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How to Register a Marriage in Kenya

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How to Register a Marriage in Kenya by Kenyans247(1): Fri Mar 2020 09:05am
Procedure

Registration of Customary marriages started on 1st August 2017 and is being piloted in Nairobi ONLY before being rolled out to our regional offices.
There are two sets of customary marriages i.e. existing customary marriages conducted before 1st August 2017 and new customary marriages conducted after 1st August 2017

Apply In-Person:
Step One: Marriage ceremony (Pre requisites)
The two individuals willing to enter a marriage contract must take part in the critical customary rites depending on their Kenyan communities.
Parties who were already married prior to the gazette notice of 1st August 2017 are only required to register the marriage and be furnished with a marriage certificate.

Step Two: Notification with registrar
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.
The notification is made in a prescribed form setting out particulars such as
i. the community under whose customary law the marriage was conducted,
ii. the date of the marriage,
iii. the location at which the customary marriage was conducted,
iv. the particulars of the couple’s parents as well as their occupation.


Step Three: Display of the notice
The Registrar then displays the notice in a conspicuous place within the premises, for a period of fourteen (14) days.
This is meant to invite any person with an objection to the proposed registration, to notify the Registrar and provide grounds of objection within that period.


Step Four: Hearing of objections
In the event of objections, claimed are received, heard and determined.

Step Five: Issuance of an Acknowledgement Certificate
After the expiry of fourteen (14) days, if no objection has been filed, or where any objections filed have been considered and dealt with by the Registrar, the Registrar issues to the parties an Acknowledgement Certificate also known as Form CM2 .
The acknowledgement certificate attracts a KSh 600 fee.

Step Six: Application for registration
Once the parties have been issued with an Acknowledgement Certificate, they can then apply for registration of the marriage.
Application for registration is made in the prescribed form, Form CM3 and should be accompanied with a copy of the Acknowledgment Certificate.
It includes a declaration that neither of the parties is underage, that they freely consented to the marriage, that none of them was in a subsisting civil, Christian, Hindu or Islamic marriage and that there is no impediment prohibiting the marriage.
On the day of application for registration, parties have to appear before the Registrar accompanied by their witnesses.
The Form CM3 attracts a fee of KSh 2500 and KSh 200

Step seven: Registration
The Registrar then considers the application made and issues a Certificate of Customary Marriage under the prescribed form, after conducting any further investigations where necessary.
The requisite fee for registration of an existing customary marriage is Kshs. 3900.

Required Documents

Each party must bring one passport photo
Each party must have a birth certificate or documentation declaring age of both
Each applicant must have Identification documents
Each of the parties must present a certificate or letter of identification from their country of origin (For Kenyans only)
In case of foreign citizens, they must submit in addition to the above a written application for an exclusive marriage license valid visa and a copy of their passports

Office Locations & Contacts

Registrar of Marriages

Ground Floor,

Sheria House,

Harambee Avenue,

P.O. Box 40112, 00100,

Nairobi,

Kenya.

Tel No. +254-20- 2227461-9/ 2251355/ 0700-072929/ 0732- 529995

Email: ag@ag.go.ke/ info@ag.go.ke

WEBSITE: The Judiciary.http://www.statelaw.go.ke/


Eligibility

Parties should have attained the legal age of marriage.
The registration of a customary marriage is ONLY APPLICABLE to Kenyans who have contracted African customary marriage rites;
At the time of registration, the parties MUST NOT have entered into either a CIVIL or a CHRISTIAN marriage;
The parties should have no impendent to marriage.

Fees

Registration of an existing customary marriage. A fee of kshs. 3,900 is payable.
Registration of new customary marriages. A fee of kshs. 3,900 is payable.


Validity

A marriage is valid until one of the spouse’s death or in the event of an absolute divorce.

Documents to Use

Application documents are provided at the Registrar Offices.

Processing Time

It usually takes 21 days to process.

https://youtu.be/


Instructions

The following are instructions to register a marriage.
i. The two individuals willing to enter a marriage contract must take part in the critical customary rites depending on their Kenyan communities.
ii. 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.
iii. The registrar then puts up a fourteen-day notice inviting objections from parties that may be disputing the union.
iv. In the event of objections, claimed are received, heard and determined.
v. 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.
vi. 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.
vii. This is the final step whereby after the Registrar is satisfied with the application and having done the relevant investigations issues a marriage certificate.
Required Information

Full Names of both parties
Dates of birth
Valid identity proof
Citizenship
Address
Proof of no impendent of marriage
Type of marriage




Need for the Document

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.
The certificate enables your spouse joining your health benefits
The certified is needed when applying for foreign visa as one of the couple is working in a foreign country
The certificate is needed when applying for passport and/or some other such document, which contains the name of one’s spouse.
It will be very handy, if you have to prove that you are legally married couple in front any authority.



Information which might help

Registration of Customary Marriages in Kenya:
A customary marriage is one that is conducted in accordance with the customs of communities of either both or one of the parties to the marriage. Registration of customary marriages in Kenya is governed by the Marriage (Customary Marriage) Rules, 2017, under the Marriage Act.
These rules were effected by Gazette Notice Number 5345 issued on the 9th June 2017. The Gazette Notice required that all customary marriages be registered from the 1st of August 2017. There are two sets of customary marriages i.e. existing customary marriages conducted before 1st August 2017 and new customary marriages conducted after 1st August 2017.

Registration of customary marriages conducted before 1st August 2017:
Parties who were already married prior to the gazette notice are only required to register the marriage and be furnished with a marriage certificate.
Both parties have to appear before the Registrar, who conducts an interview to ascertain the legality of the marriage and whether both parties are consenting adults.
An application for registration is made in a prescribed form and is accompanied by a letter of confirmation from the Chief of the area where the marriage ceremony took place.
The form includes a declaration that neither of the parties is underage, that they freely consented to the marriage, that none of them was in a subsisting civil, Christian, Hindu or Islamic marriage and that there is no impediment prohibiting the marriage.
The requisite fee for registration of an existing customary marriage is Kshs. 3900.
The Registrar then issues a Certificate of Customary Marriage under the prescribed form, after conducting any further investigations where necessary.
Both parties have to make a physical appearance before the Registrar and cannot be represented.

Registration of New customary marriages conducted after 1st August 2017:
Parties who wish to contract customary marriages after the commencement date are required to notify the Registrar of their status as husband and wife within three (3) months of completion of the relevant customary rites.
The notification is made in a prescribed form setting out particulars such as the community under whose customary law the marriage was conducted, the date of the marriage, the location at which the customary marriage was conducted, the particulars of the couples parents as well as the their occupation.
Similarly, parties have to appear before the Registrar in-person together with their witnesses who are required to make a declaration.
The notice is to be accompanied by passport size photos of the parties and copies of the witnesses’ national identity cards.



Other uses of the Document/Certificate

Advantages of a marriage certificate
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
Marriage certificate can also help you migrate with your family to any country without many restrictions.
If wife changes her second name and adopts the husbands. 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 new adopted name.


Others

There are different forms of marriages that exist under Customary Law
A monogamous marriage which is a marriage between one man and one woman;
Polygamy – whereby a man can celebrate marriage with many women at different times.
Leviratic Marriages – these arise where the husband predeceases the wife and a relative or brother of the deceased husband assumes the role of the deceased. Any children born out of this union are regarded as children of the deceased. This is common among the Meru Kamba Kikuyu Kuria Kisii and Nandi tribes.
Sororate Unions – where the wife dies before the husband. Her family may offer her younger sister as replacement and the younger sister assumes the role of the deceased wife. This may also arise where the family is unable to return the bride price and offer their daughter as a substitute. Sorarate unions also take place where a wife is not able to have children and she may invite her sister to come and get married by the husband for the purpose of getting children this is common among the Luo.
Widow Inheritance: - this is where the husband predeceases the wife and the wife is inherited by one of the husband’s brothers and for all purposes becomes his wife. It is different from the Leviratic in the sense that any children born out of that union are regarded as children of the brother and not children of the deceased. Luo, Luhya Kalenjin tribes and the Masai.
Woman to Woman marriages – these arise where a woman is barren and she then marries another woman for the sole purpose of having children and those children become the children of the barren woman who is the husband in the relation. This marriage can take place whether the husband of the barren woman is alive or dead. If the husband is alive the other woman is allowed to have sexual relations with the husband for the purpose of having children. Any children out of this relationship will be regarded as the children of the barren woman. Where the husband is dead she must select a man from the husband’s family or leave the decision to the woman to select whom she wants to have children with. This is common among the Kisii, Taita and Kuria tribes.
Forcible Marriages – These arise in a family where there are only daughters and the last daughter is not entitled to get married. She remains at home to beget children especially male children with a man of her choice and these children belong to her father’s family. Nandis and Kipsigis practice this.
Child Marriages – this is where children are betrothed to each other when they are still young and dowry is paid when they are still young and on reaching the age of maturity the bride is then taken to her husband’s home. This was normally done where prominent families wanted to see their friendship or during times of famine. It was common among the Kisii, Kuria, the Kalenjin tribes the Pokot and the Teso.

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