Legal age for marriage

Legal Age for Marriage

Last update: Dec 2007

Country or area
As of year
Algeria
2005
18
21
CEDAW (32nd session)
Andorra
2001
16
16
CEDAW (25th session)
Angola
2004
18
18
15
r
16
r
CEDAW (31st session)
Antigua & Barbuda
1997
18
18
15
d
15
d
CEDAW (17th session)
Argentina
2002
16
18
CEDAW (exceptional session 2002)
Armenia
2002
17
17
16
r
CEDAW (exceptional session 2002)
Australia
2006
a
18
18
CEDAW (34th session)
Austria
2003
18
18
16
d
16
d
UNPD
Azerbaijan
2007
17
18
16
r
17
r
CEDAW (37th session)
Bahamas
2003
18
18
16
d
17
d
UNPD
Bangladesh
2004
18
21
CEDAW (31st session)
Barbados
2002
16
16
CEDAW (exceptional session 2002)
Belarus
2004
18
18
15
r
15
r
CEDAW (30th session)
Belgium
2003
18
18
UNPD
Belize
1999
18
18
CEDAW (21st session)
Benin
2005
15
18
14-15
aa
18-20
aa
CEDAW (33rd session)
Bhutan
2004
18
18
CEDAW (30th session)
Bolivia
1995
14
16
CEDAW (14th session)
Bosnia & Herzegovina
2006
18
18
16
r,s
16
r,s
CEDAW (35th session)
Botswana
2003
21
21
18
d
18
d
UNPD
Brazil
2003
21
21
16
d
16
d
CEDAW (29th session)
Bulgaria
2003
18
18
UNPD
Burkina Faso
2005
17
20
15
r,s
18
r,s
CEDAW (33rd session)
Burundi
2001
b
18
21
CEDAW (24th session)
Cambodia
2006
18
20
<18
d,r
<20
d,r
CEDAW (34th session)
Cameroon
2000
15
18
CEDAW (23rd session)
Canada
2003
18
18
16
t
16
t
UNPD
Cape Verde
2006
18
18
16
s
16
s
CEDAW (36th session)
Central African Republic
2003
18
22
UNPD
Chile
2003
18
18
14
d
14
d
UNPD
China
2003
20
22
u
UNPD
Colombia
2007
18
18
12
d
12
d
CEDAW (37th session)
Congo
2003
c
18
21
CEDAW (28th session)
Cook Islands
2007
21
21
16
d
16
d
CEDAW (39th session)
Costa Rica
2003
d
15
15
CEDAW (29th session)
Côte d’Ivoire
2003
18
21
UNPD
Croatia
2005
18
18
16
r,s
16
r,s
CEDAW (32nd session)
Cuba
2006
18
18
14
r
16
r
CEDAW (36th session)
Cyprus
2003
18
18
14
d
14
d
UNPD
Czech Republic
2003
18
18
17
d
17
d
UNPD
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
2005
17
18
CEDAW (33rd session)
Democratic Republic of Congo
2006
15
18
CEDAW (36th session)
Denmark
2006
f
18
18
CEDAW (36th session)
Dominica
2003
16
16
UNPD
Dominican Republic
2003
18
18
16
d
16
d
UNPD
Ecuador
2003
g
18
18
CEDAW (29th session)
Egypt
2003
16
18
UNPD
El Salvador
2003
18
18
UNPD
Equatorial Guinea
2004
12
12
CEDAW (31st session)
Eritrea
2006
18
v
18
CEDAW (34th session)
Estonia
2003
18
18
16
d
16
d
UNPD
Ethiopia
2003
18
18
UNPD
Fiji
2003
21
21
15
d
15
d
UNPD
Finland
2003
21
21
UNPD
France
2003
21
21
15
d
UNPD
Gabon
2005
15
18
CEDAW (32nd session)
Gambia
2005
h
CEDAW (33rd session)
Georgia
2006
18
18
16
d
16
d
CEDAW (36th session)
Germany
2003
18
18
16
d
16
d
UNPD
Ghana
2006
18
18
CEDAW (36th session)
Greece
2003
18
w
18
UNPD
Guatemala
2006
18
18
14
d
16
d
CEDAW (35th session)
Guinea
2007
17
18
CEDAW (39th session)
Hungary
2003
18
18
16
d
16
d
UNPD
Iceland
2003
18
18
UNPD
India
2003
18
21
UNPD
Indonesia
2007
16
19
CEDAW (39th session)
Iran (Islamic Republic of)
2003
15
x
18
UNPD
Iraq
2003
18
18
16
d
16
d
UNPD
Israel
2003
17
17
14
d
14
d
UNPD
Italy
2003
18
18
16
d
16
d
UNPD
Jamaica
2006
18
18
16
d
16
d
CEDAW (36th session)
Japan
2003
20
20
16
d
18
d
UNPD
Jordan
2007
18
18
15
s
15
s
CEDAW (39th session)
Kazakhstan
2007
18
18
16
s
16
s
CEDAW (37th session)
Kenya
2003
18
18
UNPD
Kuwait
2004
15
y
17
CEDAW (30th session)
Kyrgyzstan
2003
18
18
UNPD
Lao’s People Democratic Republic
2005
18
18
15
r
15
r
CEDAW (32nd session)
Latvia
2004
18
18
16
16
CEDAW (31st session)
Liechtenstein
2003
18
18
<18
d
<18
d
UNPD
Lithuania
2003
18
18
14
d
14
d
UNPD
Luxembourg
1997
i
16
18
CEDAW (17th session)
Madagascar
2003
18
18
17
d
UNPD
Malawi
2003
18
18
UNPD
Malaysia
2006
18
18
<18
e
<18
e
CEDAW (35th session)
Maldives
2001
j
CEDAW (24th session)
Mali
2006
15
18
CEDAW (34th session)
Malta
2004
18
18
16
d
16
d
CEDAW (31st session)
Mauritania
2007
18
18
CEDAW (38th session)
Mauritius
2006
18
18
16
d
16
d
CEDAW (31st session)
Mexico
2006
k
14-16
16-18
CEDAW (36th session)
Mongolia
2001
18
18
CEDAW (24th session)
Morocco
2003
18
18
UNPD
Mozambique
2007
14
16
CEDAW (38th session)
Myanmar
2003
18
UNPD
Namibia
2003
21
21
15
d
18
d
UNPD
Nepal
2003
20
20
18
d
18
d
UNPD
Netherlands
2003
18
18
16
d
16
d
UNPD
New Zealand
2003
20
20
16
d
16
d
UNPD
Nicaragua
2007
18
21
14
d
15
d
CEDAW (37th session)
Niger
2007
i
15
18
CEDAW (38th session)
gg
Norway
2003
18
18
<18
ff
<18
ff
UNPD
Oman
2003
18
18
UNPD
Pakistan
2007
16
18
CEDAW (38th session)
Panama
2003
18
18
14
d
16
d
UNPD
Papua New Guinea
2003
21
21
UNPD
Paraguay
2005
l
16
16
CEDAW (32nd session)
Peru
2007
16
z
16
CEDAW (37th session)
Philippines
2006
18
18
CEDAW (36th session)
Poland
2007
18
21
16
bb
18
bb
CEDAW (37th session)
Portugal
2003
18
18
16
d
16
d
UNPD
Republic of Korea
2007
16
18
CEDAW (39th session)
Republic of Moldova
2006
16
18
16
cc
CEDAW (36th session)
Romania
2006
16
18
15
r
CEDAW (35th session)
Russian Federation
2003
18
18
UNPD
Rwanda
2003
21
21
UNPD
Saint Lucia
2006
18
18
16
d
16
d
CEDAW (35th session)
Samoa
2005
19
21
16
d
18
d
CEDAW (32nd session)
San Marino
2003
18
18
16
d
16
d
UNPD
Saudi Arabia
2003
17
20
UNPD
Serbia
2007
18
18
16
s
16
s
CEDAW (38th session)
Sierra Leone
2007
m
21
21
<21
<21
CEDAW (38th session)
Singapore
2001
21
21
<21
dd
<21
dd
CEDAW (25th session)
Slovakia
1998
18
18
CEDAW (19th session)
Slovenia
2003
18
18
UNPD
South Africa
2003
18
18
<18
ff
<18
ff
UNPD
Spain
2003
18
18
12
d
16
d
UNPD
Sri Lanka
2002
n
18
18
CEDAW (26th session)
Suriname
2003
20
20
15
d
15
d
UNPD
Sweden
2003
18
18
UNPD
Switzerland
2003
18
18
UNPD
Thailand
2006
i
17
17
CEDAW (34th session)
Togo
2006
17
20
CEDAW (34th session)
Trinidad and Tobago
2003
18
18
12,14
hh
16,18
hh
UNPD
Tunisia
2003
20
20
17
d
UNPD
Turkey
2005
o
17
17
CEDAW (32nd session)
Uganda
2003
16
18
16
d
UNPD
Ukraine
2003
17
18
UNPD
United Kingdom
2003
18
18
16
d
16
d
UNPD
United Republic of Tanzania
2003
18
18
14
d
14
d
UNPD
United States of America
2003
p
18-19
18-21
13-18
d
14-18
d
UNPD
Uruguay
2003
18
18
UNPD
Uzbekistan
2006
17
18
16
ee
17
ee
CEDAW (36th session)
Vanuatu
2007
d
16
18
CEDAW (38th session)
Venezuela
2006
14
16
CEDAW (34th session)
Vietnam
2003
18
20
UNPD
Yemen
2002
q
15
15
CEDAW (exceptional session 2002)
Zambia
2003
21
21
UNPD

Sources:

Compiled by the United Nations Statistics Division from information provided in the periodic country reports to the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), available from the website, http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw.html (accessed June 2007), supplemented by data published by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, “Results of the Eighth and Ninth United Nations inquiry on population and development”.

CEDAW
Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
UNPD
United Nations Population Division

Footnotes:

a
In exceptional circumstances, where one party to a proposed marriage is under the age of 18 years and has already turned 16 years, the court may grant approval to that person being married to a specific person over the age of 18 years.
b
Exceptions may be made only on serious grounds such as pregnancy.
c
The State Procurator may, in a serious case, grant a dispensation of the minimum legal age.
d
Requires parental consent.
e
Females who have reached the age of 16 may marry if prior permission from the Chief Minister of the relevant State has been obtained. For Muslims, females under 16 and males under 18 may marry where the Syariah judge has granted permission.
f
If person is under 18, the Danish High Commissioner resident may grant permission to marry.
g
Parental consent or authorization by a competent judge is required in the case of minors.
h
No minimum legal age for marriage. The constitution states that men and women of “full age and capacity” shall have the right to marry and find a family.
i
Requires parental consent for minors.
j
No minimum legal age for marriage. An individual can enter into marriage once puberty has been reached, however, government policy strictly discourages marriages under the age of 16.
k
The legal minimum age for marriage varies by State: 26 states set the minimum age for marriage at 16 for men and 14 for women; 5 states establish an age of 16 for both sexes; and one state raised the age to 18 and 16 years, respectively.
l
Requires parental consent when younger than 20 years.
m
Based on the Christian Marriage Act (no minimum age set for customary law). Persons under the age of 21 years are allowed to marry provided parental consent is given.
n
Does not apply to Muslim population.
o
Requires parental consent for those aged below the age of legal competence .
p
The legal minimum age for marriage varies by State.
q
Based on age of majority. Marriage may not be contracted with a minor, except where such marriage will entail some clear benefit.
r
Under exceptional circumstances.
s
Requires authorization of civil court.
t
Authorization of marriage at younger ages through court decision possible in some provinces and territories.
u
Exceptions apply to men.
v
In case the woman is pregnant or has already given birth to a child at the age of 16, dispensation might be granted from the rule concerning age.
w
The court may permit the marriage of minors under exceptional circumstances.
x
Marriage for women allowed after puberty, but with parental consent.
y
Requires consent of the wife’s guardian and the wife or the person acting on behalf of either.
z
Requires judicial authorization.
aa
Refers to customary law of Dahomey. Differences are also reported depending on ethnic group and form of marriage.
bb
Requires authorization of the appropriate guardianship court.
cc
Requires authorization of local public administration.
dd
Requires parental consent. In the case of those below 18 years of age, the Minister issues a special marriage license.
ee
Under exceptional circumstances, requires the authorization of the Khokim of the district, city, or town.
ff
Subject to permission from authorities.
gg
CEDAW data supplemented by information available from the website, http://www.right-to-education.org/content/age/niger.html (accessed June 2007).
hh
Minimum age with parental consent is 12 for Muslim women or 14 for Hindus; and 16 for Muslim men or 18 for Hindus.

Top

Technical notes:

The legal age for marriage shown in the table is the legal minimum age at which marriage can be performed without parental consent. Marriage is defined in terms of the laws of the individual country or area. Exceptions to the legal minimum age are shown as applicable.

 

(Source: United Nations Statistics Division)