Getting legally married in South Africa
The legal part of getting married in South Africa is very simple. At it’s most basic this is what is required:
- You and your partner to be present
- Have your South African IDs
- Have two witnesses present
- Have a registered Marriage Officer present
The Marriage Officer will take you through a short ceremony (called the ‘Marriage Formula’) which really is asking you both this question: Do you, [name], declare that as far as you know there is no lawful impediment to your proposed marriage with [name] here present, and that you call all here present to witness that you take [name] as your lawful [wife/husband]?
This can take place at your home or in a public building or any place that has been designated to perform marriages (such as the ‘chapel’ at a wedding venue).
This simple process does get a little more complicated depending on circumstances as follows:
Been Married Before
If either you or your partner have been married before you will need to have proof a copy of the divorce decree. In the case where a previous spouse passed away a death certificate will need to be given to the Marriage Officer.
Non South Africans
In the case that you and your partner are both non-South African you will require the following
- A ‘letter of non-impediment’. This is a letter or form from your embassy and or home affairs equivalent that states you are not already married in your home country
- Copies of your passport picture page and visa page
A South African marrying a non-South African
The non-South African party getting married will require the letter of non-impediment and passport copies as per the previous point and;
Both parties will be required to be interviewed by an immigration official at Home Affairs. This interview is to determine that the marriage is genuine and not one ‘of convenience’ i.e. only for the purpose of obtaining a South African visa.
This interview can be a complication to arrange as every Home Affairs office has their own process for setting these up and times when they will do the interviews. Your Marriage Officer should be able to assist in the process.
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