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Abu Dhabi Civil Family Court

Civil Marriage

In 2021, Abu Dhabi issued a new law to introduce the concept of civil marriage for the first time in the region. This page aims to answer some frequently asked questions to help you understand the rules and procedures related to civil marriage in Abu Dhabi.

What is civil marriage?
A civil marriage is the lawful union of a man and woman solemnized as a civil contract, under secular rules, regardless of faith or nationality.

It is regulated by Article 4 and 5 of the Civil Marriage Law No. 14 of 2021.

What is the difference between civil marriage and a marriage under the personal status law?

Civil Marriage Marriage under Sharia Law
Father ( Guardian ) approval Not required Required
Medical test Not required Required
Interreligious marriage Permitted Restricted
Non-residents marriage Permitted Restricted

How can I submit an application for a civil marriage?

If you are a UAE resident- please select the following link:

If you are NOT a UAE resident (tourist)- please select the following link:

It is recommended that you use Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge when making your application.
You can select either the regular service (processed within 10 working days) or express service (processed within 1 working day and you can select your ceremony date).

What are the conditions?

The conditions that must be met for the marriage application to be approved are as follows: -

  • Both parties must provide their consent
  • Both parties must be at least 18 years’ old
  • The parties must not be related by the first or second degree
  • The parties must not be married to any other person
  • Either party must not be a UAE national

  • Who can get married under the civil marriage rules?
    It is possible for anyone, regardless of religion, to obtain a civil marriage other than UAE nationals.

    Do i need to be a resident of the UAE to get married?
    No. Tourists are encouraged to obtain a civil marriage, regardless of where they live. You can apply from anywhere in the world through the online portal. However, please do note that once you have submitted your application and paid the court fee, you will need to travel to Abu Dhabi for the civil marriage ceremony. Click here to see how you can enjoy your stay in Abu Dhabi: .

    Where does the marriage ceremony take place?
    The marriage ceremony takes place in the Civil Family Court in the ADJD main court building (next to Zayed Sports City).

    What should I bring with me to the ceremony?
    You must also bring your passport and if you are a UAE resident, you should also bring your Emirates ID.

    Do I need to bring a witness?
    There is no requirement to bring a witness however you are welcome to bring family and friends to the ceremony.

    Can we exchange rings and say our own vows?
    Yes, but it is not mandatory. Please let the team know upon arrival if you wish to exchange rings or include your own vows.

    Can I pick the ceremony date and time?
    If you opt for the express service, you can select the ceremony date and time subject to the court’s opening hours. If you select the standard service, the court will do its best to accommodate your request but it is subject to availability.

    How much does it cost to get a civil marriage?

  • The standard civil marriage fee is 300 AED..However, if you wish to process the application quickly or if there is a particular date you would like to select, you can use the express marriage service at a cost of AED 2,500.

    How should I submit my marriage agreement?
    First, it is important to be aware that having a marriage agreement is not mandatory. However, should you wish to submit a marriage agreement, you should submit it with the civil marriage application as a supporting document. There is an additional fee of 950 AED for the marriage agreement to be notarized.

    What documents do I need to submit with the application?

  • Copy of both parties’ passport
  • Copy of both parties’ Emirates ID (if applicable)
  • If previously married, proof that the marriage is now dissolved (eg. divorce judgment or death certificate)
  • How long does the process take?
    Upon submission of your application, it can take up to 10 working days for your application to be approved by the registration team. Once your application is approved and you have paid the fee, you should receive an email or telephone call from the court within 5 working days. to arrange an appointment for the marriage ceremony. The marriage certificate will be issued at the conclusion of the ceremony.

    Alternatively, you can select the express service and your application will be processed within 1 working day and you can select the ceremony date and time.

    When can the marriage ceremony take place?
    The marriage ceremonies may take place on the following dates and times:

  • Monday to Thursday: 9:00am-1:30pm
  • Friday: 9:00am-11:00am

  • During Ramadan All appointments are subject to the courts availability and are allocated a 30-minute time slot. Times may vary during Ramadan and the Court is closed during public holidays and on weekends.

    How long does the marriage ceremony take?
    The Court aims to conduct marriage ceremonies within 15 minutes.

    Can I take pictures during the marriage ceremony?
    Yes, you may take pictures during the marriage ceremony and it is possible to bring a photographer with you to the ceremony.

    Can I bring family and friends to the marriage ceremony?
    Yes, you can bring guests with you to the marriage ceremony.

    We are pleased to announce the opening of a photography studio in the civil marriage section to capture your special moments, you can view the price list ( Click here ) or for more information please contact us via 0569303987 or WhatsApp 0508002891

    What should I do once I receive my marriage certificate?
    When you receive your marriage certificate, it is recommended that you get it notarized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    Can someone who is a Muslim obtain a civil marriage?
    Yes, it is possible for Muslims to use the civil marriage service as long as they are not a citizen of the UAE.

    Can I submit a marriage/pre-nuptial agreement?
    Yes, but it is important to note that it is not mandatory. The Court has a standard template to assist you when drafting the agreement and this will be sent to you once the request has been submitted. The cost of the service is AED 950. You can submit the request using the following link:ICR

    I can no longer attend the ceremony, what should I do?
    You must give the Court at least 24 hours’ notice if you cannot attend the ceremony. If you wish to reschedule, the Court will do its best to accommodate you. Kindly note that refunds will only be granted in very limited circumstances. If you fail to provide the Court with 24 hours’ notice, then you will need to submit a new application.

    Is this marriage valid in my home country?
    Civil marriage is like any other official marriage; it is approved and issued by the Court and will then need to be attested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. If you have any concerns, you should contact your embassy.

    This page answers some of the frequently asked questions related to no-fault divorce in Abu Dhabi

    1.     What is no fault divorce?
    No- fault divorce is a type of divorce in which a spouse can obtain a divorce without proving that the other spouse did something wrong, such as committing adultery or abuse The Civil Family Court will therefore grant a divorce in response to the no-fault divorce application without requiring evidence of the reasons for the breakdown of marriage.

    2.     How is no fault divorce different to divorce under sharia law?

    No fault Divorce Divorce under Sharia
    Reasons for divorce Not required Required
    Equal unilateral divorce Yes No, only husband can decide to get a divorce
    Custody of children Joint custody by default Mother to get custody until the age of 11 only
    Length of procedures Within one month Lengthy process
    Language of proceedings English and Arabic Arabic only
    ADR ( mediation stage ) Not applicable Mandatory before going to the court
    International Recognition Yes Restricted

    3.     Who can apply for a no fault divorce?
    1. Abu Dhabi Residents; or
    2. Anyone who obtained a Civil Marriage through the Abu Dhabi Civil Family Court; and
    3. The parties must be from a country which is not governed by sharia law. For applicants holding citizenship of a country member of the Arab League countries, an official document proving the religion of the party may be required.

    4.     5. What documents are required when submitting the application?
    The documents required to support the no-fault divorce application are as follows:
    1. . Copy of the marriage certificate (English and Arabic)
    2. Copy of ID (passport and, Emirates ID)

    5.    How can you submit a no-fault divorce application
    To submit the application, you will need to visit one of the typing centres in Abu Dhabi. Select the following link for the location of the typing centres: Typing Centres

    6.     How can I make a financial claim ?
    If you cannot reach an amicable financial settlement upon divorce, you can apply for a financial order using the post-divorce application for a financial order.This can be submitted following issuance of the divorce judgment.

    7.     What happens to the children after a divorce?
    Following divorce, joint custody is automatically applied unless one parent waives his/her right to joint custody. Joint custody is a form of child custody where custody rights are awarded to both parents. This is in relation to both physical and legal custody. Joint legal custody means that both parents have a say when making a major decision for the child,such as medical care, religious upbringing and education. Joint physical custody means that a child is entitled to spend close to an equal amount of time with both parents. If you cannot reach an agreement regarding the arrangements for the children, you can submit an application to the Court who will determine what arrangements are in the best interests of the children.

    8.      What happens once the divorce application has been submitted?
    Following submission of the application for a no-fault divorce, the Court will review the application. If the application is approved, the Court will notify the Defendant via SMS in the first instance of the proceedings and will grant them access to the case documents. Both parties will also be notified via SMS of the date of the case management session where the assigned case manager will ensure that the case is prepared prior to submitting it to the Judge. Both parties or their legal representatives must attend the case management session. This helps ensure an efficient and speedy resolution of the dispute. After the case management procedures have concluded, the case will be transferred to the Judge who will determine the outcome of the case.

    9. How long does it take for the divorce judgment to be issued?
    The Court aims to finalise the case within one month from the date the case was registered.

    This page will help you understand the rules and procedures related to Civil Wills and Inheritance in Abu Dhabi. In 2021, Abu Dhabi introduced a new law for the first time in the region to regulate family matters under civil and non-religious principles. This law regulates the civil wills and inheritance process.

    1. What is a Will?
    As defined by Article 1 of Law No. 14 of 2021, a Will is a document prepared by an expatriate stating how they would like their assets to be distributed upon their passing.

    2. How can I get help to draft my Will?
    Abu Dhabi Civil Family Court has prepared a standardised Will template in English and Arabic which you can use to help you prepare your Will in a cost effective and efficient manner. The template can be found below . Alternatively, you may wish to instruct a lawyer who specialises in wills and probate.

    3. What steps should be taken when a Will has been drafted?
    For a Civil Will to be recognised as legally valid, it must be ‘registered’. You can do this by submitting the relevant application and a copy of the Will to the ADJD Civil Wills Section.

    4. What happens if someone dies without a registered Will?
    According to Article 11 (2) of Law No. 14 of 2021, if a non-UAE resident dies without a Will then there is a set method for asset distribution. The surviving spouse shall receive half of the inheritance and the other half shall be distributed equally between the children of the deceased (no difference between males and females). If the deceased has no children, then the remaining inheritance shall be shared equally between the deceased’s parents. If one of the parents is deceased, the remaining parent shall retain their half share and the other half shall be shared equally between the deceased’s siblings. If both of the deceased’s parents have passed away, the remaining inheritance shall be shared equally between the siblings (no difference between males and females).

    5. What is the cost of registering a Will?
    The fee for registering a Will before the ADJD Civil Wills Office is 950 AED.

    6. What is the benefit of having a registered Will?
    If you have a registered Will then you will have peace of mind that your UAE estate will be distributed in accordance with your wishes upon your passing. If you do not have a registered Will, this can cause delay in the distribution of your estate and can sometimes cause animosity between family members.

    7. Can Muslims register a Will?
    If you are not a UAE citizen, then, regardless of your religion, you may register a Will with Abu Dhabi Civil Wills Office.

    8. How can you submit an application for distribution of inheritance if the deceased did not have a registered Will?
    You can submit an application for distribution of inheritance using the following links: If the applicant is a UAE resident: If the applicant is not a UAE resident: For further information, please contact the Civil Wills department via email:

    How to get a birth certificate for a baby born outside of wedlock in the UAE

    This guide summaries how to get a birth certificate for a baby born outside of wedlock in the UAE.
    A declaration of parentage and a court order through Abu Dhabi Judicial Department is all it takes for the couple to obtain the child’s birth certificate under Abu Dhabi’s new civil family law.
    Step 1: Both the father and the mother of the child have to complete and sign the PDF application form (which can be found below). Both parents must sign the declaration at the end of the application form confirming that they are the biological parents of the child.
    Step 2: When you submit the application, you must attach the following documents:
    • — Birth notification (if born at home, please write “home”)
    • — Copy of father's Emirates ID and Passport
    Step 3: Submit the completed form and supporting documents to any of the Abu Dhabi typing centres.
    Step 4: WAt the discretion of the judge, the Court will usually issue a judgment without requiring you to attend Court.

    Who can apply? You may apply if you are an Abu Dhabi resident or if your child was born in Abu Dhabi.

    This page will help you understand the rules and procedures related to child custody under the civil family laws in Abu Dhabi.

    1. What does child custody mean?
    “Child custody” refers to the rights and responsibilities between parents for taking care of their children. Child custody is often split into two elements; legal and physical custody. Legal custody is when a parent has the legal authority to make decisions for a child in relation to topics such as medical care, religious upbringing and education. Physical custody, on the other hand, refers to a parents right for the child to live with him/her. A child custody order regulates when and with whom a child is going to live, spend time or otherwise have contact with.

    2. What is joint custody?
    Joint custody is a form of child custody where custody rights are awarded to both parents, allowing the children to spend equal or close to an equal amount of time with both parents.

    3. What happens to a child when their parents separate?
    Joint legal and physical custody is automatically applied to both parents upon divorce/separation unless one parent waives his or her right to joint custody or unless otherwise ordered by the court following a custody dispute (for example, one parent would like sole custody).

    4. Why is joint custody automatically applied upon parental separation?
    A child has a right maintain a meaningful relationship with both parents. Indeed, it is important that a child sees and spends time with both parents to limit any impact the separation may have on them. However, if you have a concern that the child may be at a risk of harm because of the joint custody arrangements, you have the option to submit an application form to dispute joint custody and seek alternative arrangements. The judge will then assess the case based on what is in the best interests of the child.

    5. If I dispute joint custody, how will the judge determine the best custody arrangements for my child?
    The primary consideration of the judge is the child’s best interests. When the judge is considering what is the child’s best interests, he/she will take into account the following factors:

  • Physical, emotional and educational needs;
  • Age, sex, background and any characteristics of which the court considers relevant;
  • The ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child, if the court considers the child to be of a sufficient age and understanding;
  • The likely effect on this child if there was a change in circumstances;
  • Any harm the child has suffered or is at risk of suffering;
  • The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child;
  • The capability of each parent to meet the needs of the child.
  • 6. What can you do if you are concerned that the other parent may take the child abroad and not return?
    If you have a real concern that the other parent may take the child abroad and not return, you can apply to the court for a prohibited steps order. The Court will then consider whether it is in the child’s best interests to issue a travel ban.

    6. What happens if the parents cannot agree the custody arrangements?
    If the parents cannot reach an agreement regarding the living and contact arrangements for the children, they can submit an application to the Court. Currently, the method for submitting such an application is via one of the typing centres’ in Abu Dhabi. A list of the typing centres can be found here:Typing Centres

        For Inquiries, you can contact us via email:

    • 00971-2-6513257 / 00971-2-6514009


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