How to Obtain a Marriage License
When you think of getting married, one of the first things that comes to mind is probably not your marriage license or registration. In fact, some are unaware of the necessity for this, in order for a marriage to be recognized by law. Well, that’s why we are here. The WVG has gone through the painstaking process of conducting research and providing it to you right here. It is important to note that, all licensing and registration procedures some with various fees that are subject to change on a yearly basis. Be sure to also clarify all information provided here, as procedural changes are not uncommon.
Obtaining a Marriage License – Ordinance Marriage
This process is solely required for Ordinance marriages. (read “Three Main Types of Marriages in Ghana” for more info). This process needs to begin at least one month before your marriage ceremony takes place, especially if your chosen officiant/location is licensed to perform marriages recognized by law. The reason for this is to give the general public ample notice of your intention to be married, in case any party would like to contest/oppose the marriage on legal grounds.
An application must be filed at one’s Metropolitan/Municipal/District Assembly. The form will require information such as names, ages, occupations, and addresses of both parties. Copies will also be made of valid identification (a passport is usually your best bet). After the forms are filled, you will be asked to return after 21 days, during which banns will be published on a notice board. This will indicate yours and your partner’s intention to be married. Within this period, some religious establishments require that their members publish banns at the church for the same time period. This is usually done orally, before the entire congregation. If there is no opposition after the 21 day period, you will return to the Municipal/District Assembly to pick up your approved marriage license and present it to your licensed officiant. You will then have no more than a three-month period within which to get married. Afterwhich, the application process will have to be re-initiated.
Your Ordinance Marriage ceremony can be held in a church with a licensed officiant, at the Registrar General Department’s Office, or the premises of the Metropolitan Assembly your ceremony you live in. Other locations such as hotels, gardens, homes, etc are acceptable, provided that the officiant is licensed. In all cases, you and your partner will be required to sign your marriage certificate, along with two witnesses and your officiating officer. You may be required to sign up to three copies of the original marriage certificate, one of which will be given to you and your spouse for your records. Your church/officiant will provide the Registrar General’s office with another copy for registration of your Ordinance Marriage. See “Three Main Types of Marriages in Ghana” to learn more.
Customary Marriage Registration
Registration of Customary/Traditional Marriage is done through the registrar of marriages at the Metropolitan or District Assembly in which the couple lives. An application form is filled with information regarding the couple’s details and about the ceremony. A statutory declaration is also made by the couple and family members, stating that all rites have been performed and accepted by both parties and their families, in accordance with the respective cultures in question. See “Three Main Types of Marriages in Ghana” to learn more.
Registration of Islamic/Mohammedan Marriage
To register your Islamic Marriage, you need to have first had your marriage ceremony. The following are necessary to have occurred at the ceremony before it can be registered: a mutual agreement by both parties to marry, the presence of a Wali to represent the bride, payment of the required dowry to the bride’s family, two witnesses and officiating of the ceremony by a licensed Islamic priest.
Within one week after the ceremony, the Registrar of Mohammedan marriages and divorces must be notified of the ceremony. Otherwise, the marriage cannot be lawfully registered. A register is then filled and signed by the licensed Islamic priest who officiated the ceremony, the bride’s Wali, and the two witnesses present at the ceremony. If for some reason having all parties present within a week to sign the register is not possible, special permission can be sought from the High Court for an exception to be made. The signature of the officiating Islamic priest, however, cannot be waived. When all necessary procedure has been followed, a marriage certificate will then be issued to the couple. Up to 4 Islamic marriages may be registered by one bridegroom. Note that, if Muslims get married under Ordinance Marriage law, they are subject to the laws governing this type of marriage. Thus polygamy is not permitted. See “Three Main Types of Marriages in Ghana” to learn more.