Getting Married in South Africa

Everything You Need to Know About the Registration of Marriage in South Africa

Registration of Marriage in South Africa

The legal registration of marriage in South Africa requires certain documents to be handed to a marriage officer before the ceremony may take place.

Although marriage is ultimately built on the love two people have for each other, it’s also a legal contract between two people who wish to grow (old) together.

In this article, we provide a summary of the documents required to get married in South Africa.

Foreign Marriages in South Africa

Marriage laws in South Africa require foreign nationals and their future spouses to attend an interview in person with an Immigration Officer.

This can be done at their nearest Department of Home Affairs and at least two weeks before the wedding ceremony is to take place.

This interview is focused on establishing the authenticity of the marriage to circumvent the possibility of it being a marriage of convenience for the purpose of citizenship.

The following documents must be taken with to the interview:

  • A letter of non-hindrance from country of origin, stating that there is no legal objection to the marriage
  • Certified copy of passport
  • An affidavit issued by the marriage officer stating the absence of a South African identity number
  • 3 ID sized photos of each partner

Registration of Marriage in South Africa for South African Citizens

The following documents are required for South African citizens:

  • If previously married, a copy of certificate of divorce or death of deceased partner, whichever is relevant
  • Certified copy of ID document
  • 3 ID sized photos of each partner

Marriage Laws in South Africa

The Department of Home Affairs (DoHA) manages the solemnisation and registration of civil marriages, customary marriages and civil unions.

Any person who wants to get married must ensure:

  • They are legally allowed to get married
  • They understand the legal implications of marriage; unless a valid ante-nuptial contract is entered into, marriages in South Africa are automatically registered in community of property
  • All legal requirements are adhered to in order for the marriage to be legal and valid

Marriage Certificates

  • The marriage officer issues the newly wed couple with a marriage certificate once two witnesses and the marriage officer signs the marriage register. This takes place after the marriage is solemnised
  • The marriage officer submits the marriage register to the nearest DoHA so that the marriage can be registered in the National Population register
  • For an additional abridged of unabridged copy of the marriage certificate, from BI-130 must be completed in black ink at the nearest DoHA, South African embassy or consulate
Fees Payable
  • The first certificate is free, any additional copies will cost R20.00
  • A vault copy of the register can be computer printed or handwritten and requested by completing form BI-130 and paying the necessary fee

Prohibited Marriages in South Africa

The following are people who will be prohibited from entering into a legal marriage:

  • Any person who is currently married under South African law. Bigamy is a punishable offense in SA, and any such marriages will be legally nullified
  • Any person who is a minor and has not been given consent by parents are legal guardians

Legal Age to Get Married in South Africa – Consent to the Marriage of a Minor

  • Any minor who wishes to get married, written consent from the legal guardian or parent, along with Form DHA-32 completed by the legal caretaker must be submitted in order to obtain a marriage certificate
  • An application to a Commissioner of Child Welfare for consent of marriage can be made should a parent or guardian be incompetent or untraceable
  • Should consent be refused by legal guardian/parent/commissioner of child welfare, then an application can be made to a judge of the High Court. Consent will only be granted if the judge finds it in the best interest of the minor and previous consent has been unreasonably denied
  • In addition to the above-mentioned consent, boys under 18 years and girls under 16 years may be required to obtain consent from the Minister of Home Affairs

Van Deventers & Van Deventers Incorporated – Marriage Attorneys in South Africa

We provide expert legal assistance with the registration of marriage in South Africa as well as obtaining and issuing all legal documents required.

For more information about marriage laws in South Africa, or to learn more about our comprehensive legal services, contact us.

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