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There’s plenty of help, great education facilities and a whole range of activities for adults and kids in the UAE, making it a fantastic place to start or raise a family.


When living in the UAE under Shariah law, marriage is the only legal bond for a man and a woman to establish a relationship and have children. It is illegal to live together as a couple if you are unmarried and you cannot have children out of wedlock.

Getting married

To marry in the UAE, both the bride and groom must hold a valid residence visa. Muslims must comply with Shariah law and the rules outlined by the marriage section of the courts, which include such conditions as having two male Muslim witnesses, specification and documentation of dowry and the mandatory presence of the father at the wedding.

If you’re Christian, you can marry in a church; if you’d prefer a non-religious marriage, you may be able to tie the knot at your embassy. Christians living in Abu Dhabi can get married at St Andrew’s Church, near The British School in Al Mushrif. Anglican wedding ceremonies can also take place at the Holy Trinity Church, Dubai, at Christ Church in Jebel Ali, Dubai or St Martin’s Church in Sharjah, all of which are recognised by the UAE government. Ministers from the Anglican Church can also marry people at other approved locations.

Roman Catholic marriages can take place at St Joseph’s Cathedral on Airport Road in Abu Dhabi or at St Mary’s Catholic Church in Dubai. Hindu marriages are conducted by the maharaj at Dubai’s Hindu Temple in Bur Dubai.


Whatever your nationality, you should contact your embassy to notify them of your intent to get married and find out the exact process and paperwork necessary. Certain documents may need to be officially translated. Once wed, you will need to have the marriage authenticated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and then register it with your home country to get it validated internationally. In nearly all cases, a marriage that is legally performed in the UAE will be recognised elsewhere in the world, but it’s always best to check.

While the wedding must be conducted in either a church, court or at your embassy, you have a large choice of where to have a wedding blessing and the reception. Many couples choose to have a small church ceremony and then celebrate at one of the luxury hotels, on the beach or even aboard a yacht.


See Useful Links to find your embassy's contact details.