Your decision to get married is one of the most significant of your life.

Your decision to get married in beautiful South Africa is probably one of the best in your life.

We certainly don’t want The Home Affairs requirements to spoil your celebration in any way.  The following is our way of streamlining the process to make it as simple as possible – so that you are really freed up to enjoy your day.

It is important that all documentation is ready and correct before leaving your home country as sourcing it once you are here may be stressful or even impossible.

1. If you are a South African who will be marrying a Non-South African citizen.

As of December 2014 – Home Affairs have an added stipulation that all South African citizens applying to have a Marriage solemnized with any Non-South African citizen need to comply with the following:

Both Parties that wish to get legally married in South Africa will need to appear in person (with the correct documentation) at a Home Affairs Office (Preferably the same officer where your Marriage Officer is registered- to make an appointment booking with the immigration interviewing officer

The documentation (especially the “Letters/Certs of No Impediment”) will be verified by the official on duty to secure your Interview date/time (An Affidavit is permissible for all UK Citizens in lieu of this letter – Please request a pro-forma if needed).

Once the interview has been successfully concluded, an Immigration Report will be drawn up and submitted to the marriage section

Documentation Required;  

For the South African Citizen:

  • A copy of your ID
  • 3 x ID photo’s
  • If you have been previously married, Home Affairs will require a copy of the decree of divorce/death certificate (whichever applies) which will be submitted on your behalf. If yours is an antenuptial agreement, we will need a copy of the cover letter from your lawyer.
  • If yours is an antenuptial agreement, we will need a copy of the cover letter from your lawyer.

For the Non- South African Citizen:

  • A copy of the front page of your passport
  • A copy of the Visa Page in your passport – or the last entry stamp through customs found in your passport
  • 3 x ID photo’s
  • If you have been previously married, Home Affairs will require a copy of the decree of divorce/death certificate (whichever applies) which will be submitted on your behalf.
  • A letter of non-impediment (certificate from your country of citizenship confirming freedom to marry)
  • You will be required to sign an Affidavit on the day of your wedding – This is a stationary document supplied by Home Affairs (BI 31) – Required to verify that you are using your international passport as a means of documentation

Note: British Authorities do not supply this Letter to commonwealth countries such as South Africa.  If you are a British Citizen, a sworn affidavit stating that you are not married, and that there is no legal impediment to your intended marriage will be accepted by the South African Home Affairs Office.

*We no longer require that your witnesses provide their ID documentation.

2. You are an international couple coming to SA to get married.

There are a few possible ways for you to manage the legal aspect of your Marriage in South Africa as an international couple.  

The first and most popular method is for you to officially marry and register your marriage in your home country.

Your event in South Africa will therefore simply be a celebration of what is already legally in place  . .

No documentation or information will be required for Home Affairs, but you might prefer to have some reference to your Full Names in the vows that you choose with your Marriage Officer/Celebrant to enhance your experience of your ceremony.

The second approach is to have your marriage legally solemnized in South Africa – but without the registration onto the South African Population Registry.

In this case, you will receive the official Abridged Marriage Certificate (DHA 27) from your celebrant/Marriage Officer – along with the right to receive an Unabridged Certificate (which will be required for the registration of your marriage in the country of your choice).  

The most efficient means of obtaining this Unabridged Certificate is through a reputable Immigration Service who will apply and obtain the document on your behalf and then deliver safely into your hands.

Documentation Required:

  • A copy of the front page of your passport
  • A copy of the Visa Page in your passport – or the last entry stamp through customs, found in your passport
  • A copy of the front page of your fiancé’s passport
  • A copy of the Visa Page in your fiancé’s passport – or the last entry stamp through customs, found in your passport
  • 3 x ID photo’s each
  • If one or both of you have been previously married, Home Affairs will require a copy of the decree of divorce/death certificate (whichever applies) which will be submitted on your behalf.
  • A letter of non-impediment (certificate from your country of citizenship confirming freedom to marry)
  • A letter of non-impediment (certificate from your country of citizenship confirming freedom to marry) for your fiancé.

Note: British Authorities do not supply this Letter to Commonwealth Countries such as South Africa.  If you are a British Citizen, a sworn affidavit stating that you are not married, and that there is no legal impediment to your intended marriage will be accepted by the South African Home Affairs Office.

Each of you will be required to sign an Affidavit on the day of your wedding – This is a stationary document supplied by Home Affairs (BI 31) – Required to verify that you are using your international passport as a means of documentation

*We no longer require that your witnesses provide their ID documentation.

I hope this helps give you a basic understanding of what is needed from you to get legally married in South Africa. To make it a little easier please see a Printable PDF attached here.

Just remember laws are constantly changing so please double check these resources and regulations before you travel to South Africa.

Much love

Rebecca

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Comments (16)

Pratiek

December 29, 2017

i wish to get married to my fiance in south africa.. but we are students and dont earn much. do you know someone who can help us marry at a low cost? thanks.

Reply

    Rebecca Kooiker

    February 6, 2018

    Hi Pratiek,
    Yes we actually do have a great budget friendly option which uses all of our talents with a fraction of the cost. Please visit our friends at http://popupweddingsa.co.za/ to see what they can offer you x

    Reply

    Nokuthula

    March 3, 2018

    You can marry at home affairs its free

    Reply

      Rebecca Kooiker

      March 8, 2018

      Hi Nokuthula, Yip you are right you can get married directly at the home affairs office. Im not sure that it is free but there is a very very small admin fee you pay that is very budget friendly! Just make sure you go in before to make a marriage day booking. Yay for all the different ways to get married in South Africa ;) x

      Reply

Lina Ufimtseva

February 19, 2018

Dear Rebecca,

Thank you for providing such clear, chronological and thorough information including disclaimers about verifying this info. I've been on so many sites, including the official Home Affairs sites, and none have been as helpful as your page. Blessings from SA and Russia!

Reply

    Rebecca Kooiker

    February 28, 2018

    We are so very glad this helped you! Please do just make sure you double, triple check this info with the officiant you choose as laws and documents needed change fast and we would hate for you to miss something because you only went on our blog post suggestion ;)
    But hooray & all the best with your planning and travel adventures
    x

    Reply

Wendy

March 16, 2018

Hi Rebecca,

Very helpful article!

My fiancé is British so will need to provide a sworn affidavit as proof of no legal impediment and that he has not been married in the past.

Do you know exactly what needs to be on the affidavit in order for it to be accepted in SA please? Or is there somewhere we can download a pro-forma.

Thank you,

Reply

    Rebecca Kooiker

    March 29, 2018

    Hi Wendy,
    So glad this was helpful. We ALWAYS suggest that you get hold of a marriage officiant in S.A, as they are working with the department of home affairs on a more regular basis and know the details of what is legally needed (how, what and where to get it) way mire than we do. We do not get involved with this legal registration side of things, but rather work with the best.
    All the best of luck x

    Reply

Kelebogile

April 10, 2018

how do i help my parent to get married legally by home affairs if one have Id the other is using the passport but they both live in SA .WHAT DOCUMENT DO THEY NEED TO PROVIDE

Reply

    Rebecca Kooiker

    April 26, 2018

    Kelebogile, you need to go into your nearest home affairs office and make an appointment with one of their marriage officers. They will be able to tell you exactly what is needed and what process to follow to make sure the marriage is legal and binding. Best of luck x

    Reply

allie

April 17, 2018

I want to marry a foreigner. SA/foreigner:
What is the process (marriage officer / couple)? Must the marriage officer apply for an emigration officer meeting (and do the couple need to be there physically?)

Reply

    Rebecca Kooiker

    April 26, 2018

    Allie, Thanks for the question but to be honest we are not legal officiants and aren't able to give you these exact details. You need to go into your nearest Home Affairs office OR hire a professional (and recognized) marriage officiant to help you with this process. Laws and legal requirements change so often that you need to make sure you are working with the correct people.

    Reply

Kobby

April 20, 2018

Please I'm a Ghanaian citizen who wants to get married to an American citizen in South Africa..... I need help concerning the processes and the legal aspect of getting married in south Africa

Reply

    Rebecca Kooiker

    April 26, 2018

    Hi Kobby, Congrats and thanks for reaching out. I would highly recommend you hire a professional marriage officiant (you can google marriage officiants in your area) who will know the latest regulations on what is needed. Runaway Romance does source trusted marriage officiants for you as part of our elopement & wedding planning services, so if you would like assistance with this and your day please email us on [email protected] so we can help a little more.

    Reply

Johanna

May 8, 2018

Hello,

I am a German citizen while my fiancé is South African. We want to get married in South Africa in late September. However, I will not be able to come to South Africa before early September. Is there a possibility my fiancé can book a marriage date without me being there in person but giving a certified copy of my passport etc. ?

Thank you very much for your response!

Reply

    Rebecca Kooiker

    May 10, 2018

    Hi Johanna, Thanks for reaching out.
    We ALWAYS recommend getting hold of a legitimate marriage officiant to help you in your process as things change so quickly, BUT our understanding is that before a South African and Foreigner can get legally married here you will need to have an appointment with a home affairs official (who makes sure the union is legitimate & consensual etc) before they will give permission to the marriage officiant to legally marry you.
    Please do confirm this information with a local officiant first though.
    x

    Reply

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