Second Marriage in the UAE - Legal Requirements and Conditions

One woman, like many others, was worried:
“My concern is that my husband had a second marriage without getting permission from me and without letting me know when I was in Pakistan.

When I came to Dubai, I found out about it, but before that my husband didn’t give us any expenses and it was difficult for us, but when I came to Dubai, he changed.

Now my husband wants to leave this woman as he doesn’t make as much money, but I don’t know what to do.

This is what many women who are in this situation think!

Should I go to court since my husband wants to get rid of this woman? He doesn’t even have children with her, so should he file for divorce? Or should I sue him for my sons expenses?”

“Your husband’s second marriage is legal and does not require permission from the first wife under UAE law (for Muslims).
You can sue your husband for maintenance of you and your children, that is his obligation to pay your expenses.

If your husband wishes to divorce his second wife, he can divorce in court.
Under all circumstances, you should go to family court.

They will first advise the parties and try to negotiate a settlement, if the case is not settled, the plaintiff can go to court for further proceedings.”

According to the UAE Personal Status Law, marriage is a legal contract between two people (a man and a woman) to protect the rights of married people and their children. This contract requires certain conditions to be met before it becomes valid.

General Conditions of Marriage in the UAE for Expatriates

Listed below are the main general conditions of marriage in the UAE for expatriates (non-UAE nationals):

The paperwork takes approximately 4 weeks to complete

Both parties to the marriage must be at least 18 years old at the time of the marriage.

Two witnesses with a male identity card.

Marriage of Muslim expatriates

Under Shariah (Islamic law), there are conditions and requirements for obtaining a marriage certificate for Muslim expatriates:

  • Both parties to the marriage must be Muslim.
  • If one of the parties is non-Muslim, proof of conversion to Islam must be provided.
  • Having a legal visa to stay in the UAE is mandatory for both the groom and the bride. Only in Dubai, at least one party to the marriage (wife, wife’s guardian or husband) must have a residency visa.
  • The father of the bride. If he is absent, a guardian or lawyer must be present in court with the parties to the marriage.
  • Two male Muslim witnesses.
  • Birth certificates of both parties.
  • Passports and photocopies of the passports of the parties to the marriage.
  • Passports and photocopies of witnesses’ passports.
  • Submission of a pre-marital examination and a blood test from the Ministry of Health.
  • If one or both parties are divorced, proof of divorce and proof of previous marriage or
  • In case one of the parties is a widow or widower, a death certificate of the former spouse.

Marriage of UAE citizens

The prerequisites for marriage between UAE nationals (according to Islamic law) are:

  • Both parties to the marriage are Muslim.
  • If one of the parties is non-Muslim, proof of conversion to Islam must be provided.
  • Marriage must be registered at a UAE Sharia Court.
  • Both parties to the marriage must be over 18 years of Hijri, otherwise the consent of a judge is required.
  • One of the spouses must not be twice the age of the other, otherwise the consent of a judge is required.
  • A certificate of premarital examination is required.
  • The presence of the father of the bride with the spouses and two male Muslim witnesses is required.
  • The presence of the nearest male guardian in the case of the father’s death is mandatory.
  • If one of the parties is a widow or widower, a death certificate of the former spouse is required.
  • If the father of the bride is not a Muslim, a “no objection” letter from the embassy of that country is required.
    There are special bodies responsible for conducting Islamic marriages. Such marriages are conducted through the UAE Sharia Courts or Judicial Departments, as well as by Ma’zuns (marriage ministers who are clergy) in the UAE.

Marriage to Non-Muslim(s) 

The conditions for marrying a non-Muslim in the UAE are as follows:

The parties must schedule the marriage in a church or at their country’s embassy or consulate in the UAE.

Either country may require its citizen to apply for marriage at their country’s embassy or consulate in the UAE and process accordingly.

The marriage must be registered at both parties’ embassies in the UAE.

Marriage laws apply in accordance with the laws of one’s own country.

Both parties must have a resident visa. If one party has a visitor’s visa, she/he must undergo a medical examination in the UAE prior to marriage.

Highlights

  • If the parties to a marriage have different nationalities, there is always the need to refer to the laws of the country of origin or the country’s embassy, as there are different legal conditions necessary for a marriage to be recognized as valid.
  • A marriage contracted in the UAE, in a UAE church or temple, must be registered with the appropriate UAE court. Otherwise it will not be recognized in the UAE or in any other country.
  • A judicial marriage is automatically registered in the UAE.
  • Marriages contracted outside the UAE that are valid are recognized in the UAE on the basis of an official marriage certificate from that country. Although the marriage certificate must be certified by the Alien Affairs Office and the UAE Embassy.
  • The parties to the marriage must obtain a marriage certificate in Arabic. If it is in English, a certificate must be obtained with an Arabic translation from an official translator, which must then be certified by a notary at the Dubai Court.
  • The certificate must then be certified by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) respectively. Next, to authenticate the certificate for validity in your country, you need to visit your country’s embassy and get the MoFA’s certification to confirm its use in your country.
  • A marriage license in the UAE can be issued upon payment of the required fees along with the required documents, although authentication by both the MoFA and MoFA is required.
  • Marriage may be denied on the basis of a certificate of medical examination if one of the applicants for marriage suffers from any transmissible disease or genetically inherited blood disorder.
  • Under UAE law, cohabitation is prohibited for all citizens and residents, regardless of their religion or nationality.
  • Polygamy is permitted under UAE law.

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