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Non-Muslim 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.


The Civil Marriage Procedure
Step 1- Select the following link and complete the application : https://www.adjd.gov.ae/sites/eServices/EN/Pages/NMRequest.aspx . If you are not familiar with the UAE Pass App, please go to the following webpage for more information: The UAE Pass app - The Official Portal of the UAE Government . It is recommended that you use Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge when making your application.

Step 2- Your application will be checked by the registration team and you will receive a notification within 10 working days via SMS or e-mail to confirm whether your application was approved or rejected.

Step 3- Pay the court fee (300 AED) using the payment link in the application approval correspondence.

Step 4- Following payment of the court fee, the team will contact you by telephone or e-mail within 5 working days to arrange a suitable time and date for the marriage ceremony.

Step 5- Attend the marriage ceremony at the Civil Family Court within the ADJD main court building (next to Zayed Sports City). You should enter through gate 5 and you will be required to present the Al Hosn Green Pass or a negative PCR result that was taken within the previous 48 hours.

Step 6- Receive a copy of the marriage certificate.

What is civil marriage?
A civil marriage is the lawful union of a non-Muslim man and woman solemnized as a civil contract without religious ceremony. It is based on non-religious rules and 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

What are the conditions?

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

  • 1. Both parties must provide their consent
  • 2. Both parties must be at least 18 years’ old
  • 3. The parties must not be related by the first or second degree
  • 4. The parties must not be married to any other person

  • Do i need to be a resident of the UAE to get married?
    You do not need to be a resident of the UAE to apply for a civil marriage. 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: https://visitabudhabi.ae/en .

    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 present the Al Hosn Green Pass or a 48 hour negative PCR test when entering the Court building. You must also bring your passport and Emirates ID (if applicable).

    How much does it cost to get a civil marriage?
    The civil marriage fee is 300 AED.

    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 150 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. The court will then arrange an appointment for the marriage ceremony in accordance with your preferred date and time, subject to the court’s availability. The marriage certificate will be issued at the conclusion of the ceremony.

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

  • Monday: 9:00am-1:30pm
  • Tuesday: 9:00am-1:30pm
  • Wednesday: 9:00am-1:30pm
  • Thursday: 9:00am-1:30pm
  • Friday: 9:00am-11:00am
  • 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.

    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?
    Each couple can bring a maximum of 4 guests with them to the marriage ceremony.

    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.

    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.

    Can I get a civil marriage if I am a Muslim and my partner is a Non-Muslim?
    Yes, it is possible for a Muslim and Non-Muslim person to obtain a civil marriage through the Civil Family Court. However, kindly note that a Muslim who is a UAE citizen cannot obtain a civil marriage:




    This page will help you understand the rules and procedures related to civil divorce for non-Muslim’s in Abu Dhabi.

    Abu Dhabi introduced a new law in 2021 for the first time in the region to regulate non-muslims family matters under civil and non-religious rules and regulations (not sharia law).

    1. What is no fault divorce?
    No- fault divorce is a divorce in which neither party is required to blame the other for the breakdown of the marriage. The family court will therefore grant a divorce in response to the no-fault divorce application without requiring evidence of the reasons behind the marriage breakdown.

    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 till 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 benefit from applying no fault divorce?
    This law applies to non muslims only residing in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Unless he proves the opposite, a person is deemed a non muslim for the purpose of this law if: He or she is a citizen of a country not a member of The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation unless he/she affirms otherwise or if the family law of his country is not based on sharia law. For applicants holding the citizenship of a country member of the Arab League countries, an official document showing the religion of the person might be required.

    4. Who can apply for no fault divorce?
    Either the husband or the wife can apply for a no-fault divorce. The person making the application must be an Abu Dhabi resident or the marriage certificate must have been issued in Abu Dhabi.

    5. What are the required documents?
    The documents required to support the no-fault divorce application are as follows:
    1. Copy of the marriage certificate
    2. Copy of ID (passport, Emirates ID and residency visa)
    3. Employment contract
    4. Last 6 months’ bank statements (for all accounts)

    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.

    7. What happens to the children after a divorce?
    Joint custody is automatically applied upon divorce unless one parent waives his/her right to joint custody. You can also dispute the joint custody if you have valid reasons by submitting an application to the court using the child custody dispute form. 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 share major decision making such as medical care, religious upbringing and education. Joint physical custody means that the child/ren spends equal or close to an equal amount of time with both parents.


    THIS PAGE WILL ANSWER SOME COMMON QUESTIONS ASKED RELATING TO THE WILLS AND INHERITANCE PROCESS FOR NON MUSLIMS IN THE EMIRATE OF ABU DHABI
    This page will help you understand the rules and procedures related to wills and inheritance for non-Muslim’s in Abu Dhabi. In 2021, Abu Dhabi introduced a new law for the first time in the region to regulate non-Muslim family matters under civil and non-religious rules and regulations (not sharia law). This law regulates the Wills and inheritance process for non-Muslims.

    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. What steps should be taken when a Will has been drafted?
    For a non-Muslim 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 Non-Muslim Wills Department.

    3. What happens if someone dies without a registered Will?
    According to Article 11 (2) of Law No. 14 of 2021, if a non-Muslim 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).

    4. What is the cost of registering a Will?
    The fee for registering a Will before the ADJD Non-Muslim Wills Office is 950 aed.

    5. 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.




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    This page will help you understand the rules and procedures related to child custody for non-Muslim’s 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.





    To Submit a request please create an account on UAE PASS website ( for visitors and citizens), then Submit your application through the e-service below

        For Inquiries, you can contact us via email:

    • nonmuslimfamilycourt@adjd.gov.ae

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