MIXED MARRIAGE IN ARAB COUNTRIES

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Mixed marriage has become increasingly common as religion, culture or nationality are no longer a barrier. In this article, we will focus on the procedure, documentation and conditions required for a foreigner to marry an Arab. The formalities are abundant and vary according to each country’s regulations. However, the documents requested by Arab authorities are very similar.

Morocco

The necessary documents to be provided by the foreign spouse in order to marry a Moroccan are:

  • Marriage authorisation issued by the family judge in charge of marriages.
  • Certificate of legal capacity to contract marriage issued by the civil register. If you live in Morocco, you will have to request it from the embassy or consulate of your country in Rabat.
  • Photocopy of the certificate of conversion to Islam, in case the foreign spouse is not a Muslim. Only applicable for marriage between a Moroccan woman and a non-Muslim man.
  • Literal copy of birth certificate.
  • Civil status certificate.
  • Photocopy of the ID card, passport with the page indicating the date of entry into Morocco.
  • Criminal record certificate issued by the Ministry of Justice in Rabat.
  • Medical certification for the purpose of marriage.

On the other hand, the Moroccan spouse must provide a birth certification, medical certificate, certification of criminal record and a single status certificate. All these documents must be translated into Arabic and apostilled in order to be approved by Moroccan authorities.

Quranic marriage is the only option for a foreigner to marry a Moroccan, since civil marriage does not exist in Morocco. The marriage is performed by Aduls, akin to notaries or Muslim clerics. In order to be eligible for marriage, the foreign partner must previously process a file to obtain the certificate of capacity to marry. This document is required and must be presented along with other documents to the Aduls. It is issued by the civil register of his or her residence or the consular civil register corresponding to the domicile of the Moroccan spouse. If the marriage takes place without this document, it would not be possible to register the marriage in the country of the foreign contracting party.

After celebrating the religious marriage and in order to be recognised in the country of the foreign spouse, he or she must apply for its transcription. This process is carried out at the civil register that corresponds to his/her place of residence. The documents required for marriage registration are:

  • Marriage declaration form completed and signed by both spouses.
  • Marriage certification.
  • Copy of the certificate of legal capacity to get married.
  • Recent birth certification of both parties.
  • Photocopy of the National Identity Card of the two contracting parties (C.I.N for Moroccan citizens).
  • Certificate of residence of both spouses.

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United Arab Emirates

To start mixed marriage procedures in UAE, both parties must reside in that country, regardless of their nationality. The documentation required for people who want to marry an Emirati is:

  • Original birth certificate.
  • Certificate of marital status (must be validated by the MFA of your country and of the UAE).
  • Original passport.
  • Resident visa.
  • Medical certificate for marriage.

The documentation may vary, so it is best to check with your embassy. In some UAE countries, the contracting parties must register at their embassy or consulate at least 2 months before the planned wedding date. After having issued a no objection certificate, they will be authorized to marry within 10 following days. From then onwards, they can register their marriage certificate.

The registration of marriage held in UAE requires the following documents to be submitted to the respective embassy in Abu Dhabi:

  • Application form for marriage registration at the consular civil register.
  • Birth certificate of both parties.
  • Emirati marriage certificate, along with its sworn translation.
  • Photocopy of ID card or passport of both bride and groom.
  • UAE residence certificate.
  • Affidavit of marital status of each spouse.

After completing all the formalities, without any legal impediment, the marriage will be registered in the Consular Civil Register of Abu Dhabi.

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Saudi Arabia

Those interested in getting married must first initiate a matrimonial file at the civil register corresponding to the residence of any of the contrayents. To process this file, a number of documents must be submitted to the relevant embassy in Riyadh.

To register a marriage between a Saudi national and a foreigner held in Saudi Arabia, it is necessary to submit the following documents:

  • Marriage form completed and signed by both parties.
  • Local marriage contract, duly legalized by the Saudi MFA and translated. It must include marital status of the parties before the marriage is celebrated.
  • Birth certificate of the foreign spouse if not registered at the Consular Civil Register of Riyadh.
  • Affidavit stating the marital status of both contracting parties.
  • Original and photocopy of the identity card or passport of the bride and groom.

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Requirements for mixed marriage in Arab countries

In most Arab countries, the celebration of marriage shall be in accordance with the provisions of Islamic Law or Sharia. The conditions established by this law are the following:

  1. There must be mutual consent.
  2. The minimum age for marriage is 18 years for both parties. Otherwise, the judge’s approval is required.
  3. Dowry or Mahr is a pre-requisite for a marriage, and excessiveness in demanding large Mahr is prohibited.
  4. The fiancé’s age should not be twice the age of the fiancée or more. Otherwise, the judge’s approval is sought.
  5. Attendance of the couple.
  6. Presence of bride’s father or his representative and two Muslim witnesses at the wedding ceremony.

It should be noted that, by law, marriage between a Muslim woman and a non-Muslim man is not permitted, without first providing proof of his conversion. However, this does not apply in Tunisia, where this law has been disolved.

Finally, in case of a non-Muslim wedding, it can take place in a temple or church. However, you should provide a marriage license.

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