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Marriage Certificate: How to Legalize Your Marriage in Kenya

Marriage Certificate

Marriage Legalization is the process through which a Marriage Certificate is verified and attested through a legal process for use abroad or in another country. The process determines that the document presented is valid for use and can be accepted as a genuine document in the country where it’s required. 

Kenya has not signed the Hague Convention that abolishes the legalization of documents issued in another Kenya. 

Apply In-Person :

  • The first step to obtaining a marriage certificate in Kenya is filling out 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 filing the notice.
  • Upon the expiry of the 21-day waiting period, the couple can proceed to the next step.If the ceremony is to take place in a:
  1. Registrar of Marriages office (Civil marriage by notice)
    1. You will be required to pay Ksh 3,300, and after which you will be given a marriage date according to the official diary.
    2. Upon picking the date, the marriage ceremony can either take place in the Registrar of Marriages, Deputy County Commissioners or Assistant County Commissioners offices.
    3. During the ceremony before the couple repeats the vows after the registrar, they are asked to confirm their intention to get married.
    4. After the vows have been exchanged three hard copies of the Marriage Certificate are given to the couple and their witnesses to sign.
    5. 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 the Attorney General’s Office. The total cost of this process is Ksh 3900
  2. Licensed place of worship
    1. You will be required to pay Ksh 800 after the 21-day notice to obtain a Registrar certificate.
    2. The registrar’s certificate is then taken to the religious official who shall preside over the marriage ceremony. The couple should marry within three months.
    3. During the ceremony, they are asked to confirm their intention to get married.
    4. After the vows have been exchanged three hard copies of the Marriage Certificate are given to the couple and their witnesses to sign.
    5. The religious official also signs all the copies of the marriage certificate and issues one copy to the couple. One of the certificates is retained by the official and the other is sent to the Office of the Registrar of Marriages together with a copy of the registrar certificate. The total cost of this process is Ksh 1400.
  3. Where the ceremony shall take place other than the licensed place of worship or Registrar’s Office e.g. A Garden, hotel, etc. a Special License is also needed to License the venue for a wedding even if notice is properly given at a total fee of Ksh. 7200.
  • In the event that you cannot give notice for 21 days and you want the wedding to be done immediately, the following documents will be required.

Documents will be required;

  1. Birth Certificates (Copies & Original)
  2. Identification cards or passports (Copies & Original)
  3. Prove that there is no impediment to marriage e.g.
    1. Affidavits
    2. Death Certificate (In the case of widowed persons)-Copy & original
    3. Divorce Decree Absolute. (In the case of divorced persons)-Copy & original
  4. Colour Passport size photos
  5. A documented reason to show (prove that you do not have time to give a 21-day notice)
  6. Copy Pastor’s License- if the marriage is conducted by a church minister & Serial No
  7. Wedding invitation( in case of Christian /Hindu wedding)
  • In the case of civil marriage by special license. BOTH parties are to appear before the Registrar when applying. A Fee of is 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.
  • In the case of a Christian/Hindu marriage by special license. BOTH parties are to appear before the Registrar when applying. A Fee of is Kshs. 7,200 Is charged if wedding is being conducted in a licensed place of worship and Kshs. 14,200 if the wedding takes places in a garden
  • In the case of a Christian/Hindu marriage by special license involving foreign nationals. A Fee of Kshs. 14,200 is charged if wedding is being conducted in a licensed place of worship and Kshs. 21,200 if the wedding takes place in a garden.
  • In the case of customary marriage
  1. Both parties must be present at the Office of the Registrar of Marriages;
  2. They should Avail a valid I.D’s/passports (original and copy);
  3. 1 color passport photo each;
  4. At the time of registration, the parties MUST NOT have entered into either a CIVIL or a CHRISTIAN marriage;
  5. The registration of a customary marriage is ONLY APPLICABLE to Kenyans who have contracted African customary marriage rites;
  6. The fee payable is Kshs. 3,900.00.

Registration of Customary marriages started on 1st August 2017 and is being piloted in Nairobi ONLY before being rolled out to our regional offices.

Required documents for Marriage by Special License (both civil and religious marriage

  1. Where both parties are Kenyan nationals
    1. Valid I.D 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;
    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)
  2. Where One Party is a Kenyan National and the Other a Foreign National
    1. Kenyan National
      1. Valid I.D’s or Passports (Copy and original)
      2. Birth certificates (Copy and original)
      3. Letter from chief of the hometown were the Kenyan person orginally comes from. 1.000 KES
      4. 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.
      5. A documented reason to show proof that you do not have time to give a 21-day notice;
      6. Colour passport size photos;
    2. Foreign National
      1. Valid passport (Copies and Original)
      2. Copy of your online application
      3. Passport size photo (Coloured)
      4. Registration of Marriage by Special License (S. 33 of the Marriage Act, 2014) 7.000 KES
      5. Certified Copy of an Entry of Marriage 3.300 KES
      6. Certified letter Foreign Office (when person is a Kenyan who marries a foreigner to proof being married with foreigner when visiting his or her country) 20.000 KES
      7. Cyber charges 3.000 KES
      8. 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
      9. Return air ticket/visa/work permit.
      10. 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)
      11. Wedding invitation card( in case of Christian or Hindu marriage)
  3. 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)
  4. 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.

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Written by The County Info

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