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Civil Marriage Law for Non-Muslims, Foreigners and Tourists in UAE

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Civil Marriage Law for Non-Muslims, Foreigners and Tourists in UAE

Marriage is a sacred and joyous union, and for non-Muslim expatriates residing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), there is now a pathway to celebrate this bond in the emirate of Abu Dhabi through civil marriages. This significant development reflects the UAE’s commitment to inclusivity and cultural diversity. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the intricacies of civil marriages in Abu Dhabi, shedding light on the regulations, requirements, and processes that govern this special journey.

In a significant stride towards inclusivity and legal reform, Abu Dhabi has introduced a progressive change in its legal landscape with Law No. 14 of 2021 Concerning Personal Status for non-Muslim Foreigners. This landmark law allows non-Muslim residents, tourists, and visitors to enter into a civil marriage within the Emirate, marking a profound shift in the approach to personal status matters. Let’s delve into the essential aspects of this groundbreaking legislation.

Understanding Civil Marriage

A civil marriage is a lawful union between a non-Muslim man and woman, solemnized as a civil contract. What sets it apart is that it operates under secular rules, providing a legal framework distinct from religious marriage traditions. The foundation of civil marriage lies in Articles 4 and 5 of the aforementioned law, which detail the principles governing such unions. Importantly, this legislation facilitates marriage between interfaith couples, promoting harmony and unity.

Who Qualifies Under the New Law?

Under the new law, UAE residents, tourists, and visitors can all apply to enter into a civil marriage, provided they meet specific criteria. To be eligible, applicants must either be non-Muslims or citizens of a non-Muslim country. This inclusivity paves the way for diverse couples to formalize their relationships within the legal framework, regardless of their religious or national backgrounds.

Key Legal Requirements for Civil Marriage

To embark on a civil marriage journey, certain legal requirements must be met:

  1. Age Requirement: Both parties must be of legal age, which is set at 18 years or older.
  2. Consent: A fundamental element is the free consent of both parties, ensuring that the union is willingly entered into.
  3. Declaration of Marital Status: Both individuals should sign a declaration form confirming that they are not currently married to anyone else.

Crucially, civil marriage applicants are not burdened with the need for paternal or guardian approval, nor are they required to provide a premarital screening certificate. This streamlined process simplifies the legal aspects of marriage, making it accessible to a broader spectrum of individuals. They are also no longer required to have any link or valid residency in the UAE.

Benefits of Civil Marriages in Abu Dhabi

  1. Respect for Diversity: This option acknowledges the UAE’s diverse population, respecting the cultural and religious backgrounds of non-Muslim expatriates.
  2. Legal Recognition: Civil marriages are legally recognized in the UAE, providing couples with the same rights and privileges as any other married couple.
  3. Family Rights: Civil marriages allow couples to enjoy the benefits of family life, including inheritance rights and sponsorship of spouses and children.
  4. International Recognition: Civil marriage certificates from Abu Dhabi are generally recognized internationally, facilitating matters like spousal visas and international travel.

The Application Process

The application process for civil marriage in Abu Dhabi is designed to be user-friendly and efficient. Couples can opt to apply online through the Interactive Case Registration (ICR) service on the website of the Judicial Department-Abu Dhabi or visit the Family Court building in Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi for an onsite application. Over 10,000 couples have tied the knot at Abu Dhabi’s civil marriage court since December 21 of 2022, with 40-60 new applications submitted per day, marking a significant milestone in the evolution of marriage practices in the region.

Essential Documents

When applying for a civil marriage, certain documents are mandatory:

  1. A completed and signed marriage application form.
  2. Copies of the passport or Emirates ID for both parties.
  3. Proof of no existing marriage record for both individuals.
  4. A marriage agreement, although optional, can also be included.

Notably, the Emirate has established a non-Muslim Family Court to address and resolve family matters involving non-Muslims, ensuring a specialized approach to such cases.

How Al Kabban & Associates Can Assist You

Navigating the intricacies of civil marriages in Abu Dhabi may seem complex, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Al Kabban & Associates, a leading law firm in the UAE, is here to guide you through every step of the process. Our team of experienced legal professionals is well-versed in UAE Family Law, and we can assist you in preparing the necessary documentation, ensuring compliance with regulations, and facilitating a seamless civil marriage ceremony.

At Al Kabban & Associates, we understand the significance of your special day and are dedicated to providing you with expert legal support to make your civil marriage experience in Abu Dhabi smooth and memorable.


Civil marriages in Abu Dhabi mark a milestone in the UAE’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity. For non-Muslim expatriates, foreigners, tourists and non-residents seeking to formalize their unions, this option offers a legally recognized and culturally respectful path to matrimony. With the guidance of Al Kabban & Associates, your journey toward a civil marriage in Abu Dhabi can be a joyous and hassle-free experience.

For personalized assistance and legal support, contact us at or call us at +971 4 453 9090. Discover why Al Kabban & Associates is your trusted partner for legal matters in the UAE and let us help you embark on your path to marital bliss.

Tags: UAE Civil Marriage for Foreigners, Civil Marriage for Non-Muslims in the UAE, Civil Marriage in Abu Dhabi UAE, UAE Marriage for Tourists


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