My spouse is a foreigner – and we wish to get married

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When a couple falls in love and decides to get married, the practicalities of the actual marriage ceremony (as opposed to the wedding) sometimes slip their mind. When a couple is made-up of one South African national and one foreign national, the fine details become even more complicated as a couple often doesn’t know what is required before a marriage officer will proceed with a ceremony.

Of most importance, the foreign national must be legal in the country – whether on a visitor or more long-term visa. Home Affairs will not entertain a marriage interview without the foreigner being legal in the country. If you are not legal and intend on getting married, please contact us to see how we can assist you.

Of equal importance, the foreign partner must obtain a letter of non-impediment from their home country. This letter attests to the fact that the foreigner is not currently married and are able to marry in South Africa. Depending on the country, this letter can take between 2 days to 2 months to obtain, so it is highly recommended that if you intend on getting married in South Africa to contact your embassy as a matter of priority.

Next, the letter of non-impediment is needed to obtain a marriage interview with the Department of Home Affairs. Without a marriage interview, it is not possible to get married. Obtaining a marriage interview takes roughly 14 working days, so be sure to schedule your ceremony accordingly.

Once the ceremony is complete, a vault copy of the marriage certificate will be obtained by the marriage officer and given to you. This will need to be used to apply for any abridged or unabridged marriage certificates in the future. An unabridged marriage certificate may be obtained directly from the Department of Home Affairs for a small fee. This marriage certificate is needed to register a marriage abroad.

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