You can get married in the UAE if you are 18 years old, but if you are less than the legal age, a judge will have to decide whether you are competent enough to wed.If you are 18 years of age and older but your guardians are stopping the marriage, you can approach a court judge to sort out the issue.
Children ages 15 and older are allowed to work, but under specific conditions, as per the UAE Labour Law. The person should obtain written permission from his guardian or parents. Employers are prohibited from hiring a child below the age of 15.
Anyone who is 21 but who is not subject to any legal action can obtain a trading licence and can be partner in a company or in any other similar commercial activity. If the age of the applicant is 18, he or she must obtain written consent from the guardian and from a judge.
Non-Muslim expatriates 21 years and over can obtain a licence to buy and consume alcohol. It is strictly prohibited to let children of any religion who are under 21 to join people consuming alcohol in public places, even if they are with their own parents. Dubai has also made it tougher to become a nicotine addict and has raised the minimum age to 21 at which a person is allowed to buy cigarettes.
The law was changed in 2003. Elsewhere in the UAE, one must be at least 18 to buy cigarettes.
The Federal Status Law defines a minor as a person who is below 18 years of age. To exercise your rights as an adult, you have to be 21 and be of sound mind and good conduct.
However, 18-year-olds should prove to the Sharia Court that they are competent enough to be given the rights normally reserved for adults.
The UAE has issued strict laws to protect minors.
Age of responsibility
- The age of criminal responsibility in the UAE is seven years. A seven-year-old may face criminal law.
- Those aged seven to 18 years are considered teenagers and the UAE implements the ‘Minors Criminal Law’. They may face life imprisonment for some crimes.
- At the age of 18, one may face the possibility of the imposition of the death penalty, life imprisonment or judicially sanctioned physical punishment.
- At the age of 15 it is compulsory for all UAE residents to obtain an identity card.
- At the age of 21, Emiratis will have the right to vote or to nominate themselves for elections.
- The Ministry of Interior has set 18 years as the minimum age for males and females of all nationalities to be able to obtain a light vehicle driving licence.
- For a motorcycle licence the mimimum age is 17.
- For a heavy vehicle licence it is 20.
- Special needs Emiratis who are 17 are issued a temporary renewable driving licence valid for one year.
- To obtain a legal (mature) status certificate from the court before the completion of 18 years, the minor needs to attend the court with a guardian and witnesses. The application is made at the documentation department and the fee is Dh60. The judge will study the application and may or may not approve the legal status certification.