Interfaith Marriages in UAE

UAE is well known worldwide for embracing different cultures from across the world. People of all ethnicities and religions live in harmony and aid in the development of a thriving cosmopolitan culture. The UAE’s government is tolerant and charitable toward all religions.

Non-Muslim marriages are recognized in Dubai if performed in temples, churches, and gurdwaras (Sikh) and have received the approval of the Community Development Authority of Dubai. Non-Muslim interfaith marriages are usually performed in the relevant embassy or consulate of the couple.

Sharia lawyers permit marriage between people of various religions. Emiratis can marry foreigners (Muslims) or Emiratis living abroad. However, there are some conditions based on gender.

What are interfaith marriages?

Interfaith marriages are also known as ‘mixed marriage.’ Marriage between people of different faiths and religions is called interfaith or inter-religion marriage. Most interfaith marriages take the civil route and are conducted in marriage courts or relevant offices in the respective embassies of the bride or bridegroom. Occasionally, marriage may be recognized as a religious union.

Are interfaith marriages permitted in Dubai?

Interfaith marriages are registered in Dubai more often than you can imagine. UAE courts allow interfaith marriages to get registered, even if you are not a Muslim. However, the rules and processes may vary. It is essential that you understand how to register an interfaith marriage in Dubai to gain legal validation.

Expats get married in the UAE; some have an interfaith union (between expats from different faith), while others prefer to marry according to the traditions and rituals of their particular religion. The UAE marriage law does not object to both types of marriages and provides equal respect. However, the bride and groom’s nationality and religion determine the process for registering a marriage in the UAE.

Marriages for non-Muslims are conducted mostly in their respective embassies or religious place of either bride or groom. Non-Muslims (expats) can either contact their consulate/embassy in Dubai or other emirates and fully understand the registration procedure for interfaith marriages. You can also seek the help of marriage lawyers in Dubai who can help you with registration and resolve legal complications, if any.

When it comes to Muslims, interfaith marriage can be complicated. In UAE, a Muslim man is permitted to marry non-Muslim women, provided they follow “of the book” religion. According to Islamic Law, “of the book” includes Christianity and Judaism. If the bride belongs to a faith other than these, she may have to convert to marry a Muslim man in UAE. However, a non-Muslim man cannot marry a Muslim woman unless he converts to Islam. Marriage ceremonies between Muslim couples are performed by the Personal Status Court of Dubai and are governed by personal status law.

General Rules related to Marriage in the UAE

  • The marriage in UAE is only valid when they are registered, authorized and attested by the relevant authorities.
  • Same-gender marriages are prohibited in UAE.
  • Muslim men can marry non-Muslim women.
  • Muslim women cannot marry a non-Muslim man.

Legal Requirements for non-Muslims to get Married in the UAE

  • One of the parties must be a resident of the UAE, and the other spouse must have valid permission to stay in the country until the documents are in process.
  • The permissible lower age limit for both men and women to get married is 18 years. The age difference between the bride and bridegroom must not exceed double that of their partner. If any of the couples are less than 18 years, the approval of the Chief Justice of the Personal Status Court must be taken. The minimum age to get married must also satisfy the guidelines of the couple’s home country.
  • Both couples must get a premarital health check-up and fitness certificates from a government-certified facility.
  • Two male witnesses must be present during the ceremony and registration. It may vary depending on the nationality of the bride and groom.

Family Approval for Interfaith Marriages in Dubai and the Other Emirates

In Dubai, parental approval will depend on the rules of non-Muslim couples’ home country. However, if either of the couples is Muslim or Emirati, there can be a requirement for a consent letter from the bride’s father or guardian in case the father is dead.

Abu Dhabi, on the other hand, has updated its marriage law in 2021 and offers a much more lenient approach in this scenario. However, it applies only when both partners are non-Muslims. Civil marriages in Abu Dhabi are covered under Articles 4 and 5 of Law No. 14 of 2021 Concerning Personal Status Law for non-Muslims or citizens of a non-Muslim country. Legal Requirements for a Civil marriage in Abu Dhabi are:

  • The legal age of both parties must be 18 or more.
  • Both parties must consent to the marriage.
  • Both parties must sign a declaration form acknowledging that they are single and not married to anyone else.

In Abu Dhabi, when you apply for a civil marriage, there is no requirement for a father or guardian’s approval or a premarital screening certificate.

Interfaith Marriage Requirements in court marriage in Dubai under Islamic Law

  • One of the partners must possess a UAE residency Visa.
  • The bride’s father, guardian or father’s lawyer must accompany the couple.
  • Two male witnesses must be present.
  • Passport copies of the couple.
  • Other identification proof documents.
  • Father’s or guardian’s identification papers.
  • If divorced or the previous spouse is dead, relevant documents must be presented.
  • It should be mentioned that the prospective bride is Muslim or non-Muslim. Moreover, also mention whether her father is a Muslim or not.

Guardianship and Child Custody under Interfaith Marriage in Dubai

UAE law aims to protect the children’s rights of failed interfaith marriages. Thus, articles 142 through 158 of Federal Law No. 28 of 2005 regarding Personal Status, which is based on Sharia law, address issues relating to custody in case of divorce. A mother holds the responsibility of being the primary custodian of the child. Mother is solely responsible for keeping, raising, and caring for the child. A woman must not remarry if she wants to keep the child with her. However, the father can permit the mother to keep custody of the child after remarriage.

If the mother is non-Muslim, the father has the right to seek custody once the child turns 5. In UAE, the kid belongs to the same faith as a father. If the father receives custody, he must appoint a female caretaker to look after the child.

In UAE, according to Sharia law, the father is always the child’s guardian. He is responsible for watching, defending, raising, teaching and guiding the child. The mother needs the father’s permission to take the kid outside UAE. If taken without permission, the mother has to bear abduction charges.

Guardianship Law for non-Muslims and expats

There is no federal personal status law in UAE. However, in 2021 Abu Dhabi introduced a new personal status law for non-Muslims. It covers civil marriage, divorce, alimony, joint child custody, guardianship, etc.


The interfaith unions are permitted in the emirate of Dubai. You should consult family lawyers in Dubai to get the best guidance on your interfaith wedding. It is crucial to speak with family lawyers or other legal experts in the UAE if you’re thinking about having an interfaith wedding in order to get the best advice.

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