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
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 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 they are needed in that country or for immigration purposes.
Getting Maried in Zanzibar
The legal requirements for marriage in Zanzibar are different from mainland Tanzania. The Embassy suggests that you or the resort where the wedding will take place contact the Government of Zanzibar (contact information below) to discuss your upcoming nuptial.
Regional Commissioner’s Office
Tel: +255 24 230246/7
Please verify with the Regional Commissioner’s Office, but generally the following requirements must be met:
- notarized copies of both birth certificates in English,
- notarized copies of both passports,
- the Certificate of No Impediment,
- notarized copies of a Certificate of Domicile,*
- two passport photos of both individuals, and
- two witnesses (can be locally provided if necessary).
*This document is a sworn affidavit signed by the individual and the notary indicating the current residence of the individual.
According to Zanzibar Laws, a notice must be put on the Municipal Notice Board for the intended marriage twenty-one days prior to the ceremony. There is no waiver available in Zanzibar, so the twenty-one day period is mandatory. The International Certificate of Marriage for marriages performed in Zanzibar is certified in the same manner as described above.
Points of Interest
- Once you are married in Tanzania, you do not have to register or confirm your marriage at the Embassy for it to be recognized in the United States.
- Marriages prohibited under the laws of your intended state of residence (polygamous marriages, marriages to underage persons or very close relatives) would not be legally binding in the United States.
- If you intend for a non-American spouse to immigrate the United States, you will need to follow the U.S. immigration process. The process requires a number of documents and can take some time. To learn more about this process, see the Department of State’s webpage on Immigrant Visas.