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Foreign nationals marrying South African citizens

Foreign nationals marrying South African citizens – What are the requirements?

There are certain marriage requirements for foreigners in South Africa. These requirements are specific and must be met in order for the marriage to be lawful.

Foreign Nationals marrying South Africans

These requirements have been put into place so as to avoid the possibility of marriages of convenience taking place when it comes to a foreigner marrying a South African citizen.

Foreign nationals marrying South African citizens have been found to be doing so merely in order to obtain citizenship in the country. This type of marriage is unlawful and a criminal offense.

Marriage requirements for foreigners in South Africa

Firstly, both partners are required to attend an interview with an Immigration Officer at least two weeks before the date of the wedding ceremony. This interview can take place at their nearest Department of Home Affairs.

During the interview, each partner will be asked several questions pertaining to their relationship. These questions will help the marriage officer determine the legitimacy of the relationship and whether or not it’s one of convenience.

Should the interview prove successful, the couple will be issued with a document which permits them to legally marry in South Africa.

Whether the couple would like to marry at the Department of Home Affairs or in the form of a formal wedding is irrelevant. The document permitting the marriage allows the marriage to take place anywhere in the country.

Once the marriage has been documented, a marriage certificate is printed and issued within a few days. A printed certificate is the preferred document when applying for a visa, however, the handwritten certificate can suffice.

Documents required for foreign marriages in SA

The foreign national marrying a South African is required to submit certain documents at the interview which will be thoroughly investigated by the Immigration officer.

These documents include:

  • A letter of non-hindrance from your home country which proves that you are not already married and there are no other objections to your marriage
  • 3 ID photos of each partner
  • An affidavit which states that you do not have a South African Identity number
  • A certified copy of your passport
  • Two witnesses to observe your marriage and then sign the marriage register. These witnesses must provide identification of some sort.

The Department of Home Affairs will hand the final clearance document to the marriage officer before the wedding ceremony.

The marriage may then be solemnised by a marriage officer and can be done either at the Department of Home Affairs or at an official wedding ceremony.

Van Deventer & Van Deventer Incorporated – Attorneys in Sandton and Cape Town

Our attorneys in Cape Town and Johannesburg are experts in marital law. For legal assistance with the marriage requirements for foreigners in South Africa, contact us.

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