How to get married at Home Affairs

by | Apr 5, 2019

Up until approximately 2002 you could go to court and be married by a Magistrate. This is no longer the case. This role was moved to Home Affairs.  Every office has at least one designated Marriage Officer. This is most often a secondary role in that it is not his person’s primary duty to conduct marriages.

Same Sex marriages were formalised in 2006 with the promulgation of the Civil Union Act.  This law made is optional for Home Affairs Marriage Officers to decide if they were okay with concluding same sex marriages.  This has resulted in many offices refuses to assist same sex couples.  This is untenable and in late 2018 regulations were issued stating that Home Affairs were no longer allowed to turn away same sex couples.  There is a 2 year period stipulated to rectify this. 

Marriages are not concluded every day. Each office has their own schedule of which days they do marriages. 

The advantage, and it is the only advantage, of getting married at Home Affairs is that it is free of charge. 

Keep in mind that each office tends to have their own variations on the process but generally the process of arranging to be married at a Home Affairs office is as follows: 

  1. You or your partner have to visit your local home affairs with your original IDs and a copy. 
  2. They will check their diary and advise you of the next available day and time. 
  3. On the scheduled date you must arrive with your IDs and two witnesses who must bring their IDs and a copy as well. 
  4. You can bring additional people with but space is generally limited and you will be sharing the space with other couples who have been scheduled to be married on the same day. 
  5. The Marriage Officer will check your IDs and witnesses IDs, fill in the marriage register, take your left thumb print and then ask you each two questions. This is know as the “marriage formula”. 
  6. The register is signed by the two of you, your two witnesses and the Marriage Officer. 
  7. You will be given a manual Marriage Certificate. This is an A5 size certificate with your details hand written on it. 

That’s it! Excluding any wait time, which is very likely, the process takes about 15 minutes. 

How should I dress for my Home Affairs wedding? 

There is no dress code. Most couples make some sort of effort with a suit or dress. But they also come in jeans and overalls. It all depends on circumstance. 

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