Adoption in UAE
In the United Arab Emirates, the absence of explicit adoption laws is rooted in the non-formal recognition of adoption within Islamic tradition. Unfortunately, this has given rise
to a common misconception surrounding adoption-related regulations in the UAE.
There’s a widespread belief that not only is adoption prohibited, but also that it’s illegal to
bring an adopted child into the UAE through legal migration.
This blog aims to dispel these misconceptions and provide insights into the procedures
for adopting abandoned children in the UAE. Additionally, it will address the specific
steps non-Muslim expatriates need to follow to ensure the legal recognition of a child
adopted in another country. By exploring these nuances, we aim to offer clarity on the
complex landscape of adoption within the legal framework of the UAE.
While there are no explicit laws for adoption, there are rules in the UAE that allow
people to foster and take care of orphaned or abandoned kids. The Custody Law and
Wadeema’s Law are in place to protect children with unknown parents. Wadeema’s Law,
in Article 24, says that a child without a family, either temporarily or permanently, can be
taken care of by a foster family or a care home. Even though adoption isn’t formally
acknowledged, this law lets foster parents support children with unknown parentage.
Article 10 of the Custody Law sets out the conditions which require the custodian family
i. Muslim/ Emirati and residing in the UAE;
ii. A couple aged at least 25 years;
iii. Never convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude or dishonesty;
iv. Free of diseases or disorders which could affect the child’s health and safety.
Exemptions may be provided in case the diseases do not pose a threat on the
v. Capable of supporting the members and the adopted child financially
vi. Able to care for the child, his health, education, and growth.
vii. Any other condition as decided by the Ministry.
A female Muslim Emirati, residing in the UAE and being at least 30 years old, could be
given custody of a child of unknown parentage if she is single, divorced, widowed or her
husband has been missing for a long time. However, she must be financially capable of
supporting the child.
Adoption for Muslims
The term “kafala” in Arabic signifies fostering, emphasizing the responsibility of
providing parental affection, care, and financial support. However, adopted children do
not inherit legally, retain the surname of their biological parents, and inherit their
characteristics. The relationship doesn’t establish blood ties, but adoptive family members
can be acceptable marital partners. Privacy laws apply when the grown child and
adoptive family members are of the opposite sex, emphasizing that the adoptive family
cannot replace the biological family. Parental legal responsibility includes child care,
parental care, inheritance rights, and custody.
Adoption for Non – Muslims
Non-Muslim expatriates in the UAE can adopt children if the adoption occurs outside the
country and is acknowledged in their home nation. In these cases, the adoption is subject
to the laws of the adopting parent and the child’s respective countries. Upon arrival in the
UAE, adopted children enjoy equal rights and protection as biological children, with no
legal differentiation between the two under UAE legislation.
Procedure to Follow to process the adoption in UAE
If you wish to process the adoption in the UAE, here are the steps that you need to
i. Complete the home study program with a qualified psychologist or adoption
ii. Gather and submit all required paperwork (must be certified and attested by
iii. Reach out to an adoption facilitator (from the chosen country or home country of
iv. Flying out to the country of adoption to meet the adoptive child
v. Complete all the paperwork
vi. Apply for a visa and bring the child to UAE