Legal Requirements for Getting Married in South Africa
Allow at least 6-8 weeks from arrival in South Africa to receive a Marriage Certificate. We recommend giving yourself more time due to preparation, weekends, holidays or unexpected delays.
Necessary legal documents:
- Original or certified copy of birth certificates
- Valid Passports
- Foreign nationals marrying South African nationals: B1-31 Form/Affidavit declaring both parties free to marry
- Divorce decree, death or adoption certificates, if applicable
Legal requirements to get married:
- Ceremony (Civil/Religious)
Civil and religious ceremonies are legally recognized weddings preformed in South Africa. Authorized officiants only can perform marriage ceremonies, at the Department of Home Affairs, churches, and buildings with open doors.
- Age and Relation
The bride and groom must be at least 18 years of age. If they are underage, parental consent is necessary (Form DHA-32). Special circumstances and permission can be granted for women under the age of 15 and men under the age of 18 by supplying parental consent and consent from the Minister of Home Affairs. Underage marriages conducted without parental consent can be subject to parental requests to dissolve the marriage. Note that the legal age in your home country must be met to be recognized. For example, the United States requires that both parties be 18 years of age for your marriage to be recognized upon your return to the United States. The couple cannot be related by blood. The website for the provides the prohibited marriages.
Two witnesses must be present for the ceremony and provide their passports.
- The Marriage Register will need to be filled out in the presence of your marriage officiant and signed by the bride, groom and their two witnesses. The officiant will then issue a handwritten Marriage Certificate (BI-27).
- An Abridged Marriage Certificate will be issued, by the officiant , to the newlyweds, at the time of the ceremony. The officiant will then register the marriage with the Department of Home Affairs, who will issue an unabridged, official Marriage Certificate with Apostille or Authentication stamp (stamp not necessary for Common Wealth countries). This can take about 3 days.
- The couple will need to take this Marriage Certificate and file it with their Embassy to make sure their marriage is recognized in their home country.
- Copies of Abridged or unabridged Marriage Certificates can be requested from the Department of Home Affairs, your Embassy in South Africa, or a South African Embassy in your Home country. You will need to fill out and submit .
Note: This information can change at any given moment. For up-to-date information, contact your embassy in the country in which you plan to marry.
We invite you to contact us with any new information. Be sure to note, “Update Marriage Requirements in South Africa” in the subject line.