Guides

How to Get Married Online in the United Arab Emirates (Step-by-Step Guide)

June 17, 2024
8 min

In a world where digital transformation is reshaping every aspect of our lives, getting married online is now a viable and convenient option, even in the United Arab Emirates. Whether you're a busy professional, an expat navigating residency requirements, or simply looking for an efficient way to tie the knot, Courtly offers a streamlined online marriage process. This guide provides a detailed, step-by-step walkthrough on how to legally marry online in the UAE, ensuring that your marriage is recognized without the need to physically visit government offices or religious institutions.

dubai skyline nighttime

The Legality of Online Marriages in the UAE

Before the global pandemic, many countries had stringent regulations mandating that both the couple and the officiant be physically present for a marriage to be legally valid. Additionally, couples were required to visit the county clerk's office in person to obtain a marriage license.

In 2019, however, Utah County transformed this procedure by launching a completely digital marriage license application system. This innovation removed the necessity for physical visits, greatly enhancing the efficiency of the process. Utah's online marriage system stands out for its inclusiveness, making it accessible to people from anywhere in the world.

The UAE government actually facilitates online marriages if they comply with Sharia law requirements, which include obtaining mutual consent, having witnesses, and meeting other legal criteria. This process allows couples to marry without being physically present, thus simplifying the procedure significantly. The UAE's online marriage system is specifically for residents and is governed by local laws, making it distinct from international platforms like Courtly.

Courtly, on the other hand, offers a different service tailored for global users. It facilitates the entire marriage process online, enabling couples to obtain a valid U.S. marriage certificate, which can be received within 24 hours. Courtly's process involves creating an account, selecting ceremony preferences, and completing payment, culminating in an online ceremony attended virtually. Unlike the UAE's system, which is tied to Sharia law, Courtly provides a secular, streamlined approach for couples worldwide.

Traditional Marriage Process in UAE

In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), marriages encompass both civil and religious ceremonies, reflecting the diverse cultural and religious landscape of the country.

Civil Marriage

Participants: Civil marriages are open to UAE citizens, visitors, and tourists, mainly conducted by state-authorized registrars in family courts.

Requirements:

  1. Both parties must consent to the marriage freely
  2. The minimum age requirement is 18 years for both individuals
  3. Underage marriage requires court approval and parental consent
  4. Both parties must declare their single status

Documentation:

  1. Valid identification documents (passport or Emirates ID)
  2. A completed marriage application form
  3. Single-status paperwork
  4. Optional marriage agreement

Interfaith Ceremonies: Civil marriages allow interfaith ceremonies

Religious and Traditional Marriage

Religious Marriages: Predominantly practiced by Muslims in mosques and Christians in churches, following respective religious customs.

Traditional Ceremonies: Often follow religious rites, involving customs such as Tolbe, Katb Al-kitaab, Maher, Zaffe, Henna, and Barmet Al-aroos.

Islamic Marriage (Sharia Marriage): Governed by Sharia law, allowing Muslim men to marry non-Muslim women with proof of conversion, but not vice versa.

Requirements:

  1. Both parties must be at least 18 years old
  2. Premarital screening certificates
  3. Registration of marriage contract in a Sharia court
  4. Prohibition of significant age disparity between spouses
  5. The physical presence of both parties during the ceremony
  6. Parental or guardian consent for the bride
  7. Presence of witnesses and relevant documentation, including divorce or death certificates from previous marriages
  8. Medical screening for transferable diseases

Marriage of Non-Muslims: Can be conducted in their respective places of worship or embassies/consulates.

Polygamy: Legal for men, with limitations on the treatment of multiple wives.

Same-Sex Marriage: Illegal under Sharia and civil law, with severe penalties.

Laws, Rights, Costs, and Duties

Legal Requirements: Strict conditions for marriage include age, consent, religion, and registration in Sharia courts.

Rights: Both spouses have mutual rights and duties, with emphasis on women's rights and financial independence.

Costs: UAE weddings are lavish and expensive, with an average cost of around $82,000.

Duties: Couples are responsible for providing and protecting the family, respecting each other, and ensuring a proper upbringing for children.

Marriage in the UAE for Foreigners

Foreigners, including tourists and expatriates, can legally marry in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), including Dubai. Here's a breakdown of the marriage requirements for different categories of expats.

Pre-Marital Requirements

  1. Consent: The bride's approval is necessary.
  2. Identification:
    • Emirates identification cards for the couple
    • Passport copies
    • Visa copies for both the bride and groom
  3. Residency Visa: At least one individual must hold a valid UAE residency visa in the marriage contract.
  4. Pre-Marital Health Screening Certificate: Both the bride and groom must obtain this from DHA primary healthcare centers.

Marriage Requirements for Muslim Expats

  1. Adherence to Sharia: Sharia teachings and rules must be followed.
  2. Conditions:
    • Both the bride and groom must be Muslims
    • If the bride is a non-Muslim, special conditions apply
    • The minimum age requirement of 18 years for both parties
    • Constraints on significant age disparities between spouses

Marriage Requirements for Non-Muslim Expats in Dubai

  1. Age Requirement: Both the bride and groom must be at least 18 years old.
  2. Witnesses: Two witnesses are required for the ceremony.
  3. Documentation: Marriage can be recorded at the couple's home countries' embassies or consulates.

Marriage Requirements for Tourists in UAE (on Visit Visa)

  1. Residence Visa: A valid residence visa is necessary for marriage.
  2. Specific Cases:
    • If the bride is on a visit visa, additional documentation may be required.
    • A "no objection" letter from the embassy or consulate is necessary for Muslim brides with non-Muslim fathers or legal guardians.
    • If the bride is a Christian or Jew, specific protocols apply, including accompanying a legal guardian or appointing a judge as a guardian.

Other Essential Requirements

  1. Final Checks: Couples may need to fulfill additional requirements specified by their countries of origin, such as a marriage license or evidence of social standing.
  2. Witnesses: Original passport copies of the couple and the bride's guardian, along with IDs of two witnesses, are required.

While marrying in Dubai on a visit visa is feasible, the process may involve additional paperwork. Consulting legal experts, especially for couples with one partner lacking a residence visa, is advisable to navigate regulations effectively.

Courtly: Simplifying the Online Marriage Process in the UAE

Courtly offers an alternative to the UAE's own online marriage system, providing a streamlined process for obtaining a legal U.S. marriage certificate. Unlike the UAE system, which is specific to residents and governed by Sharia law, Courtly's service is conducted by authorized officiants in the U.S. and is accessible globally to non-US citizens.

To optimize your experience with Courtly's streamlined online marriage process, effective communication is paramount. Engage in a transparent dialogue with Courtly representatives, addressing your specific requirements, documentation, timelines, and legal inquiries. This collaborative approach ensures tailored services and minimizes unforeseen challenges.

Courtly handles the legal facets of marriage and facilitates the virtual ceremony. Their connections with authorized officiants in Utah ensure that the marriage is legally recognized under U.S. law. Coordination with Courtly aids in scheduling the ceremony's date and time, ensuring a smooth process. Adhering to these suggestions enhances the likelihood of a successful online marriage journey with Courtly.

Step-by-Step Guide for Getting Married Online in the UAE with Courtly

Through Courtly, couples can complete the entire marriage process online, regardless of their whereabouts. Acquiring a valid U.S. marriage certificate becomes swift and effortless, often accomplished within 48 hours, with minimal documentation required.

Here's a step-by-step guide to utilizing Courtly:

1. Create an account.

To register with Courtly, click on the "Get Married" icon in the top right corner and follow the provided instructions. Once your account is set up, you'll gain access to the platform.

2. Choose the ceremony format, location, and officiant.

Select your preferred ceremony style and venue. Based on your chosen time and date, Courtly will match you with a legally qualified U.S. officiant.

3. Complete your payment.

Complete the payment for your selected wedding package and await confirmation via email from Courtly. Once confirmed, your wedding plans are set in motion! For detailed information on available wedding packages and additional options, refer to our Pricing Page.

4. Celebrate your marriage virtually with loved ones.

couple getting married remotely with a licensed officiant via zoom

Finally, exchange vows online from the comfort of your own space (or any location with reliable internet access!). The ceremony typically lasts around 15 minutes.

Following the online wedding, you'll promptly receive a digital copy of your U.S. marriage certificate, with a printed version delivered within 1 to 2 weeks. Additionally, you can download your digital marriage license shortly after the ceremony.

Registration of online marriages in UAE

In UAE, marriages conducted through churches, temples, or courts, whether domestically or overseas, are presumed legal. However, certain conditions must be met for local authorities to recognize them:

  1. Recognition in Country of Marriage: The marriage must be legally recognized in the country where it occurred.
  2. Compliance with Marriage Processes: Parties must adhere to all procedures required for marriage, including giving notice and having the necessary witnesses.
  3. Termination of Previous Marriages: Any prior marriages must be properly terminated according to UAE legislation.
  4. Capacity to Marry: Each party must have the legal capacity to marry, including consent, mental capacity, and meeting the age requirements.

To register a UAE or overseas marriage with the UAE Sharia court, certain documents are required:

  1. Report of Marriage
  2. Marriage certificate
  3. Passports and birth certificates of the bride and groom
  4. Receipt of payment for the Report of Marriage
  5. Additional documents for special cases such as previous marriages, divorce decrees, or death certificates of spouses

Marriages can be declared invalid due to factors like medical examination discrepancies, misrepresentation, improper identification, age, or absence of one of the spouses during the ceremony.

Authentication of online marriage certificates destined for the UAE

When preparing documents for international use, ensuring their validity is essential. There are two main methods for this: obtaining an apostille or undergoing embassy or consulate authentication. Currently, the UAE only accepts consular authentications.

The 1961 Hague Convention established a standardized process for document confirmation, making apostille certificates recognized among participating countries. However, for countries that don't recognize apostille stamps, documents must undergo embassy or consulate authentication to validate stamps, signatures, and seals.

Courtly offers authentication certificates for marriage certificates in the UAE, enhancing their legitimacy locally. It's important to stay informed about the criteria and processes for obtaining apostille certification in your jurisdiction and consult with Courtly or relevant authorities for accurate information.

Immigration Recognition of Online Marriages

The treatment of online marriages by immigration officials varies widely, making it important to understand these differences. Marriages conducted through platforms like Courtly result in a valid US marriage certificate from Utah County, which is generally recognized by US immigration officials if it complies with federal and state laws. For more details, see our article on the acceptance of online marriages by US immigration officials.

Outside the US, the recognition of online marriage certificates can be inconsistent. While many countries accept legally performed marriages from other countries, some immigration officials may view online marriages as less authentic. Establishing the authenticity of your relationship is crucial for any spouse visa application.

The acceptance of virtual weddings by international immigration authorities can change and is often dependent on specific jurisdictions and circumstances. Because of the complexities and differences in immigration laws, we strongly advise consulting an immigration attorney for precise and up-to-date guidance tailored to your situation. This will help you understand the legal status of your online marriage and any additional documentation needed for recognition.

Courtly provides a convenient marriage option, but we cannot offer legal advice on immigration matters. Always seek advice from legal professionals or relevant authorities in your area for the most accurate information.

Conclusion

This guide has provided you with the necessary information to navigate online marriage procedures in UAE with Courtly. We've discussed the legality of online marriages, compared them to traditional ceremonies, and explained the registration and apostille procedures. By emphasizing clear communication with Courtly and organizing your legal ceremony, you can ensure a seamless experience. Ultimately, Courtly streamlines the process of online marriage in UAE, enabling couples to embark on their new life together with assurance and convenience.

Let us handle the paperwork.

Getting married is complicated. Courtly simplifies the process and provides everything necessary to get married online, including providing a licensed officiant who can perform a remote ceremony.

Get Married