The UAE announced a Federal Decree-Law on Personal Status to all non-Muslim foreigners in the country, to be applied from 1st February 2023.

The Federal Personal Status Law comes in line with the UAE’s continuous efforts to develop its legislative ecosystem and supports the country’s endeavours and ambitions for the next fifty years, through strengthening the country’s position as a destination for tolerance, family stability and demographic diversity.

The provisions of the Decree-Law apply to non-Muslim foreigners residing in the country unless someone adheres to the application of his country’s law. Moreover, non-Muslim foreigners may agree to implement other legislation on family or personal status in force in the UAE instead of the provisions of this Decree-Law.

The Decree-Law provisions regulate the marriage conditions and the procedures of contracting and documenting the marriage before the competent courts. The Decree-Law specifies the procedures of divorce that can be initiated jointly or unilaterally. It organises the procedures for settling the financial claims after divorce, and the arrangement of joint custody for the children. Moreover, the Decree-Law organises the procedures for inheritance and testaments (wills) and proofs of paternity.