Marriage in Dubai – The First Steps

Dubai, being part of the United Arab Emirates is really as open minded as a Sunni Muslim state can be, when it comes to dating or marriage, considering the strength of Sharia laws which are applied in neighbouring Saudi Arabia. There are though some common rules, which are best to be kept in Dubai, when it comes to dating or marriage.

Let us start with some dating related questions when it comes to unmarried couples visiting or living in Dubai. When an unmarried dating couple visits Dubai, there is generally no problem when it comes to booking double bedrooms at hotels. Dubai hotels, unlike in other Muslim countries, are very rare to ask for marriage certificate, so couples can stay in one room without problem. There are some general rules for dating couples not to kiss in public and basically to limit showing their relation by holding hands at maximum. Dating in Dubai is not hard, when you are an expat, wanting to meet another expat, though an expat man wanting to date with a Muslim woman is the issue taken the most seriously and men are not allowed to get intimate with Muslim women without getting married.

Living in Dubai for dating couples is also relatively easy, as Dubai does not have a specific police to look for those who break the Sunni rules, although by local laws people of different sexes living together without being married or relatives is not allowed. Due to the extreme number of Asians and Africans renting flats together, for the police to search through all these, is such a hard task to do, that they would rather not, unless neighbours call in to give news to them. Please note, in neighbouring Sharjah these police searches are taken much more seriously.

When it comes to marriage, expats, tourists and locals all need to go through a medical testing in order to gain permission to get married. United Arab Emirates takes medical testing extremely seriously ever since the migration of mainly Asian and African cheap workforce has started in high numbers. This is to avoid all sorts of infectious diseases to get into the whole country. Medical tests are done in one of the governmental hospitals of Dubai.

In order to apply for a permission for marriage, couples need to get in touch with their respective embassies ( in case one or both of them are expats or tourists). For locals, they only need to go to the Dubai Court. In case bride is Muslim, she must be accompanied by her father and another two male Muslim witnesses. Here are some other rules that apply to specific nations for marriage in Dubai:

• UK citizens must pay attention to their obligation to post {wedding} banns. This process is expensive, costing 4-500 Dirham.
UK couples have to wait at least 3 weeks in Dubai to get the permission to collect banns and to get married.
• US citizens must be married by a pastor (phone one of the churches to make this arrangement).
• Indian citizens are allowed to get married at their embassy which is located Abu Dhabi.
• If you both come from different nationalities, you need to contact both your respective embassies.
• In case you are an expat or tourist, you will also need to visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice to get their respective permissions and stamps each one costing around 100 DH fee.

Please note, if you would like to make an appointment with a Christian Church in Dubai, its no problem but it will cost around
USD 500 for you. The most popular choice is St. Mary Church in Dubai.

In case your wedding process is in English, you will need to get the English language marriage certificate and translate it into Arabic to give into Court to get the Court’s approval on behalf of the State of UAE to acknowledge your marriage.
This costs around a 100 Dirham.

Altogether, your marriage process in Dubai will cost you around 1000 USD without the ceremony. In order to get more information, contact your embassy and UAE embassy in your respective country, still before travelling to Dubai. Dubai marriage overall is not much more expensive than in other countries, but get prepared to stay at least for a month in Dubai in order to finish with all the marriage procedures.

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