The procedure to contract marriage in Cameroon is routed in Section 18 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) by the Republic of Cameroon which provides for protection of family life. This is achieved principally by the sanctity of marriage. The law envisages 3 types of marriages namely; Traditional/Customary ; Church/Islamic and contract Marriage in Cameroon. Statutory Marriage in Cameroon has become popular in recent times because the party seeking to dissolve the marriage must prove to the satisfaction of the Court that it has broken down irretrievably. Moreover, in case of dissolution of marriage, the Matrimonial Causes Act provides for custody of the children of the marriage and settlement of property.

The requirements as provided by the Civil Status Registration Ordinance No: 81 -02 of 29th June 1981 are as follows:

  1. Publication of marriage notice at least 30 days before the marriage is contracted or a waiver of publication of marital banns.
  2. At the end of the 30 working days, the parties will bring a copy their birth certificate and National Identity card.
  3. Intending spouses should submit a copy of their single status certificate as proof that they are not tied to any previous statutory marriage in Cameroon.
  4. Intending spouses should present 9 passport size photographs with their head bound together from the sides.
  5. Intending spouses should bring their respective witnesses preferably their parents or close relative to sign the statutory marriage register in Cameroon which also proof that they consent to the marriage.
  6. On the date fix for wedding, the couple will bring a wedding ring and exchange their vows.

In conclusion, Cameroon Embassies abroad are statutory empowered to celebrate Statutory Marriage between a Cameroonian and a foreigner without necessarily coming to Cameroon. However, they must comply with provisions of the Civil Status Registration Ordinance. In a case where intending couples cannot wait for the 30 days’ statutory publication of marital banns, they can hire a lawyer back in Cameroon who shall represent them in obtaining a waiver from any state prosecutor in Cameroon as per section 55 of Ordinance No: 81 -02 of 29th June 1981 and a single status certificate. This documents must be legalized at the ministry of external relation in Cameroon, duly certify by an administrative officer before it can be used abroad.

Article by Barr. Mafany Victor Ngando

Kinsmen Advocates Law Firm

“The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstance”