Friday, January 23, 2015

MARRIAGES OF FOREIGN NATIONALS IN THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

By
Professor Gabriel Sawma


INTRODUCTION
In 2005, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) enacted Federal Law No. 28 of 2005 to govern marriage, divorce, custody of children and inheritance. The law applies to all these cases across the emirates. The law of marriage and its effects is covered by article17 through 97. Article 66 of Federal Law no. 28 of 2005 defines marriage as “a contract that renders lawful each spouse’s sexual enjoyment of the other, its purpose chastity and the founding of a stable family under the charge [in the care = ri’yat] the husband, on the bases that secure for the two of them the bearing of the family’s burden in love and compassion.” (Official Gazette no 439 (35th year) November 2005)


THE GENERAL RULE OF MARRIAGE OF CHRISTIAN AND JEWISH WOMEN TO MUSLIM MEN
A Muslim man has choices of marrying a woman from ahl alkitab, which means a woman who is Christian or Jew, without having to change her religion. A Muslim man is prohibited from marrying an atheist, an idolater, or a worshipper of the sun or stars. Under the rules of Shi’a Islam, a Shi’a Muslim is permitted to marry a magi woman (i.e. worshipper of fire), and consider her equal to a Christian and Jew, which the Quran callsahlul Kitab, “the People of the Book”, meaning women of the Jewish faith who believe in the scriptures found in the Torah, and Christian women who believe in the scriptures found in the Bible. (Reference, Al-Hilli, p. 9). In Sunni traditions, the magi women are considered among the prohibited infidels. This is based on the first part of verse 221 of Surah 2, which reads “And do not marry Al-Mushrikat [idolatresses] till they believe [till they worship Allah].”

The Quranic verse which permits a Muslim man to marry a kitabiyya [Christian and Jew] woman is found in Surah 5, verse 5, which reads: “Made lawful to you this day are al-Tayyibat [all kids of Halal—lawful—foods] which Allah has made lawful [meat slaughtered eatable animals, milk products, fats, vegetable and fruits]. The food [slaughtered cattle, eatable animals] of the people of the Scripture [Christians and Jews] is lawful to you and yours is lawful to them. [Lawful to you in marriage] are chaste women from the believers and chaste women from those who were give the Scriptures [Christians and Jews] before your time when you have given their due Sadaq (mahr = bride-money given by the husband to his would be wife at the time of marriage], desiring chastity [i.e., taking them in legal wedlock] not committing illegal sexual intercourse, nor taking them as girl-friends.”


FORMALITIES FOR GETTING MARRIED IN THE UAE
Non-citizens of the UAE can get married provided that either would be husband or wife has a valid UAE residence visa. The party must undergo a medical examination before the marriage. Both parties need to provide birth certificate, original passport and copies of the residence/visit visa as the case may be, a marital status certificate stating whether the applicant is divorce, single or widowed. All documents must be authenticated by the State Department and the UAE consulate, or in the UAE by the applicant’s consulate and the UAE Foreign Ministry. For more details on the requirement please check with the nearest UAE consulate. See also this site: http://www.government.ae/en/web/guest/getting-married-in-the-uae  (accessed 1/15/2015)
Foreign men marrying UAE national women have to provide good conduct certificate from the police. UAE women who obtained the UAE citizenship by dependency are not allowed to get married to foreign men.

Foreign women who marry male UAE citizens are granted citizenship; however, female citizens are not permitted, under any circumstances to transfer their nationality to their foreign-born husbands. Further, a law passed in 1996 requires UAE women citizens to surrender their citizenship when marrying a non-GGC citizen (Gulf Cooperation Council, a political and economic union consisting of all Arab states of the Persian Gulf, except for Iraq), with exclusion only by presidential approval. To curb the rising trend of male UAE citizens marrying foreign women, the government endorsed a marriage fund to encourage men to marry citizens from the UAE.

More information on expat marriages to UAE citizens is available on this link: http://www.uaedivorceinusa.com


DISCLAIMER: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

Gabriel Sawma is a lawyer with Middle East background, and a recognized authority on Islamic law of marriage, divorce and custody of children, Hindu marital disputes in U.S. courts, and Iran divorce in USA.
Professor of Middle East Constitutional Law and Islamic law; Expert Consultant on Islamic divorce in US Courts and Canada. Expert Consultant on Hindu divorce in U.S. courts and Iranian divorce in USA.
Admitted to the Lebanese Bar Association; former Associate Member of the New York State Bar Association and the American Bar Association.
Prof. Sawma lectured at the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) in New York State and wrote many affidavits to immigration authorities, Federal Courts, and family State Courts in connection with recognition of Islamic foreign divorces in the U.S., Hindu divorces, and Iranian marital conflicts.
Taught Islamic Finance for MBA program at the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom.
Travelled numerous times to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and the Arabian Gulf States, Jordan, Syria, Palestine, and wrote extensively on Islamic and Hindu divorces, custody of children in USA and abroad, and abduction of children to Muslim countries.
Speaks, reads and writes several languages including Arabic, English, French and others
Interviewed by:

Contact Information:

Tel. (609) 915-2237

For  information about the law of marriage and divorce in the United Arab Emirates, please visit our website at: http://www.uaedivorceinusa.com 

For more information on the author, please see Curriculum Vitae at this link:

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