Required Documentation

Please note that we try stay as up to date as possible with the policies of Home Affairs. However the policies can change without notice. We will endeavour however to keep this website updated as we are informed of any changes.

SA citizen marrying a SA citizen:

The following documents are required:

  • Clear copies of your (bride & groom) green identity documents or new ID cards (for South African citizens).
  • A covering letter from your lawyer if you have set up an Ante Nuptial Contract.
  • Three recent ID photographs of bride, groom.
  • If any party is divorced a copy of the final decree of divorce is required.
  • If any party is a widower or widow, a copy of the death certificate is required.
  • Two people need to act as witnesses and a copy of both of their South African Identity Documents if they are SA citizens or copies of their passports if non SA citizens with relevant visas or entry stamps are required. (Both witnesses have to be 21 years or older).
  • It is a new legal requirement for me to obtain fingerprints of the bride and groom. This will be done on your wedding day by the marriage officer.

When a SA citizen marries a non SA citizen in South Africa:

Please be aware of the new referral system regarding setting up an interview at Home Affairs with an immigration officer. This is when a couple get married in South Africa and one is an SA Citizen and the other is a non SA Citizen. An interview needs to happen with an immigration officer prior to the wedding.

  • Couple to present relevant marriage documentation to the marriage department at Home Affairs George Branch. My colleague Derek Flanigan or I (Gavin Brown) will meet the couple before they go to Home Affairs to make sure all the documentation is in order.
  • If all documentation is correct, a representative from the marriage section will accompany the couple to immigration to make an appointment. There might be a chance that an immigration officer can see you straight away but this is not a guarantee.
  • Couple goes for interview with immigration officer.
  • Immigration officer completes an interview form that is given back to the couple who will give it to the marriage officer to submit with other documentation as normal after the wedding ceremony.

Notes:
The referral system is new and couples are not able to phone Home Affairs to set up an interview telephonically.

This new referral system has an impact on when couples arrive in The Garden Route prior to their wedding day. I would recommend that if couples are getting married on a Saturday for example, that they should aim to arrive in the Garden Route on the Monday or Tuesday before their wedding to enable the couple time to visit Home Affairs on the Monday or Tuesday with the relevant documentation which will allow enough time for them to have the interview with an immigration officer on Tuesday, Wednedsay or Thursday before their wedding on Saturday.

Documents that are required by the couple to take to Home Affairs Marriage department at George Branch for a referral:

  • Copy of the passport of the Non SA Citizen together with the copy of the page containing the entry stamp into SA.
  • Copy of the ID book or new ID card for the SA Citizen.
  • Bi31 Form for the non SA Citizen. I have copies of this form which I will email to whoever needs a copy of this form.
  • Where applicable – final decrees of divorce where the current marital status is divorced.
  • Same with death certificate where a person’s marital status is widow or widower.
  • Letter of no lawful impediment for the non SA Citizen. If it is not in English then it will need to be officially translated – see note below.
  • Copies of two witnesses ID books or new ID cards if they are SA Citizens or passport and page containing entry stamp into SA if witnesses are non SA Citizens.
  • Affidavit or no lawful impediment oath where a country does not issue no lawful impediment letters.
  • Signed letter from marriage officer confirming he is officiating the wedding ceremony for the couple.
  • 3x colour ID photos of groom and bride (although this is not required for the referral for the interview) but needed by the marriage officer to complete marriage register for day of wedding.

SA Citizens who do not have green SA ID Books or the new ID Card.

Home Affairs requires the green ID book or the new ID card for SA Citizens getting married in SA. SA Passports are not accepted. If an SA Citizen does not have an ID book or card then they will either need to apply for one prior to their wedding or apply for a temporary ID document and this will be accepted.

If the person does not have an SA ID document they have to apply for a temp ID but if their fingerprints are not on new system they will have to apply for new ID card. This will have to be done at Home Affairs George Branch when you arrive before getting the referral to have an interview with an immigration officer. I believe that you can make application for this at an SA Embassy, this would be outside SA but I am not totally sure.

No Lawful impediment letter

For the non SA Citizen getting married in South Africa, our Home Affairs require an official no lawful impediment letter from your relevant government department in your country of origin basically saying that there is no lawful impediment to you getting married. If they do not issue no lawful impediment letters then you need an official letter on a letterhead signed and stamped from them stating this and only then will Home Affairs in SA accept a notarized oath which I will email you.

Please note that it is the groom or bride’s (whoever is the SA Citizen) responsibility to make sure that your marital status on the Home Affairs system is correct. This is not an issue if you have not been married before but if you are divorced, please make sure you have a final decree of divorce issued from SA containing a case number and the court name. Home Affairs only accept a final decree of divorce issued in SA

A note about dual citizenship

If a person has dual citizenship for example SA and UK citizenship then that person must enter SA on their SA passport. It is an offence to enter SA on a foreign passport.

Unabridged Marriage Certificates amended 2015

A new regulation is that Marriage officers are no longer allowed to apply for unabridged marriage certificates on behalf of couples. An unabridged marriage certificate is like an international marriage certificate that couples who get married in South Africa require in order to register their marriage overseas (or in your country of Origin).

If both husband and wife are non South African Citizens they can personally apply at Home Affairs for an unabridged marriage certificate The couple will need to take with them the relevant documentation; copies of passports, entry visa pages, marriage certificate obtained from marriage officer and copies of pages of register.

Please note that Home Affairs no longer issues handwritten unabridged marriage certificates as all applications at the local Home Affairs now get submitted by them to Home Affairs in Pretoria.

Another option is if you have a family member residing in South Africa, you are allowed to authorize your family member to apply for an unabridged marriage certificate on your behalf. A letter giving the family member permission to apply on your behalf and to collect the certificate must be drawn up by you and must be accompanied by a copy of their ID and copies of passports, entry visa pages, marriage certificate obtained from marriage officer and copies of pages of register. This is the latest info from Home Affairs but can change without notice.

If either spouse (or both) is a SA Citizen and gets married in SA using their SA Identity document, they will obtain a printed unabridged marriage certificate which is processed in Pretoria so that it can be captured on the Home Affairs System. Again, couples can apply for this at a Home Affairs Branch in South Africa or at the South African Embassy overseas where they reside or give permission to a family member to apply on their behalf. Please note that it is common for this process to take up to 8 months or longer before you obtain your unabridged marriage certificate.