How To Get A Marriage Certificate In Kenya: A Step-By-Step Guide

By Getrude Mathayo / Published May 4, 2021 | 7:47 am




KEY POINTS

A marriage certificate is registered under Civil, Christian, Hindu, or Customary Marriage, confirming that the marriage record exists.


sheria marriage

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.

A marriage certificate is registered under Civil, Christian, Hindu, or Customary Marriage, confirming that the marriage record exists. One needs to get married to obtain a marriage certificate in Kenya.

The process of obtaining a marriage certificate can be quite stressful if you have no idea of how to go about it.

Importance Of Marriage Certificate:

  • The certificate gives you the eligibility to inherit your spouse’s property and jointly own properties without fear of being denied the right to share the matrimonial property when your spouse dies.
  • The certificate enables your spouse to join your health benefits.
  • The certificate is needed when applying for a foreign visa where one of the couples is working in a foreign country.
  • The certificate is equally needed when applying for a passport and/or some other such document, which contains the name of one’s spouse.
  • It will be very handy if you must prove that you are a legally married couple in front of any authority.
  • 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.
  • A marriage certificate can also help you migrate with your family to any country without any restrictions
  • 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.

Requirement documents for getting a Kenyan Marriage Certificate:

  • Required Documents for Marriage by Notice; (For civil and religious marriage where both parties are Kenyan nationals)
  • Both parties to appear at the Registrar’s office to fill a Notice form
  • Valid ID’s/Passports are required (Copy and original)
  • Colour Passport size photos
  • Death certificate if widowed or divorce decree absolute if divorced
  • 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

Required documents for Marriage by Special License (Both civil and religious marriages)

  • Valid ID’s or Passports (Copy and original)
  • Birth certificates (copy and original)
  • Proof of no impediment to marriage through Affidavits, Death Certificate (In the case of widowed persons)-Copy & original, Divorce Decree Absolute. (In the case of divorced persons)-Copy & original
  • Colour Passport size photos
  • A documented reason to show (prove that you do not have time to give a 21-day notice)
  • Copy Pastor’s License- if the marriage is conducted by a church minister & Serial No
  • Wedding invitation (in case of Christian /Hindu wedding)

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

  • Kenyan National
  • Valid Kenyan National IDs or Passports (Copy and original).
  • Birth certificates (copy and original).

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 documented reason to show proof that you do not have time to give a 21-day notice.
  • Colour passport size photos.

For foreign nationals:

  • Valid passport (Copies and Original)
  • Birth Certificate (Copies and Original)
  • Passport size photo (Coloured)

Proof of no impediment to marriage through:

  • A Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage.

  • Death Certificate. (In the case of a 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

  • Return air ticket/visa/work permit.
  • Copy of license of the Minister of Faith to officiate and a serial number of the marriage book to be used; (in case of Christian or Hindu marriage).
  • Wedding invitation card (in case of Christian or Hindu marriage)
  • Where both parties are foreign nationals:
  • Valid passports (Copies and Original).
  • Passport size photos (Coloured).
  • Birth certificates (Copies and Original)
  • Prove of no impediment to marriage
  • Return air ticket. /Visa/Work permit
  • 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)
  • 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 much it costs to get a Kenyan marriage certificate:

  1. Civil Marriage by Notice: Kenyans (only): Fee, of Kshs 3,900 is charged for the whole process.
  2. Civil Marriage by Special License (Applies to Kenyans and foreigners): A fee of Kshs 9,700 is charged if the wedding is being conducted in the Registrar’s office and Kshs 16,700 if the wedding will take place in a garden
  3. Christian/ Hindu marriages by Notice: A fee of 1400 shillings is charged for the whole process if the wedding is to be done in place of worship.
  4. If parties had placed a notice of marriage with the intent to celebrate their marriage in a garden, the fee is Kshs 7,200.
  5. 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
  6. Marriages by Special License (where one party or both parties are foreigners): A fee of Kshs 14,200 is charged if the wedding is being conducted in a licensed place of worship and Kshs 21,200 if the wedding takes place in a garden.
  7. Registration of an Existing Customary Marriage: A fee of Kshs 3,900 is payable.
  8. Registration of new customary Marriages: A fee of Kshs 3,900 is payable

How to get a marriage certificate Kenya

  1. Civil /Religious marriage registration

The minimum age allowed for marriage by the constitution of Kenya is 18 years of age.

Notably, the constitution does not 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.

  1. Process of having a civil wedding at Sheria House
  2. It is advisable that you be punctual on the specific appointment day. Normally, civil wedding celebrations are usually conducted from 9.00 am to 3.00 am 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. You will then be ushered to another waiting room next to the room set aside for the wedding alongside your guests and witnesses
  6. 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 makeup to glam their civil marriage ceremony
  7. Once it’s your turn, an officer will call out your names and those of your guests.
  8. 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 afterward, you may kiss
  9. You will be issued 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
  10. You will then move to one decorated side of the room for the photo session.

Customary Marriage registration

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

The registrar then puts up a fourteen-day notice inviting objections from parties that may be disputing the union. In the event of objections, claims are received, heard, and determined.

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 Kshs 600 fee.

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 Kshs 2500 and Kshs 200

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.







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