Need to legalise your foreign marriage certificate in the UAE? Here's a complete guide to help
8 September 2019| Last updated on 9 September 2019
Marriage certificate attestation in Dubai can be a tricky process if you're not sure of the steps to follow...
As per UAE laws, it is illegal for unmarried couples to live together in the country if they are not married. As a result, it is imperative that expatriates living here pay for marriage certificate attestation in order to legally register their marriage in Dubai and UAE.
While the steps are similar with all nationalities, this particular guide focuses on the steps needed to attest a UK marriage certificate in the UAE. The following steps also apply for UK marriage certificate attestation in Abu Dhabi.
Why you need an attested marriage certificate in UK
Living with your partner legally in the UAE is the primary reason for legalisation of marriage certificates amongst expatriates. Yes, it is illegal to share an apartment or villa as a couple without being married, and those caught by officials will be prosecuted.
As a result, for expats moving here, it's crucial that your official marriage certificate from the relevant country is attested and can be recognised by UAE authorities. With a legalised marriage certificate, your marriage can be recognised in the UAE and you won't face any legal problems.
Other important reasons for legalising your certificate include:
- applying for a family residency visa
- being admitted into the hospital for delivery of a baby
- for expatriates to adopt a child
- filing for divorce
- applying for a child's passport
- admitting your child into school
Luckily, it is relatively easy to register your marriage in Dubai and processes have dramatically improved over recent years. Expats have the option of paying a legalisation company to complete all the steps for them for a lump sum, or alternatively, it is cheaper to follow the steps yourself.
How to authenticate your marriage certificate in Dubai
The process of legalising your UK marriage certificate is as follows:
Step 1. Have your official UK document legalised by the Legalisation Office
To start the process of attesting your UK marriage certificate for use in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the UAE, you need to submit your details and pay online at . All marriage certificates issued in the UK must be attested by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO).
It costs only £30 per marriage certificate, plus the cost of courier fees or postage. Since the UAE is in the 'rest of the world' category, you'll need to pay an additional £25 per 1.5kg to courier your legalised certificate back to you in the UAE.
In order to complete this step, you'll need:
- the documents you want to legalise
- a credit or debit card for payment
- the address you want your documents returned to
- access to a printer
Once you have submitted your online application and paid online, you will need to pay for your document to be couriered to the FCO in Milton Keynes. The full address for overseas customers is:
This step takes around 2 working days once your document has been received in the UK, and you should have your marriage certificate returned to you within 10 days, maximum.
What about marriage certificates issued elsewhere?
If your marriage certificate was issued in Ireland, or any of the overseas territories, these are the legalisation bodies you should contact:
- Documents issued in Ireland should be attested by the Irish foreign office
- Documents issued in Iceland must be attested by the Icelandic foreign office
- British Overseas Territories will require attestation by the Government of the Territory concerned, prior to submission for the FCO... These territories include: Anguilla, Montserrat, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Pitcairn Island, British Antarctic Territory, St. Helena-British Indian Ocean Territory, St. Helena dependencies, British Virgin Islands, South Georgia and the South Islands, Falkland Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, Gibraltar.
- Documents issued in a British Crown Dependency must be attested by its own FCO first i.e. Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man
Step 2. Your legalised certificate should now be attested by the UAE Embassy in the UK
To be attested by the UAE Embassy in the UK, please ensure you have completed step #1.
1. To begin step #2, visit the UAE's Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation (MoFAIC) website for their attestation services for UK documents. For this part, you will need to login to the MoFAIC website and register.
It costs AED 150 per document, plus additional courier fees that may vary depending on which serv
2. Select the country as 'The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland', and select attestation type as 'certificate', since this is an individual document.
3. Select 'add new', then scan in your document and upload it. Every page of your marriage certificate must be scanned, as well as the FCO stamp to be reviewed properly.
4. Documents will be reviewed first before payment, which will show a notification as 'pending on review'. Once your certificate has been accepted, you will receive an email to proceed to payment and the notification will display 'status pending on payment'.
5. Make the payment online, print the payment confirmation and attach it along with your documents. Your account will show as 'status pending on receive original documents'.
6. Now, you'll need to send both your marriage certificate and the payment confirmation by courier from the UAE to the embassy's location in the UK. You will also need to enclose a courier form which you can download here. To do this, arrange a courier to drop your delivery off between Monday to Friday, from 9 am until 12 pm. The location to send your application to is:
48 Princes Gate
Email: [email protected]
Tel: +44 2 075 811 281 (between 10 am and 1.30 pm)
7. Once your documents have been received, your profile will display 'status pending on review', and once legalised by the UAE embassy, it will display 'approved'.
8. Lastly, you will need to arrange for a courier to collect your documents between Monday to Friday, from 2 pm until 4pm from the same address as above.
Step 3. Attest your document with the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs
For UK expats that have completed the above two steps, the third and final step is a visit to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) office here in Dubai or across the UAE.
The final stage of legalising your marriage certificate here is completed by the MOFA, which stamps your document with the MOFA seal so it can be accepted by the UAE government for processing of papers here.
Where is the MOFA office in Dubai?
The MOFA office in Dubai is located in front of the Ansar Gallery in Karama. The contact details for the office are as follows:
- Tel: +971 4 404 0000
- Fax: +971 4 357 2112
- Email: [email protected]
- Opening Hours: 8am - 2pm, Sunday to Thursday
The cost of gaining the MOFA stamp and the final stage of your marriage certificate attestation in the UAE is approximately 150 Dhs.
Where is the MOFA office in Abu Dhabi?
If you're attesting your marriage certificate in Abu Dhabi, you should follow steps #1 and #2, and then for the third and final step, visit the MOFA office on King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud Street, Al Bateen. The contact tel for this office is +971 2 222 2000.
Please note, the above information is correct at the time of writing and publication. Any changes to the processes of marriage certificate attestation may occur, so it's always best to doublecheck with government officials and MOFA staff directly.