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Marriage in Kenya – Civil Marriage in Kenya

Civil Marriage in Kenya – Notice of Intention to Marry Form Kenya

Marriage in Kenya: The Notice runs for 21 days.

  1. In the event that either one or both parties are widowed, the Death Certificate of the departed spouse and a copy must be produced.
  2. In the event that either one or both parties are divorced, a Divorce Decree Absolute must be produced.
  3. 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.

They pay Kshs. 1, 500 and then book a date for the marriage. The marriage must take place within three months from the date of giving the 21-day notice.

Marriage in Kenya – Special License

In the event that parties, for a very good reason cannot give the 21-day notice, the Registrar of Marriages has the discretion to waive the Notice.

This is not a right and can be denied.

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Requirements :

  • Valid Identity Cards or Passports will be the only accepted forms of identification. If a person has any other form of identification, he/she MUST give the 21-day notice.
  • Death Certificate of spouse if widowed and Divorce Decree Absolute if divorced.
  • Documentary evidence of reason why notice cannot be given e.g. invitation letter from an Embassy inviting the applicant for an interview on a specific date.
  • Completed Application form.
  • If application is approved, a fee of Kshs. 6, 250 is paid.
  • A marriage date is then booked.
  • A Special License is also required if the wedding is to take place in a place other than the Registrar’s Office. It is applied for after. Notice has been given. A fee of Kshs.10, 250 is payable.

All couples must bring two witnesses on their marriage day.

Registrar Certificates and Special Licenses for Persons Getting Married In Church Under Cap 150, The Marriage Act – Marriage Laws Kenya 

  • Where couples get married in church under Cap 150, Notice is given both in church and in the Office of the Registrar of Marriages. After the Notice period of 21 days, a Registrar’s Certificate is issued by the Office of the Registrar of Marriages and taken to the Church Minister who shall officiate the ceremony. The notice is given at a fee of Ksh.200 and the Registrar’s Certificate at Ksh.300.
  • A Special License is issued if the couple cannot give the required three weeks notice and the fee is Kshs.5, 050 if a church minister shall preside.
  • Where the ceremony shall take place in a place other than a church or Registrar’s Office e.g. a garden, hotel e.t.c. a Special License is also needed to license the venue for a wedding even if Notice is properly given at a fee of Kshs.5, 050.
  • A church minister must have either a Registrar’s Certificate or a Special License from the Registrar of Marriages to perform a wedding under Cap 150.
Marriage in Kenya

Marriage in Kenya

Marriage Laws Kenya  – Church Ministers Please Take Note

All non-Africans must get married under Cap 150, The Marriage Act because the African Christian Marriage & Divorce Act, Cap 151 which most churches use, does not apply to non-Africans.

The marriages of non-Africans married under this Act are null and void.

Marriage Laws Kenya  – Certificates of No Impediment Under Cap 150, The Marriage Act

These are issued to Kenya citizens wishing to have their marriages, either to Kenya citizens or foreigners performed abroad. The certificate conforms that the applicant is single and has capacity to enter into a marriage.

The applicant completes the application form and attaches a copy of their identity documents. A fee of Ksh. 5,000 is payable.

Applicants living abroad may channel their applications through Kenya ‘s missions in their countries of residence. The fee is paid there and the form completed. The mission then forwards to the Registrar of Marriages in Nairobi , the receipt conforming payment, a duly completed form and an authenticated copy of the applicant’s passport.

Where the applicant’s home district is Nairobi , notice of the application is displayed for 10 days, giving anyone with an objection to the intended marriage opportunity to raise his or her objection.

After 10 days, the certificate is prepared and collected by the applicant or forwarded to the mission through whom the certificate was applied.

Where the applicant’s home district is not Nairobi , a letter is sent to the District Commissioner (DC) of the applicant’s home district, requesting him to display the notice of the intended marriage on his notice board or do investigations through the Chief of the applicant’s location on the marital status of the applicant. The DC then writes to the registrar and if no legal objection has been raised, the certificate is prepared in the usual way and dispatched through the usual channels.

Marriage Laws Kenya  – Church Ministers Licensing, Issuance of Marriage Books and Filing of Returns Under Cap 151

The Office of the Registrar of Marriages licenses church ministers to perform marriage ceremonies and issue marriage certificates.

Any duly registered church can apply for the licensing of its minister(s).The application letter has to be on the official letterhead of the church and signed by an official of the church i.e. registered office bearer. The church must ensure that its annual returns are up-to-date before making the application.

A license for the minister is then prepared, signed and sent by post to the church or collected by applicant’s agent. A gazette notice is also prepared alongside the license and the licensing of the minister sent to the Government Printer for gazeting in the Kenya Gazette.

Marriage certificate books are sold at Ksh. 20,000 for a book containing 100 certificates. These are only sold to duly registered churches that have a licensed minister and after conforming that returns from the previously bought book have been returned to the Office of the Registrar of Marriages.

Within seven days of conducting a marriage ceremony, a minister is required by law to file the duplicate marriage certificate with the Registrar of Marriages. It is the duty of the Registrar to maintain all records on statutory marriages in the country.

NB: All changes are subject to change upon gazettement in the Kenya Gazette. in the Kenya Gazette.

For more information, contact:

Department of Registrar-General, Nairobi , Kenya .

Tel: (254) 020 – 227461, ext 37180/37015,

Fax: (254) 020 – 225515

Types of Marriage in Kenya

The following documents are required to register for marriage in Kenya.

A. Marriage between Kenyans – Marriage in Kenya

1. Copies of identification cards and coloured passport size photos (for both parties) and Ksh 600.

NB* this will be for the notice which will run for 21days

2. After the 21-day notice, if the ceremony is to take place in the:

  • Registrar’s Office: You will be required to pay Ksh 3,300, and then given a marriage date according to the official diary.
  • Church: You will be required to Pay Ksh 800 after the 21 day notice to obtain a Registrar.

Certificate which will be issued seven days thereafter

  • Copy Pastor’s License & serial No. of certificate of marriage to be issued

3. Where the ceremony shall take place other than a church 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 fee of Ksh. 7200.

  • Pastor’s License: if it is a church wedding
  • Both parties to be present

B). Marriage between Kenyans by (Special) – Marriage in Kenya

In the event that you cannot give a notice for 21 days, the following 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.

  • Affidavits
  • Death Certificate (In the case of widowed persons)-Copy & original
  • Divorce Decree Absolute. (In the case of divorced persons)-Copy & original

4. Colored Passport size photos
5. A documented reason to show (prove that you do not have time to give a 21-day notice.

  • Both parties to be present
  • Copy Pastor’s License- if the marriage is conducted by a church minister & Serial No.

C). Marriage between a Kenyan and a Foreigner – Marriage in Kenya to a Foreigner


1. Identification card/valid Kenyan passport(Copies & Original)
2. Coloured passport size photo
3. Birth Certificate (Copies & Original)
4. Affidavit.

  • Death Certificate (In the case of widowed person) – Copy & original
  • Divorce Decree Absolute (In the case of divorce person) – Copy & original

Foreign National

1. Valid passport (Copies & Original)
2. Birth Certificate (Copies & Original)
3. Passport size photo (Coloured)
4. 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)- Copy & original

5. Return air ticket/visa/work permit.

  • Both parties to be present
  • Copy Pastor’s License- for a Church wedding & Serial No. of Certificate

D). Marriage between Foreign Nationals – Marriage in Kenya

1. Valid passports (Copies & Original)
2. Passport size photos (Coloured).
3. Birth certificates (Copies & Original)
4. Certificates of No Impediment to Marriage.

  • Death Certificate. (In the case of widowed person) – Copy & original
  • Divorce Decree Absolute. (In the case of divorce person) – Copy & original

5. Return air ticket./Visa/Work permit

  • Both parties to be present

NB: Any document in a language other than English MUST be translated and verified as true translation

How to obtain a marriage Certificate in Kenya

  1. The first step to obtaining a marriage certificate 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 200 Kenya Shillings is charged for filling the notice.
  2. Upon the expiry of the 21-day waiting period, the couple completes an affidavit as per section 11 of the marriage Act. The affidavit is commissioned by the Registrar who then completes the Marriage Certificate.
  3. The couple proceeds to pay 1,500 Kenya Shillings and identify a date to officially get married and this must be within three months after obtaining the 21-day notice.
  4. One the parties’ books a marriage date (either on Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday) and if no objection is raised they proceed to get married. They then proceed to the registrar’s office where they pick the marriage certificate in front of two witnesses.
  5. If the parties have a valid reason that prevents them from waiting for 21 days, they inform the registrar of marriage who then decides if the period can be waived and a fee of 6.250 charged.
  6. The parties will be required to pay a fee of 10,250 Kenya Shillings if the marriage takes place if the wedding does not take place in the registrar’s office.

Fees charged to obtain a marriage certificate in Kenya

  1. Kshs. 200 for the notice of intention marriage form
  2. Kshs. 2000 for the ordinary procedure.
  3. Kshs. 6,250 for the special License procedure
    1. Kshs.5,000 for the special license
    2. Kshs. 1,000 for the ceremony
    3. Kshs. 200 for the marriage certificate.
    4. Kshs. 50 for the swearing
  4. Kshs. 10,250 for marriages taking place outside the registrar’s office.

kindly see amendments as gazetted on 5 october 2015:

  1. Marriage fees have been increased to Sh2, 000 from Sh1, 500.
  2. Kenyans abroad will pay Sh10, 000 from Sh5, 000 for unions arranged at the country’s embassies.
  3. Conducting a search for a marriage certificate will now cost Sh500 up from Sh200.
  4. New rates set to ease the heavy reliance of the State Law Office on Treasury for finances.

 Types of Marriages in Kenya Video