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Can Emirati woman marry a foreigner?

Marriage is a sacred bond that brings together individuals from different backgrounds, cultures, and nationalities. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), marriage laws can vary depending on the religious affiliation and nationality of the individuals involved. For Emirati women who wish to marry foreigners, it is essential to have a clear understanding of the regulations and requirements set forth by the UAE government. In this blog post, we will explore the topic of Emirati women marrying foreigners, specifically focusing on the allowance of civil marriage for non-Muslims in Abu Dhabi.

Marriage Laws in the UAE

In the UAE, marriage laws are primarily governed by Islamic Sharia law. However, there are distinct differences between Muslim and non-Muslim marriages. Non-Muslims, including Emirati women, have the option to enter into civil marriages that are recognized by the UAE government.

It is important to note that marriage laws can differ between the seven emirates that make up the UAE. While the overall framework is based on Islamic principles, each emirate has the authority to enact its own specific laws and regulations regarding marriage.

Civil Marriage for Non-Muslims in Abu Dhabi

As of 2021, the government of Abu Dhabi has introduced Law No. 14 of 2021 Concerning Personal Status for non-Muslim Foreigners. This law allows for civil marriages to be conducted for non-Muslims in Abu Dhabi, providing an alternative option for Emirati women who wish to marry foreigners.

To obtain a civil marriage in Abu Dhabi, certain conditions and requirements must be met. Both parties must be at least 18 years old, submit valid identification documents, and provide proof of their legal capacity to marry. Additionally, the couple must undergo premarital counseling, which covers topics such as compatibility, communication, and understanding cultural differences. The process for obtaining a civil marriage in Abu Dhabi involves submitting an application to the relevant authorities and completing the necessary paperwork.

Rights and Responsibilities of Emirati Women Marrying Foreigners

Emirati women who choose to marry foreigners are entitled to the same legal rights and protections as any other married woman in the UAE. The government of the UAE has implemented measures to safeguard the rights of Emirati citizens, including women, in intercultural marriages.

It is crucial for Emirati women to be aware of their rights and responsibilities when marrying foreigners. This includes understanding issues related to property ownership, inheritance rights, and child custody in the event of a divorce or the death of a spouse. Seeking legal advice and guidance can help ensure that the rights of Emirati women are protected throughout the marriage.

Furthermore, Emirati women who marry foreigners may face unique challenges due to cultural and societal differences. It is important for them to consider the potential impact on their family dynamics, as well as the reactions and acceptance from their own families and communities.

Challenges and Considerations for Emirati Women Marrying Foreigners

While marrying a foreigner can be a rewarding experience, it also comes with its own set of challenges and considerations for Emirati women. Cultural differences, language barriers, and societal expectations can create obstacles in the relationship. It is essential for both partners to have open and honest communication and to embrace mutual understanding and respect for each other’s backgrounds.

Family acceptance and support are also key factors to consider. Emirati women may face resistance or reluctance from their families when marrying foreigners. Seeking family counseling or engaging in open dialogues can help bridge any gaps and foster understanding and acceptance among family members.

It is also important to consider potential issues that may arise with the foreign spouse and their families. Differences in traditions, values, and expectations can sometimes lead to conflicts within the marriage. Emirati women should be prepared to address these challenges and seek support when needed.

Support and Resources for Emirati Women Marrying Foreigners

Emirati women who choose to marry foreigners do not have to navigate the complexities of intercultural marriages alone. There are various government organizations, non-governmental organizations, and support groups that can provide assistance and guidance.

Government organizations such as the Ministry of Interior and the Department of Marriage and Personal Status Affairs offer services and resources to help couples understand and fulfill the legal requirements for marriage. These organizations can also provide assistance in resolving any issues that may arise during the marriage.

Non-governmental organizations and support groups cater to the specific needs of intercultural couples. They offer counseling services, intercultural training, and social support networks to help Emirati women and their partners navigate the complexities of their marriage.

Additionally, seeking counseling or legal assistance from professionals who specialize in intercultural marriages can provide valuable insights and guidance for Emirati women. These professionals can offer practical advice, address any concerns, and help Emirati women make informed decisions for their future.


Marriage is a beautiful union that transcends national borders and cultural boundaries. For Emirati women who choose to marry foreigners, it is essential to have a thorough understanding of the marriage laws and regulations in the UAE. The allowance of civil marriage for non-Muslims in Abu Dhabi provides a viable option for Emirati women who wish to marry foreigners.

While challenges may arise in intercultural marriages, with proper support, understanding, and open communication, Emirati women can navigate these hurdles and build strong and harmonious relationships with their foreign spouses. Seeking professional advice and support can help ensure that Emirati women make informed decisions and have the necessary resources to foster successful intercultural marriages.


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