Cost of Marriage Certificates in The Gambia

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By Ciz JJ, edited by Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT

Context

Gainako received information from a couple on the costs of obtaining marriage certificates in The Gambia. In an attempt to verify this information Gainako’s Ciz JJ contacted an official at the Registry’s Office by the name of Sukunda Mendy.

Ciz JJ – I received some information on the cost of getting a marriage certificate at the Registry’s Office from a friend who is about to get married and wanted to confirm with your office prior to publishing. Is it true that to obtain a marriage certificate one needs to get;

  1. A copy of the couple’s passports or any official identification,
  2. Passport photos of the couple,
  3. D1,200 each for a bachelor and spinster certificate,
  4. D1,000 for a marriage certificate form, and
  5. D7,000 for marriage certificate fee.
  6. Totalling D10,400.

Can you please confirm if all these figures are accurate?

Sukunda Mendy – Yes they are correct because if you only pay for the marriage certificate your application will be incomplete.

CJ – Are the marriage certificate fees different for marriages between a Gambian and a Foreigner?

SM – Yes they are, if it’s an ECOWAS to ECOWAS citizen the amount is D7,000 for the certificate plus the other items stated above. For ECOWAS and European couples, the marriage certificate fee is D15,500. For two non ECOWAS couples the fee is D20,500.

CJ – When did the marriage certificate fees change?

SM – The fees change recently. Each fee has increased by D500. For example for ECOWAS couples the previous fee was D6,500 and now it’s D7,000.

Cost of Marriage Certificate fees

Conclusion

According to Sukunda Mendy at the Registry’s Office there are different fees for a marriage certificate in The Gambia depending on the couple’s citizenship. The certificate fees for ECOWAS couple are much lower than non ECOWAS couple.

Speaking to a relative from Senegal on the cost of his wedding last year he explained that it costs him less than CFA 5,000 for his marriage certificate, which is equivalent to D420. With regards to the additional requirements for passport photos and identification, he explained that he only submitted their birth certificates.

This raises the question if high fees discourage married couples from obtaining a certificate in The Gambia? Meaning that the government collects less revenue than it would if the fees were lower which would encourage more couples to get their certificates. Could the high certificate fees be a contributing factor to the high number of single youths in the country or are young singletons simply unable to afford the additional high wedding expenses such as bride price (dowry), a house etc?

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