How Does The Marriage Process In South Africa Work?

Couples often choose to have their weddings in South Africa because of the country’s pleasant climate and breathtaking natural scenery. In South Africa, however, you will not be able to get married until you have provided evidence that you meet the legal requirements to do so. If they comply with the necessary steps, couples who do not reside in South Africa can obtain a marriage license there.

In South Africa, getting married constitutes entering into a legally binding agreement. Marriages in South Africa are governed by both the South African Marriage Act of 1961 and the South African Civil Union Act of 2006. Both lay out the regulations that govern the procedure of getting married, including who can marry whom, where the ceremony can take place, and how it should be performed. If you do not adhere to the rules and regulations, there is a possibility that your marriage will be deemed invalid.

Every couple that intends to get married in South Africa is required to abide by the country’s regulations, regardless of whether one partner is a South African citizen and the other is a foreigner, a South African citizen is marrying a foreigner, or both partners are foreigners.

In South Africa, Who is Eligible to Get Married?

You are required to satisfy the marriage requirements set forth by the Department of Home Affairs to get married in South Africa. This shouldn’t be a problem in the vast majority of instances. According to the laws of marriage in South Africa, the following people are not allowed to marry in South Africa:

Individuals who are currently married If you have already been married in the past, you are required to provide evidence that the marriage was legally dissolved before you can get married again.

Those who are considered to be minors (people who are younger than 18 years old), unless they can provide written consent from their parents, legal guardian, or the court, based on the situation. Persons who have serious psychological illnesses that inhibit them from comprehending the purpose of getting married or making decisions

Asylum seekers and refugees may marry in South Africa if they fulfill the Home Affairs marital prerequisites. They should also provide Home Affairs with a legitimate asylum seeker/refugee license. Furthermore, they must also submit a statement from the authorities verifying their relationship status.

The Application for a Marriage License in South Africa

To begin the process, you should first register an actual intent to marry with the Home Affairs Department and apply for a marriage license. Partners must apply for a Department of Home Affairs marriage license at least three months before the wedding. Home affairs marital documents are accessible upon request. Submit the paperwork along with the applicable supporting documents:

  • ID papers, such as a South African ID card
  • Both passports, if one individual is not South African
  • A filled-out BI-31 form, which proclaims that you can legally marry

All youth under the age of 18 are required to present either Form DHA-32 or authored permission from both of their parents. In addition, permission from the Minister of Home Affairs is required for individuals who are under the age of 18 on the male side and 15 on the female side. If either of the partners has been married before, there must be a formal divorce decree that has been stamped by the court.

Certificate of Death, in the Event, That One Person Has Been Widowed

If you are applying for a marriage certificate for the first time, you are only required to pay for the abridged version, which is free of charge. If you are applying for additional copies, you may be required to pay a small fee, such as R75 for the unabridged version.

Marriage Certificates Are Available in South Africa’s Various Formats

By the Marriage Act of South Africa, couples are required to obtain a marriage license directly following the ceremony. Your nationality will determine the kind of marriage certificate you will need to get married. To obtain a marriage certificate, two witnesses and the official who performed the ceremony are required.

A Condensed Version of the Marriage Certificate

Every couple that gets married in South Africa is given a shortened version of their marriage certificate, which is then given to them immediately following the ceremony. This is the sole certificate you need if you or one of your companions is a native South African and currently resides in South Africa.

Certificate of Marriage, Complete and Unabridged

Non-South African partners, couples in which one person is not South African, and couples who are not currently residing in South Africa are all eligible to receive unabridged versions of their marriage certificates. If you intend to spend a significant amount of time outside of the country shortly after your wedding, you should apply for an unabridged version of your marriage certificate. You can register your marriage in the country in which you currently reside by utilizing unabridged marriage certificates that have received an apostille from the Cape Town High Court.

The Steps Involved in the Wedding Ceremony in South Africa

A legally authorized marriage officer must preside over all wedding ceremonies. A religious minister, a magistrate, or a marriage officer from the Department of Home Affairs are all examples of this type of person. In South Africa, weddings are required to take place in either a place of worship, a public office, or a private residence. A wedding could take place in a hospital if one of the parties has a life-threatening condition.

The Ceremony Must Be Completed With Two Eyewitnesses Present

You may be required to repeat the legal portion of the service if you intend to get married in a garden or on a beach. The same rules apply if the wedding takes place in a restaurant or some other type of building that is not specifically defined by the act. However, as long as your wedding is solemnized by an experienced Marriage Officer, the courts are not likely to freely proclaim a marriage illegitimate simply because it was held in the incorrect location. This is because the courts do not consider it a sufficient reason to proclaim a marriage null and void.

Marriages Performed Either by Home Affairs or in Court

Any Home Affairs office is suitable for hosting wedding ceremonies for heterosexual couples who do not intend to wed in a place of worship or a public venue. There is no fee associated with wedding ceremonies performed at a Home Office.

Finalize the Interview for the Marriage

Interviews with the Department of Home Affairs are mandatory for couples in South Africa who want their marriage to be recognized by the state. This procedure’s goal is to establish that both parties are voluntarily joining into a marriage of their own free will and are not being coerced into doing so by a third party. If you are unable to attend an interview, the relevant authorities will not register your marriage certificate. As a direct consequence of this, they will call the marriage off.

In South Africa, Prenups Are Common

In South Africa, all marriages are presumed to be “in the community of property,” which means that the assets of both partners are combined. Getting married outside of the community of property requires prior consultation with a legal professional. A prenup agreement is a contract that specifies how property will be divided in the event of a divorce or death of either party after the marriage.

Prenuptial agreements shield one party from responsibility for financial obligations racked up by their future spouse and enable both parties to retain ownership of wealth and property acquired during their marriage. You are required to show any prenups to the marriage officer before getting married, along with a letter from your attorney confirming that both parties have agreed to the terms of the agreement.