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Can an unmarried couple be living in Dubai?


The answer is Yes !

Although with the new UAE laws an unmarried couple can now cohabitate; its important to remember that you are living in an Islamic country that lives by Sharia laws. This article takes you how rules have changed overtime and further talks about unmarried couples living in Dubai.

If you are living with your partner in Dubai; you might also find the article on unexpected pregnancy for single women in the UAE helpful

Dubai laws for the unmarried couples living together

Dubai and other emirates in the UAE are governed by Islamic laws known as Sharia laws which used forbid two unmarried people of opposite sex to live together for many years. The ‘Tawajed Clause’ prohibited indeed two people from opposite sex to live together without being legally married.

Dubai attracts many tourists and expats from all over the world. No matter if you are visiting UAE as a tourist or if you are a long-term expat, the same law was being applied for everyone.

Dubai is a regional hub which attracts many people from different countries, origins, orientations and religions. Depending on the reason for being in the city, if someone is inviting his girlfriend or boyfriend to live with, it was illegal. However, most people who are coming to Dubai for a short-stay, like tourists, had no issue at all. Yet, if someone complained or if a couple got caught by law makers in Dubai, they were in great trouble and faced fine, jail or even deportation.

In 2018, a 20 years old man and a 19 years old woman, both Pakistani, ‘were initially charged with having sex out of wedlock, but a medical examination found that they had not, Ajman Criminal Court was told.’

‘A young, unmarried couple have been jailed for a month and will be deported after completing the sentence after they were convicted of living together for three weeks and kissing’

To many couples’ relief in November 2020 the situation has changed. The UAE government has introduced the latest edition of the penal code which now officially allows people of unmarried couples to live together. However there was still a hesitance in the law for unexpected pregnancy and delivering a baby out of the wedlock.

What type of marriages are legal in Dubai?

Not every marriage is considered legal and is accepted by Dubai law. Same sex people, even if legally married back home, will face great difficulty if found in an inappropriate situation in Dubai.

UAE’s laws only recognize heterosexual marriages which have been registered and can be verified with legal certifications if needed. However, no one is going to ask you for a marriage certificate, unless you caught the attention of Dubai’s legislators.

Back home, marriages or religious marriages are only considered legal if you have proper marriage certification in your possession. Same-sex marriages are not recognized in UAE due to the Shariah law, even if a proper and valid certification has been issued in your home country.  

So what did it mean if an unexpected pregnancy occurred without being married ?

Unlike most western countries, Dubai had its own rules and followed it very strictly. Unmarried women were either expected to tie the knot or return back to their home country. Having a baby outside wedlock was a punishable offence with a handsome fine, jail time and might even lead to deportation.

Believe it or not; most couples opt for turning this little hiccup into their little adventure and got married instead. In recent years, destination weddings in Georgia became the dream destination for many expats living in the UAE. This official ceremony can be as fancy or simple as you would like it to be.

According to recent updates, Unmarried women who become pregnant in the United Arab Emirates will no longer have to flee the country for an abortion or marry in the latest move by the Gulf state, 2021

Final word on living with your boyfriend or girlfriend in Dubai

Are you considering coming to Dubai ? Are you planning to bring your partner to UAE to live together? It’s definitely great to know that you no longer will be a law-breaker and won’t get in trouble for living with your partner.

And if you are planning to start a family and have kids together you don’t really need to organize a lavish marriage to officialize your relationship in front of the UAE authorities, a marriage certificate is enough to abide by the law to give a birth. You also do not need to get married in the UAE, if you have a marriage proof from your home country or any other country, this will be enough.

Do you know someone struggling to live in the UAE as an unmarried couple before the new family laws? Share the happy news with them!

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