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Getting Married in Dubai: The Paperwork

Bride signing wedding certificate
Hello lovelies –
When we think about lovely weddings we think about pretty flowers, romantic candlelit venues and princess dresses but it can be easy to forget the one thing we actually need to legally get married – the paperwork! Well that and a husband or wife but you know what I mean!
Planning a wedding in Dubai from India when I wasn’t officially a resident in India came with a whole bag of complicated questions as you can imagine. I like to think that I’m not alone in this so I thought I’d share my process for all the legalities to hopefully make your life easier. We got married at Christchurch Jebel Ali so my experience specifically relates to this however you can take it as it applies to you. Please also note this information was as it applied to me in December 2014 so hopefully it hasn’t changed since too much then ūüôā
Step 1: Contact Christchurch Jebel Ali to make your initial enquiry – you can find the contact details here. We weren’t too concerned about a specific date so we were able to book ours 3 months in advance but if you do have a specific date in mind I recommend giving yourself a good 6 months lead time.
Step 2: Once you have made an enquiry, you will be sent a Wedding Application which is very easy to fill out to scan and send back along with your passport copy and passport photo. Anjali, the Weddings Secretary at Christchurch was super helpful and was very clear in what I needed to arrange. This straightforward approach was music to my ears!
Step 3: The only thing Christchurch legally required to be able to perform the wedding was a Marriage Affidavit or an Eligibility to Marry Certificate in its original copy. As far as the British Embassy told me, this must be issued from your country of residence. If you are a resident in the UAE then this is fairly straightforward and you just need to make an appointment with your Embassy to secure the document BUT if neither you or your fiancé are residents then you will need to arrange this from your home country/wherever you are living (which is where it got a little complicated for me!). From the British Embassy in Dubai this cost me 360dhs. For this document you need the following:
a)    The data page and residency visa/UAE entry stamp in your passport
b)   Proof of full residential address such as a utility bill, e.g  Dewa bill, rental contract etc or letter from your company
c)    If you or your fiancé(e) has been previously married, your divorce decree absolute or final order or the death certificate of your/their previous spouse
d)   Copy of your fiancé/fiancée’s passport
e)    Completed and Typed Affidavit or Affirmation
**Quick side note, my husband is American and the US Consulate doesn’t issue Marriage Affidavits however they will notarize a document to officially state that you are eligible to marry so just keep this in mind. You can always ask Christchurch for an example if you are unsure and they will be happy to share with you.
Step 4: You will also need to complete a Wedding Preparation as a compulsory requirement to get married at Christchurch Jebel Ali. This is usually a fun and casual meeting with your Reverend and 2-3 other couples who are also getting married going over what it means to be husband and wife. We had to do this on our own in Bangalore because we didn’t live in Dubai but Christchurch were very happy to make that work with a letter from our pastor to show what we had covered in our preparation. I then just had a coffee with our Reverend a week before the ceremony when I arrived in Dubai so we could meet. This usually has to be completed 6-8 weeks before the ceremony so just them know if you are planning from outside the country so you can make alternative arrangements.
Step 5:¬†Last step –¬†Wedding Registration!¬†This is where the marriage is officially registered with the UAE courts for all official intents and purposes. You can do this yourself although I just knew that personally I didn’t want to make this process any more complicated than it has to be so thankfully Christchurch can actually arrange this for you at an affordable fee (totally worth it!) and you can pick it up a week later.
So there you have it, that’s what you need to know. Remember if you have anything to add you know where to find us.
With love from your bride-to-be,
Feature image via www.aegeandreamwedding.com

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