Is a Marriage Valid in Other Countries if Conducted in the UAE?

Awatif Mohammad Shoqi Advocates & Legal Consultancy | View firm profile


Marriage, as a sacred union between two individuals, carries varied legal implications worldwide. With the UAE attracting a diverse expatriate population, many couples consider marrying in this vibrant nation. However, questions arise regarding the recognition of these marriages in other countries. This article explores the validity of marriages conducted in the UAE within the international legal landscape.

Personal Status Laws in the UAE:

Until February 2023, matters such as marriage, divorce, and inheritance in the UAE were governed by Federal Law No. 28/2005 on Personal Status, alongside provisions from the UAE Civil Transactions Law. To make the UAE more attractive to foreigners, the government introduced Federal Decree-Law No. 41 of 2022. Effective from February 1, 2023, this law aligns with international family law practices, allowing for separate regulations for non-Muslims, including marriage and divorce.

Legal Framework for Civil Marriages:

The UAE has established comprehensive legal structures for non-Muslim citizens and residents seeking civil marriages. Federal Decree-Law No. 41/2022 on Civil Personal Status extends eligibility for civil marriages to non-Muslims who are citizens of the UAE and non-Muslim foreigners residing in the country. Additionally, Abu Dhabi Law No. 14/2021 on Civil Marriage permits civil marriage for non-Muslim citizens or residents in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Legalization of Marriage Certificate:

To ensure that marriages conducted in the UAE are recognized in foreign countries, a valid marriage certificate issued by the relevant UAE authority is essential. The attestation process involves several steps. Firstly, the marriage certificate must be attested by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, either in person or through an authorized service centre.

Following attestation by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the certificate must be translated into English or the required language by a certified translator and notarized. Subsequently, both the original certificate and its translated or notarized copy must be submitted to the required embassy in the UAE. The embassy will then authenticate the documents, making them valid for use in the couple’s home country.

This process ensures that the marriage certificate meets the necessary legal requirements and can be recognized internationally, providing couples with the assurance of their marital status in their home country.

Importance of Marriage Legalization:

Legalizing a marriage certificate is important as it establishes the legal status of the union and facilitates various administrative processes. This ensures couples can enjoy rights and benefits associated with marriage, both domestically and internationally.


Marriages conducted in the UAE are generally recognized in other countries provided they meet legal requirements and do not contravene local laws or public policy. Couples intending to marry in the UAE should familiarize themselves with the legal framework and seek appropriate guidance to ensure their marriage is valid and recognized internationally.


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