Marriage Certificate: How to Get Marriage Certificate in Kenya

  • The bride signing a marriage certificate Twitter marriage .com
  • Marriage is a brilliant achievement for most people. However, the process of obtaining a marriage certificate can be quite stressful if you have no idea of how to go about it.

    If you are intending on getting married anytime soon, then there are a couple of things that you need to bear in mind in order to avoid breaking the law. 

    This article will take you through everything you need to know about getting a marriage certificate in Kenya.

    What Is a Marriage Certificate?

    A marriage certificate is a legal document that you are going to use when you need to prove that your marriage has been legally recognized by your State and, by extension, the local authorities.

    For you to obtain a marriage certificate, you need to get married first before you proceed to the office of the Registrar of Marriages to file the Certificate of Marriage.

    There are three legal ways to get married in Kenya:

    A traditional customary union.

    A religious wedding.

    A civil wedding

    What’s the importance of Marriage Certificate

    1. 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.

    2. The certificate enables your spouse joining your health benefits.

    3. The certificate is needed when applying for a foreign visa where one of the couple is working in a foreign country

    4. The certificate is equally needed when applying for a passport and/or some other such document, which contains the name of one’s spouse.

    5. It will be very handy if you have to prove that you are a legally married couple in front of any authority.

    6. The certificate is needed for spouses to file joint taxes and receive tax breaks.

    7. 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.

    8. A marriage certificate can also help you migrate with your family to any country without any restrictions.

    9. If the wife changes her second name and adopts the husband's, 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 newly adopted name.

    marriage certificate

    How much does it cost to get a Kenyan Marriage Certificate?

    A.) Civil Marriage by Notice: Kenyans (only)

    Fee, of Ksh 3,900 is charged for the whole process.

    B.) Civil Marriage by Speial License ( Applies to Kenyans and foreigners)

    A fee of Ksh 9,700 is charged if the wedding is being conducted in the Registrar’s office and Ksh 16,700 if the wedding will take place in a garden.

    C.) Christian/ Hindu marriages by Notice

    A fee Ksh 1,400.00 is charged for the whole process if the wedding is to be done in place of worship.

    If parties had placed a notice of marriage with the intent to celebrate their marriage in a garden, the fee is Ksh 7,200.

    D.) Christian/ Hindu Marriages by Special License

    A fee is Kshs. 7,200.00 is charged if the wedding is being conducted in a licensed place of worship and Kshs 14,200.00 if the wedding takes in a garden.

    E.) Marriages by Special License ( where one party or both parties are foreigners)

    A fee of Ksh 14,200 is charged if the wedding is being conducted in a licensed place of worship and Ksh 21,200 if the wedding takes place in a garden.

    F.) Registration of an Existing Customary Marriage

    A fee of Ksh 3,900 is payable.

    G.) Registration of new customary Marriages

    A fee of Ksh 3,900 is payable.

    What are the required documents for getting a Kenyan Marriage Certificate?

    A.) Required Documents for Marriage by Notice

    (For civil and religious marriage where both parties are Kenyan nationals)

    1. Both parties to appear at the Registrar’s office to fill a Notice form;

    2. Valid ID’s/Passports are required (Copy and original);

    3. Colour Passport size photos;

    4. Death certificate if widowed or divorce decree absolute if divorced;

    5. In the event the divorce decree is more than a year old or a death certificate is more than 2 years old, an Affidavit is required to confirm marital status;

    B.) Required documents for Marriage by Special License

    (Both civil and religious marriages)

    Where both parties are Kenyan nationals

    1. Valid ID’s or Passports (Copy and original)

    2. Birth certificates (Copy and original)

    3. 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 is required to confirm the marital status.

    4. A documented reason to show proof that you do not have time to give a 21-day notice;

    5. Colour passport size photos;

    6. Copy of license of the Minister of Faith to officiate and serial number of the marriage book to be used; (in case of Christian or Hindu marriage).

    7. Wedding invitation card (in case of Christian or Hindu marriage).

    Where One Party is a Kenyan National and the Other a Foreign National

    Kenyan National

    1. Valid  Kenyan National ID’s or Passports (Copy and original).

    2. Birth certificates (Copy and original).

    3. 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.

    4. A documented reason to show proof that you do not have time to give a 21-day notice;

    5. Colour passport size photos;

    Foreign Nationals

    1. Valid passport (Copies and Original)

    2. Birth Certificate (Copies and Original)

    3. Passport size photo (Coloured)

    4. 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

    4. Return air ticket/visa/work permit.

    5. Copy of license of the Minister of Faith to officiate and serial number of the marriage book to be used; (in case of Christian or Hindu marriage).

    6. Wedding invitation card (in case of Christian or Hindu marriage)

    Where Both Parties Are Foreign Nationals

    1. Valid passports (Copies and Original);

    2. Passport size photos (Coloured);

    3. Birth certificates (Copies and Original)

    4. 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

    5. Return air ticket./Visa/Work permit

    6. Copy of license of the Minister of Faith to officiate and serial number of the marriage book to be used; (in case of Christian or Hindu marriage)

    7.  Wedding invitation card (in case of Christian or Hindu marriage)

    Marriage by Refugees:

    •  Must have a valid UNHCR Refugee Mandate or Alien Card

    •  An Affidavit to confirm marital status if applying for a special license.

    How to get marriage certificate Kenya

    Civil /Religious marriage registration 

    The minimum age allowed for marriage by the constitution of Kenya is 21 years of age.

    Notably, the constitution doesn’t have a provision for same-sex marriage. Therefore, it’s not possible to have a legally recognized marriage ceremony when both parties to the union are of similar gender. 

    At least two witnesses must attend the ceremony and both must have attained a minimum 21 years of age.

    The witnesses will be obliged to append their signatures on the Certificate of Marriage offered by the religious or civil leader.

    This certificate will also be signed by the civil officer or minister officiating the wedding, and the duplicate, within seven days, will be presented to the office of the Registrar of Marriages.

    You can deposit the duplicate at your local government office.

    A couple weds at Sheria house

    Process of having a civil wedding at Sheria House 

    1. It is advisable that you be punctual on the specific appointment day.

    Normally, civil wedding celebrations are usually conducted from 9.00am to 3.00am on every weekday that comes after the 21-day notice has expired. In fact, by the time you arrive, you will find several other couples in the queue. 

    2. Once you get to the office of the Registrar at Sheria House, you will be allocated a number on the queue, and you will be asked to wait for your turn from the common waiting area.

    Once it’s your turn, you will be called to one of the rooms where you are required to provide all details of your witnesses. You will also confirm all details as captured on the certificate soft copy before the actual printing.

    3. You will then be ushered to another waiting room next to the room set aside for the wedding alongside your guests and witnesses.

    Notably, you are allowed to bring a minimum of two witnesses and a maximum of 15.

    Here, you will have access to another changing room where brides and grooms can change into their wedding attire or apply make up to glam their civil marriage ceremony. 

    4. Once it’s your turn, an officer will call out your names and those of your guests.

    You will then access the marriage room on one door as the couple that was right ahead of you leaves through another door.

    The couple and the two witnesses will sit in the front seats, and the ceremony will now commence. 

    5. You will be asked to confirm your intention and decision to get married before repeating the vows after the registrar. The registrar will then ask for the rings and afterwards you may kiss.

    6. You will be issued with three hard copies of the marriage certificate to sign alongside your witnesses. At this point, your guests are allowed to sing, and the registrar will sign all copies of the certificates and issue two to the couple. 

    7. You will then move to one decorated side of the room for the photo session.

    This will be followed by lots of congratulatory handshakes and hugs before it’s time for you to exit via the other door and the officer invites another couple in the room.

    Note: No cake-cutting, dancing, or popping of champagne takes place at the registrar’s office. 

    Customary Marriage registration

    1. The two individuals willing to enter a marriage contract must take part in the critical customary rites depending on their Kenyan communities.

    2. After the customary rites, they must notify the registrar within 90-day period of their intention to register their union.

    This notification completes with Form CM1 that attracts a fee of Ksh 600.

    3. The registrar then puts up a fourteen-day notice inviting objections from parties that may be disputing the union.

    4.  In the event of objections, claimed are received, heard and determined.

    5.  If no objectives or objections are arising have been handled, the Registrar will then issue the parties with an acknowledgment certificate also known as Form CM2 that attracts an additional Ksh 600 fee.

    6.  The two individuals must then apply for registration of their marriage using Form CM3 and must attach a copy of the acknowledgment certificate they got from the registrar in step five.

    Form CM3 attracts a fee of Ksh 2500 and Ksh 200.

    7.  This is the final step whereby after the Registrar is satisfied with the application and having done the relevant investigations issues a marriage certificate.

    The whole process will attract a fee of Ksh 3900.

    How to contact the Registrar of Marriages

    It is recommended that any couple intending to get married in any part of Kenya visit the Registrar of Marriages office in Nairobi for proper guidance.

    Physical address: Sheria House, Harambee Avenue, Nairobi

    The Registrar General’s Reception - Room 209

    The Registrar General’s Office - Room 210

    Telephone number: 222 7461 Text 37180/37015.

    Postal address: P. O. Box 30031, Harambee Avenue