry of Justice.
Final authentication, for non-UAE citizens, is then required by your embassy or consulate, which will involve a fee.
Original passports and photocopies need to be presented by all involved.
Identification papers are also required for the bride’s father or guardian, as well as the two witnesses.
If the bride’s father is deceased, a Sharia’ah Declaration of his death must be provided. In this case she must have consent from her brother or an uncle. If there are no male relatives to give consent, documentation of proof is necessary. Alternatively if the bride’s father cannot be present, he must provide a letter of consent, along with a certified copy of his passport to verify his signature.
In the case that the bride is Muslim and her father is not, a certificate of no impediment (no objection) is required from either the bride’s embassy or consulate.
Christian marriages STEP ONE
Begin by choosing a church and minister, but note that some ministers will only marry members of their own denomination. Also take into consideration that for your marriage to be authenticated in the UAE the church and minister must be recognised and registered by Dubai Courts. Then you need to decide if you want to marry in the church or at an alternative venue which needs to be supported by a wedding licence. Keep in mind that you will need to have at least two witnesses present.
Once the ceremony has been conducted, the minister will issue a marriage certificate. This will be in English so you will need to have it translated into Arabic by a court-approved legal translator for a specified fee of Dhs40-Dhs50 per page.
Both the English and Arabic certificates then need to be certified by the Notary Public Office at the Dubai Courts for a fee of Dhs110.
The paperwork then needs to be processed and authenticated by the Ministry of Justice for Dhs52. This is followed by verification by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Dhs150.
You can then have your marriage legalised for your country of citizenship by taking the certificates to your embassy, which will process the information.
Original passports plus certified copies need to be provided by both parties.
If either bride or groom is divorced decrees need to be provided.
Generally a ‘no objection’ letter is required from your embassy – fees vary.
The church will provide a standard form, which needs to be completed by both parties.
Indian marriages STEP ONE
Following the engagement, you must organise for three witnesses with residency visas to accompany you to the Indian consulate Marriage Officer. Here you will need to provide a Notice of Intended Marriage form and pay a fee of Dhs190. This entitles you to a newspaper marriage notification whereby the couple must then wait 30 days for any objections. After this a date for solemnisation is given, provided there were no objections.
A day before the confirmed ceremony the couple and their witnesses need to provide original passports to the Marriage Officer. The following day is the final solemnisation of marriage, where everyone invited to the wedding can attend.
If the couple requires a religious ceremony under the Muslim or Christian faith, they should follow the guidelines given above for correct procedures on ceremonies and attesting certificates. Alternatively the Church of South India (CSI) parish in Karama offers services for their members and can be contacted on (04) 3372111. The Hindu Temple in Bur Dubai is available for Hindu ceremonies, phone (04) 3535334.
The Dubai and Abu Dhabi Consulates are the best source for details on the formalities on Indian wedding ceremonies and for all relevant forms, and a structured guideline. Cgidubai.com and Indembassyuae.org.
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