Tanzania: Wedding License

After Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel got married they honeymooned in Tanzania. What if they fooled everyone and got legally married there?

Whooboy, it can be tricky. Or not. Before you read the rules from the US Embassy web site, here are a few interesting tidbits:

20,000 Tanzania shillings equals about $13 US dollars.
The 21 day waiting period can be waived if you get a “special marriage license”. Who doesn’t want to be special? Pay the extra fee. Unless you have plans to sight see for 21 days.
Check out the International Marriage License. Sounds cool and practical.


Weddings in Tanzania

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding in Tanzania. While Consular Officers can no longer marry couples overseas, we can give you the information necessary for getting married under Tanzanian law.

Step 1: Certificate of No Impediment

Prior to getting married in Tanzania you must get a certificate of no impediment from your home country. This legal document (translated into English) must state that there is no impediment to your marriage because:

you were never married before, or

you are divorced (relevant divorce certificate(s) attached), or

you were widowed (relevant death certificate(s) attached.

A Certificate of No Impediment must be completed and notarized by a notary public. In Tanzania, the Consular Section at the Embassy can serve as the notary. You should also have your Birth certificate. If you will marry in a church, you will probably need a letter from your home Pastor/Priest.

Step 2: Apply for Notice of your Marriage or a “Special Marriage License”

You must first contact the Office of the District Commissioner nearest to your wedding location to notify the government of your intention to get married. To locate the nearest government Registrar of Marriages you may contact:

Registration Insolvency and Trusteeship Agency (RITA)
Plot No 516 Kipalapala Street, Upanga,
Dar es Salaam
Tel: + 255 22 2115034 / 36

Getting Married in Tanzania

At the Registrar of Marriages you must complete the necessary forms, pay the fee and submit the following documents:

notarized copy of passports,

the Certificate of No Impediment, and

two passport photos each.

Once you have notified the Registrar you must wait twenty-one days so that persons with adverse information may register their complaints. While this old tradition that has pretty much died out in Western countries, it is part of Tanzanian law.

To avoid the twenty-one day waiting period, you may get a waiver by applying for a “Special Marriage License” from the local Registrar of Marriages. After completing the application form for “Special Marriage License” and paying the fee, the Registrar can issue the license and you can be married at any point.

Step 3: Getting Married

After twenty-one days or the granting of the “Special Marriage License,” you need to schedule a time for your wedding with the Registrar of Marriages. The civil ceremony can be done at the Registrar’s office during working hours or you can arrange a time for the Registrar to come to your location (this will require an extra fee and transportation costs for the government officials). At the actual ceremony, the couple must have two witnesses of their choosing (resident or non-resident). A Tanzanian Marriage Certificate (in duplicate) will be issued upon completion of the ceremony.

Religious services must be arranged with the religious organization of your choice. The requirements for religious weddings vary from one organization to the next, so you must contact the selected faith to discuss the process prior to the wedding.

Step 4: Apply for an International Certificate of Marriage

The Embassy recommends that you get an International Certificate of Marriage. This legal document is more readily accepted outside of Tanzania as proof of your marriage. This certificate can be obtained from the Registrar of Marriages by filling out the application form (known as RGM 111). There is a fee of approximately 22,000 Tanzania Shillings for entry into the Register of Foreign Marriages and an additional 7,000 Tanzania Shillings 7,000 for the International Marriage Certificate. The Tanzanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Legal Department P.O. Box 9000 Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania; Tel. 255 22 211 1906) can endorse the International Marriage Certificate. While both the certificate and the endorsement are optional for US citizens, you should clarify with your spouse’s home country to verify if it needed in that country or for immigration purposes.

All Blessings,


Photo taken by Egbert in donker Afrika for our Tanzania Wedding License story



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