Unmarried Couples in the UAE
Many of Getting Married in Denmark’s clients are professionals who are moving to or living in UAE for work or unmarried couples currently living in UAE who wish to marry.
Why do they opt for marriage?
Living together in cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, in fact the whole of UAE as an unmarried couple is illegal and can result in a prison sentence and deportation.
Many couples simply don’t want to risk this, the companies they work for don’t want to be held responsible, and with little time to plan a larger wedding, the couple will often use the services of GMID and get married in Denmark before moving.
‘A lot of our couples have already planned to marry each other at some point’ Says Getting Married in Denmark’s Director, Arezoo Clarck Sørensen.
"A change of living situation, usually because of work, sees this event come to them a lot quicker than they expected. Some of our clients just want the legalities of their marriage organised for peace of mind, so that they can live together in UAE."
What does the law in UAE state?
Under Sharia law, it is illegal to live with someone of the opposite sex. It doesn’t matter whether you are in a relationship or not. It’s even illegal to be with someone of the opposite sex in a private room or car if you’re unrelated. Holding hands in the street and kissing is also not permitted even when you are married.
It’s said that the police in areas such as Dubai or Abu Dhabi have better things to do with their time than go from door to door checking for unmarried couples living together. Having said that, if for any reason you are caught, you could be prosecuted under the Tawajed clause which can carry a 1 year sentence and deportation. A risk many are not prepared to take.
Do unmarried people live together in UAE?
Yes they do. There may in fact be many unmarried couples living together in UAE and for the most part, they go unnoticed, that is unless they are brought to the police’s attention by chance, another situation or they’re reported by a neighbour.
There are many people willing to risk a potential prosecution but for those who perhaps don’t want to hide their relationship, would like to start a family or those who work for companies that wouldn’t be happy to carry responsibility for the actions of their expat employees, marriage seems a better solution.
Is it possible to marry in UAE?
Marrying in the UAE is possible but at the same time, is said to be near impossible. Procedures vary so much depending on nationality and religion. The process can be a lengthy and a confusing bureaucratic struggle involving many offices and rules, which is why so many couples choose to bypass this and get married in Denmark.
Why do couples choose Denmark?
The most obvious answers to this question is that it’s easy, it’s quick and marriage here is legal and recognised worldwide. Denmark is a wonderful place to visit, with options for those who love the countryside or those who love the adventure of city life. With processing times as quick as a few days and little documentation needed, it’s a perfect solution for those with busy schedules and little time to waste.
What about the romance, we hear you ask?
Arezoo adds ‘A lot of couples might plan a bigger celebration later with family and others have the whole celebration in Denmark. Some keep it all low key often in a very stylish and understated way. With our help, they experience a romantic few days away in Denmark where we have arranged their ceremony, either at the town hall or even in the lounge of a lovely suite they’ve chosen for the trip. Some may initially think this kind of solution can be anything but romantic but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve arranged large weddings and small elopements.
"I have to say, the elopements are my favourite – they are so romantic! These brave, international couples taking a leap, going out in to the unknown so that they can be with each other. I find it incredible, I get to know so many fascinating and beautiful people and I’m glad we can support them through their journey."