Civil Marriage Process In Kenya

This article focuses on the civil marriage process in Kenya. Civil marriage is one of the five systems of marriage in Kenya recognised by the Marriage Act 2014. It is a type of marriage that is performed and recognised by a government official.

Civil marriages in Kenya are conducted in the Registrar of Marriages, Deputy County Commissioners or Assistant County Commissioner’s offices. They can be conducted through notice or by special license.

Civil marriages can be conducted by notice if both parties are Kenyan nationals. A special license is necessary where any of the parties is a foreign national or both are foreign nationals, they are monogamous in nature or both parties are unable to give a 21 days notice.

Requirements For Civil Marriage By Notice (Kenyans only) 

  • Both parties to appear before the Registrar of Marriages office to fill a Notice form.
  • Valid ID/Passport (copy and original).
  • Coloured passport size photo.
  • 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 two tears, an affidavit to confirm marital status.
  • A fee of Kshs 3,900, which is the total cost for the whole process.

Procedure For Civil Marriage By Notice

  • Visit the office of the Registrar of Marriages and fill out a Notice of intention to marry form and wait for 21 days. The form costs Kshs 200.
  • After the period of 21 days, the couple fills the affidavit under S 11 of the Marriage Act and then gets it commissioned by the registrar and completes a marriage certificate form.
  • If the application is approved, the respective couple pays a fee of Kshs 1500 to book a date for the marriage. The marriage must take place within 3 months from the date of giving the 21 days notice.
  • On the date of marriage, the couple will go to the Registrar’s office with two witnesses. The couple will be granted a marriage certificate which is valid as long as the couple is married. Two hard copies of the marriage certificate are issued to the couple while one is retained at the Attorney General’s office.

Requirements For Civil Marriage By Special License

1. Where both parties are Kenyan nationals.

  • Valid ID or Passport (copy and original).
  • Birth certificate (copy and original).
  • Proof of no impediment to marriage through an affidavit to state marital status, separate affidavit if single or joint affidavit if married under customary law.
  • Death certificate (in the case of a widowed person).
  • Divorce decree absolute in the case of a divorced person.
  • A documented reason to show proof that you do not have time to give a 21 days notice.
  • Coloured passport size photos.
  • Both parties to appear before the Registrar when applying.
  • The fee charged is Kshs 9,700 if the wedding is being conducted in the Registrar’s office and Kshs 16,700 if the wedding will take place in a garden.

2. Where one party is a Kenyan national and the other a foreign national

Kenyan national

  • Valid ID/Passport.
  • Birth certificate.
  • Proof of impediment to marriage through an affidavit to state marital status for the Kenyan national, death certificate if applicable, divorce decree absolute in the case of a divorced person.
  • Coloured passport size photo.
  • A documented reason to show proof that you don’t have time to give a 21 days notice.

Foreign national

  • Valid passport (copies and original).
  • Birth certificate.
  • Coloured passport size photo.
  • Proof of impediment to marriage.
  • Return air ticket/ visa/ work permit.
  • Both parties to appear before the Registrar when applying.
  • Fee is Kshs 9,700 if the wedding is being conducted in the Registrar’s office and Kshs 16,700 if the wedding takes place in a garden.

Where both parties are foreign nationals

  • Valid passport (copies and original).
  • Coloured passport size photo.
  • Birth certificate (copies and original).
  • Proof of no impediment to marriage through certificate of no impediment to marriage, death certificate if applicable and divorce decree absolute if the person is divorced.
  • Return air ticket/ visa/ work permit.
  • Both parties to appear before the Registrar when applying.
  • Fee is Kshs 9,700 if the wedding is being conducted in the Registrar’s office and Kshs 16,700 if it takes place in a garden.

Marriage by Refugees

  • Must have a valid UNHCR refugee mandate or alien card.
  • To swear an affidavit to confirm marital status if applying for a special license.

Registrar of Marriages Contacts

Location: Ground Floor, Sheria House, Harambee Avenue, Nairobi.

Contact: 020 2227 4619, 0700 072 929.

Email: info@ag.go.ke.

Zack Abuyeka

I am the third eye.My duty is to keep you updated of the current trends and events happening round the globe.