Marriage Certificate in Nigeria: How to Obtain Yours

Getting your marriage certificate isn’t difficult if you know the right steps to take. In this post, we have provided you with the necessary steps you need to follow to get this done seamlessly.

There are a few things you would need to do prior to obtaining your marriage.

First, you are expected to get married. The most important one is the wedding ceremony at the registry office, but you can also do the traditional wedding ceremony and/or white wedding.

Before the ceremony at the registry, here the steps you need to take before the registry can facilitate the process of getting your marriage certificate.

Step 1

The first step is to visit the registry of your choice to signify your marriage intention. You can either choose a state or federal registry. It doesn’t really matter which one just ensure your choice is a convenient one.

Step 2

At the registry, you will be asked to obtain a form. This form signifies your intention to marry and it is called a Notice Form or a Form A. You’re expected to fill details like name, age, address, occupation, marital status etc

Step 3

After filling the form, the next step is to submit it along with 2 coloured passport photographs. Afterwards, the form will be posted on the Notice board of the registry for 21 days. Also, the notice is entered into a book called the Marriage Notice Book which may be inspected during office hours without a fee.

Step 4

On expiration of the notice, you will pay a prescribed fee. The amount you pay is dependent on the registry you’re using. Additionally, the Registrar issues a Form C once you have met and satisfied the criteria.

The criteria include:

  • One of the parties must be resident within the district in which the marriage is intended to be celebrated.
  • Each of the parties to the intended marriage (not being a widower or widow) is twenty-one years old, and if under that age, the consent hereinafter made requisite has been obtained in writing and is annexed to such affidavit (meaning you have to get written permission/consent from the bride-to-be’s parent or legal guardian).
  • That there is not any impediment of kindred or affinity, or any other lawful hindrance to the marriage.
  • That neither of the parties to the intended marriage is married by customary law to any person other than the person with whom such marriage is proposed to be contracted.

Once you have fulfilled the requirements as a couple.  The registrar signs the form C.

Step 5

The next step is to swear an affidavit before the registrar or a recognized minister of religion. In the course of swearing affidavit, the registrar would reiterate the earlier stated requirements and explain the penalties involved.

Violation of any of this rule will lead to prosecution and the person may be jailed for up to five years. The rules are highlighted below:

  1. One of the claimants being already married;
  2. One of the fiancés at the time of giving the written testimony is lying;
  3. False personal data are used at the wedding;
  4. The betrothed enter into marriage without relatives’ written consent (in certain cases);
  5. A person tries to impede the registration procedure under false pretences
  6. The marriage was registered by an unauthorized official.

The most common violation is the first one, which is one of the claimants being married and failing to properly dissolve his/her before entering into a new marriage.

However, if there’s no breach indicated the Registrar signs a declaration/affidavit to show that the couple understands the implications under the law and have met and satisfied all that has been required of them.

Step 6

After the necessary consent for the marriage has been obtained, the Minister will dispense with the giving of notice, issue the certificate, and grant his/her license, known as Form D. This form authorizes the celebration of a marriage between the parties named in such license.

Step 7

With the legal authorization granted, the couple then chooses a wedding date which should be within 3 months from the date the notice was placed with the registry.

Step 8

This is the wedding day. The couple comes along with their family members and friends. At this point, the marriage is finalized. There are usually other couples that have come for the same reason. The ceremony is usually not longer than 30 minutes.

In the course of the proceedings, the Registrar would print the marriage certificates in duplicate and with counterfoils as in the FORM E.

If future newlyweds decide to go to church, it must be a licensed one under the leadership of an authorized cleric or religious group leader. However, it is crucial to have at least two witnesses.

However, if you’re a Christian and you intend to go to church for your wedding, it must be a licensed one under the leadership of an authorized cleric or religious group leader and it is necessary to have at least two witnesses which could be your parents.

The officiating minister is expected to fill up in duplicate the marriage certificate with the particulars required by Form E, and enter in the counterfoil the number of the certificate, the date of the marriage, names of the parties, and the names of the witnesses.

Afterwards, the certificate is then signed in duplicate by the officiating minister, by the parties, and by two or more witnesses to the marriage.

Either you or your spouse is expected to take one of the copies of the marriage certificate while the second one is sent to the local Registry Office or the newlyweds may go to the Registry Office and register their marriage there. It is expected that every certificate of marriage should be filed in the Registrar’s office according to the FORM F.

And that’s it, you’re married and you have obtained the legal document to back it up, your marriage certificate.

2 thoughts on “Marriage Certificate in Nigeria: How to Obtain Yours”

  1. What if you’re coming from the USA to marry and DO NOT HAVE 21 DAYS. Is there any possible way to retrieve the form in advance and begin the process? Or can my husband-to-be start the process for himself, since is from Nigeria? Since I’m coming from the USA, will this process apply to me also?

  2. Thanks for explaining the step wise procedure for getting marriage certificate, its really helpful. Letting you reminded there is one online government portal for citizen of Nigeria named eCitibiz that does the marriage in a more easy way.

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