Al Mazmy

Adoption in the UAE

Adoption in the UAE

Adoption is a process that allows a person or a couple to legally become the parent(s) of a child who is not biologically theirs. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), adoption is governed by a set of laws and regulations that aim to ensure the best interests of the child and protect their rights. Islam forbids adoption; however, it is legal in some forms in the United Arab Emirates. It is legal for UAE residents and Muslim expats to care for, sponsor, or foster an orphaned or abandoned child, only when the procedure is carried out through authorized and legal charitable organizations. Additionally, the child is not permitted to adopt the foster parents’ family name. He or she shall keep their biological parent’s last name. Adoption is known as kafala in Islam, which is derived from the Arabic word kafala, which meaning ‘to feed.’ It symbolizes the link that exists between a foster parent and a child. The following are some of the Islamic regulations that govern this relationship:

  1. Adopted children retain their biological family names and do not have their names changed to fit their adoptive parents and family.
  2. Adopted children inherit from their biological parents, not their adoptive parents.
  3. When the child reaches maturity, members of the adopted family are no longer considered blood relations and hence are not mahram to him or her. The term ‘mahram’ refers to a legal relationship that rules marriage and other aspects of life.

The child’s biological family is always given priority, and the connections to them are never severed. Adoptive parents must provide their child love, care, and financial security, but the child does not inherit anything from the adoptive parents.


In the UAE, adoption is governed by Federal Law No. 28 of 2005 on Personal Status Law. According to this law, adoption is only permitted under certain conditions, and the process must be overseen by the relevant authorities.

It is important that the child is an orphan or abandoned. Orphans are defined as children who have lost both parents, while abandoned children are those who have been left by their parents or whose parents are unknown. In both cases, the child must be in need of care and protection, and the adoption must be in their best interests.

Furthermore, the adoptive parents must be at least 25 years old and at least 18 years older than the child they wish to adopt. The adoptive parents must also be in good health and of good character, with no criminal record.

The adoption process in the UAE must be overseen by the courts, and the courts have the final say on whether to approve or reject an adoption application. The process typically involves submitting an application to the courts, providing proof of eligibility, and undergoing a series of interviews and assessments to determine suitability as adoptive parents.


Non-Muslims are not allowed to adopt in the UAE under the UAE law. Non-Muslim expats, however, are permitted to adopt children if the adoption takes place outside of the UAE and is recognized in their home country. In such instances, adoption is governed by the laws of the adopting parent’s and child’s respective countries. Adopted children have the same rights and protection as biological children once they and their parents arrive in the UAE. It is worth noting that adoption in the UAE is not the same as in some other countries. In the UAE, adoption does not confer full legal and social rights to the child as it does in some other jurisdictions. For example, the child does not automatically acquire the family name of the adoptive parents, and they are not considered an heir under Islamic inheritance law.

Once the adoption is approved, the adoptive parents must register the child with the relevant authorities, including the Ministry of Interior, the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments, and the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs.


In conclusion, adoption in the UAE is governed by a set of strict laws and regulations that aim to ensure the best interests of the child and protect their rights. The process is overseen by the courts, and the eligibility criteria are designed to ensure that only suitable candidates are approved for adoption. While adoption in the UAE may not confer all the legal and social rights that it does in some other countries, it remains an important way to provide care and protection to orphaned and abandoned children in the country.


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