UK-Issued Islamic Marriage Certificates – Where Are They Recognised?
At present, Islamic marriages are not recognised as legally binding by UK law. This is out of step with many other religious ceremonies which are recognised such as Jewish and Quaker marriages. Unless the married couple go on to seek a civil ceremony, their marriage is not considered legal and will miss out on rights enjoyed by other married couples. Does this apply to other countries and can they be legalised for use overseas?
A poll for Channel 4 found that 61% of couples who have a Nikah, or Muslim ceremony, do not seek to have their marriage made legal under UK law in a civil ceremony and this only seems to be increasing trend. This can cause issues when wanting to access legal services or move abroad and have the marriage recognised. As specialists in the legalisation sector, we have seen inconsistencies with which countries will attest these certificates and accept them as official notices of marriage for family visas. Here we look at the most common destinations and their stance on these documents.
The Qatar Embassy in London will not accept Islamic marriage certificates for legalisation purposes. Despite being a Muslim country, it is currently the only Gulf state which does not accept these documents in any form. If you are moving to Qatar you will be required to have a civil ceremony to support your Nikah and have this document attested instead.
If you are planning on moving to the UAE, you will be able to have your Islamic marriage certificate attested for use in the country. The document itself will need to be certified on the original before the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will apply an Apostille, which is the first stage of all attestation processes, but once the Apostille is applied the UAE Embassy will then apply their consular stamp.
The Kuwaiti Embassy will legalise an Islamic Marriage certificate, though if the parties on the certificate are British citizens a copy of both passports must be presented along with the certificate when requesting the consular stamp. No GRO-issued (General Register Office) civil copy of a certificate is required to support the Islamic certificate.
If you are wanting to use a UK-issued Islamic marriage certificate in Egypt, then you will be able to have this legalised within the UK at their Embassy in London. The document itself will need to be certified on the original before the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will apply an Apostille, which is the first stage of all attestation processes. Once the Apostille is applied the Egyptian Embassy will then supply their consular stamp.
The Embassy for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will stamp an Islamic Marriage certificate for attestation purposes. The document itself will need to be certified on the original, followed by an Apostille being applied by the FCO. You can then request a consular stamp from the Embassy, but be aware an individual can not submit a document to the Embassy directly. You must employ an agent to do this on your behalf, which is a service we are able to supply.
Translations of the certificate
The Islamic marriage certificates can be issued in Urdu, Arabic, English and sometimes dual-language. If your certificate is not an English version or dual-language, you will need a translation to support the original document or request a new copy from the venue for legalisation purposes.
If you would like to get your Islamic marriage certificate attested for use along with your other documents, get in touch with one of our specialist advisers for a quotation. We’ll be more than happy to help.