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Kenya - Contracting a Civil Marriage

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Procedure[edit]


Apply In-Person:

  • The first step is to contact a civil marriage in Kenya is filling a Notice of Marriage with the Office of the Registrar General and waiting for up to 21 days. A fee of 600 Kenya Shillings is charged for filling the notice.
  • Upon the expiry of the 21-day waiting period, the couple can proceed to the next step.
  • Have the marriage ceremony
If the ceremony is to take place in a:
  1. Registrar of Marriages office (Civil marriage by notice ):
    a) You will be required to pay Ksh 3,300, and after which you given a marriage date according to the official diary.
    b) Upon picking the date, the marriage ceremony can either take place in the Registrar of Marriages, Deputy County Commissioners or Assistant County Commissioners offices.
    c) During the ceremony before the couple repeats the vows after the registrar, they are asked to confirm their intention to get married.
    d) After the vows have been exchanged three hard copies of the Marriage Certificate are given to the couple and their witnesses to sign.
    e) The registrar signs all the copies of the marriage certificate as well and issues two of them to the couple. One of the certificates is retained by at the Attorney General’s Office.
    The total cost of this process is Ksh 3900

  2. Civil Marriage by Special License (applies to Kenyans and foreigners) :
  • If in some reason you do not want to wait for the 21 day wait period to elapse or you want to have the wedding ceremony in another place other than the registrar’s offices, you can apply for a special license for marriage.
a) A Fee of Kshs 9,700 is charged, if wedding is being conducted in the Registrar’s office and Kshs. 16,700.00 if the wedding will take place in a garden.
b) Upon picking the date, the marriage ceremony can take place either in the registrar’s office or in the garden.
c) During the ceremony before the couple repeats the vows after the registrar, they are asked to confirm their intention to get married.
d) After the vows have been exchanged three hard copies of the Marriage Certificate are given to the couple and their witnesses to sign.
e) The registrar signs all the copies of the marriage certificate as well and issues two of them to the couple. One of the certificates is retained by at the Attorney General’s Office.

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Required Documents[edit]


  1. Required Documents for Marriage by Notice (for civil where both parties are Kenyan nationals)
    a) Both parties to appear before the Registrar’s to fill a Notice form.
    b) Valid I.D’s/Passports are required (Copy and original).
    c) Colour Passport size photos.
    d) Death certificate if widowed or divorce decree absolute if divorced.
    e) In the event the Divorce decree is more than a year old or a death certificate is more than 2 years old, an Affidavit to confirm marital status.
  2. Required documents for Civil Marriage by Special License
  3. A. Where both parties are Kenyan nationals:
    a) Valid I.D’s or Passports (Copy and original)
    b) Birth certificates (Copy and original)
    c) Proof of no impediment to marriage through:
    • Affidavits to state marital status: Separate Affidavits if single or joint affidavit, if married under customary law.
    • Death Certificate (In the case of widowed persons): Copy and original.
    • Divorce Decree Absolute. (In the case of divorced persons indicating current status): Copy and original.
    • In the event the Divorce decree is more than a year old or a death certificate is more than 2 years old, an Affidavit to confirm marital status.
    a. A documented reason to show proof that you do not have time to give a 21-day notice;
    b. Colour passport size photos.
B. Where One Party is a Kenyan National and the Other a Foreign National:
i. Kenyan National
a) Valid I.D’s or Passports (Copy and original)
b) Birth certificates (Copy and original)
c) Proof of no impediment to marriage through:
  • Affidavits to state marital status: Separate Affidavits if single or joint affidavit if married under customary law;
  • Death Certificate (In the case of widowed persons): Copy and original;
  • Divorce Decree Absolute. (In the case of divorced persons indicating current status): Copy and original;
  • In the event the Divorce decree is more than a year old or a death certificate is more than 2 years old, an Affidavit to confirm marital status.
d) A documented reason to show proof that you do not have time to give a 21-day notice;
e) Colour passport size photos;
ii. Foreign National
a) Valid passport (Copies and Original)
b) Birth Certificate (Copies and Original)
c) Passport size photo (Coloured)
d) Proof of no impediment to marriage through:
  • A Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage.
  • Death Certificate. (In the case of widowed person)- or
  • Divorce Decree Absolute. (In the case of divorce person indicating current status)- Copy and original
  • In the event the Divorce certificate is more than a year old or a death certificate that is more than 2 years old, a Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage
e) Return air ticket/visa/work permit.
C. Where Both Parties Are Foreign Nationals
a) Valid passports (Copies and Original);
b) Passport size photos (Coloured);
c) Birth certificates (Copies and Original)
d) Prove of no impediment to marriage through:
  • Certificates of No Impediment to Marriage.
  • Death Certificate. (In the case of widowed person)- Copy and original
  • Divorce Decree Absolute/Decree Nisi. (In the case of divorce person indicating current status)- Copy and original
  • In the event the Divorce decree is more than a year old or a death certificate that is more than 2 years old, a Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage
e) Return air ticket./Visa/Work permit
D. Marriage by Refugees:
a) Must have a valid UNHCR Refugee Mandate or Alien Card
b) An Affidavit to confirm marital status if applying for a special license.

Office Locations & Contacts[edit]

The Registrar Of Marriages - Head Office
Sheria House, Harambee Avenue
P.O. Box 40112-00100,
Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: 020-2227461-9 / 020-2251355 / 0732 529995 / 0700 072929
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: Link

Registrar of Marriages Desk - Huduma Center
Huduma Center Locations

E- Citizen Protal - Office of the Attoney General
E- Citizen Link

Eligibility[edit]


  • Parties should have attained the legal age of marriage
  • The parties should have no impendent to marriage



Fees[edit]


  • Civil Marriage by Notice: (Kenyans Only). A fee of Kshs. 3,900 is charged for the whole process
  • Civil Marriage by Special License (applies to Kenyans and foreigners). A Fee of Kshs 9,700 is charged if wedding is being conducted in the Registrar’s office and Kshs. 16,700.00 if the wedding will take place in a garden.



Validity[edit]


  • A marriage certificate is valid until one of the spouse’s death or in the event of an absolute divorce.



Documents to Use[edit]

Please attach documents that can be used by people. e.g. links

Sample Documents[edit]

Please attach sample completed documents that would help other people.



Processing Time[edit]


  • Notification period 21 days
  • Marriage certificate : Immediately after marriage



Related Videos[edit]


Kenya - Contracting a Civil Marriage - English
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Kenya – Jinsi ya kuoa kupitia ndoa ya kiraia - Kiswahili
<video type="//www.youtube.com/">Rgw3DovZ1_s|width="560" height="340"</video>

Instructions[edit]


  • Civil marriages are conducted in the Registrar of Marriages, Deputy County Commissioners or Assistant County Commissioners offices.
  • A marriage certificate is obtained if you and your spouse have agreed to marry and there is no objection to the marriage.
  • Both parties must be at least 18 years of age and must get in touch with the registrar of marriages to register and legalize their union.
  • Parties must complete the notice of intention which runs for 21 days but can apply for a special license which waves the 21 day period but attracts extra fees. The registrar of marriages has the right to give or deny the special license.
  • After the 21 day period, both parties are to present themselves to the Registrar of Marriages, Deputy County Commissioners or Assistant County Commissioners offices for the marriage ceremony.



Required Information[edit]


  1. Full Names of both parties
  2. Dates of birth
  3. Valid identity proof
  4. Citizenship
  5. Address
  6. Proof of death of spouse if widowed
  7. Proof of divorce if divorced
  8. Proof of no impendent of marriage



Need for the Document[edit]


  • The certificate gives you the eligibility to inherit your spouse’s property and also jointly own properties without fear of being denied the right to share the matrimonial property when your spouse dies.
  • The certificate enables your spouse joining your health benefits.
  • The certified is needed when Applying for foreign visa as one of the couple is working in a foreign country.
  • The certificate is needed when applying for passport and/or some other such document, which contains the name of one’s spouse.
  • It will be very handy if you have to prove that you are legally married couple in front any authority.



Information which might help[edit]


  1. Translation:
    Any document in a language other than English MUST be translated and verified as true translation by the Respective Embassies
  2. Issuance of a certified copy of an entry of marriage:
    After a marriage has been celebrated; the Registrar of Marriages is mandated to register the said marriage if satisfied that the marriage was celebrated in compliance with the provisions of the Marriage Act, 2014.
  3. All marriage certificates are certified centrally at the Nairobi office before being transmitted to the ministry of foreign affairs and international trade for authentication. The cost of a certified copy is Kshs. 1,100 and it takes 7 days to process.



Other uses of the Document/Certificate[edit]


  • The certificate is needed for Spouses to file joint taxes and receive tax breaks.
  • If you plan on buying a house and need to apply for a mortgage loan, many lenders will ask for a marriage certificate. This is so lenders can check your credit history jointly and separately.
  • Marriage certificate can also help you migrate with your family to any country without many restrictions.
  • If wife changes her second name and adopts the husbands. All her old documents are in her maiden name. The marriage certificate will bind them to her as it will show both her maiden name and the new adopted name.


External Links[edit]




Others[edit]


Notes

  • In the event that either one or both parties are widowed, the Death Certificate of the departed spouse and a copy must be produced.
  • In the event that either one or both parties are divorced, a Divorce Decree Absolute must be produced.
  • Should the documents be in any language other than English, an official English translation must be attached.
  • After 21 days, the couple completes the affidavit under S 11 of the Marriage Act, gets it commissioned by the Registrar and completes a Marriage Certificate Form.