Rules and regulations of marriage seem to be different in various parts of the world including South Africa. If you happen to find yourself in South Africa with an intention to get married there, it is best you discover how to get married in South Africa to enable you to get it right and avoid any mishap.
In South Africa, marriage can be categorized as a civil marriage, customary marriage, civil union, or religious marriage. A religious marriage is not recognized as a legal marriage under South African law, but the spouses in a religious marriage are protected by law in certain instances.
Marriages/Weddings in South Africa must happen in a religious building, public office, or private house. If there is a serious illness, the wedding can take place inside a hospital. However, if you plan to marry outside of these places, you may need to repeat the legal aspect of the service.
Whatever the culture, the quickest way to get married in South Africa is to find a Marriage Officer who will educate you and fill you in on all that is required for the marriage process to be completed. Getting a marriage officer to help you with the requirements and preliminaries is just the first step, below are the rest of the steps on how to get married in South Africa.
How To Get Married In South Africa
To start the process of marriage, you must first register an intention to marry with the Department of Home Affairs and apply for a marriage certificate. This application must be done at least three months prior to the wedding date to enable the preparations and processes required to get the certificate ready.
At Home affairs, you will be issued a form which should be completed and submitted along with relevant supporting documents:
- Identification documents, such as a South African ID card
- Passports (both parties are required to submit their passports if one partner is not from South Africa, but in the case where they are both South Africans, one passport will suffice).
- A complete BI-31 form, which declares that you may legally marry
- Written consent from parents (for minors under the age of 18) and/or Form DHA-32. For boys under the age of 18 and girls under the age of 15, consent from the Minister of Home Affairs is also necessary.
- Official divorce decree, stamped by the court, if one partner has previously been married.
- Death certificate, if one partner has been widowed.
The marriage certificate offered may be Abridged marriage certificates or Unabridged marriage certificates. Abridged certificates are free of charge for first-time applicants; subsequent copies may require a small fee, such as R75 for unabridged marriage certificates.
On the day of your application, an abridged certificate will be issued on the same day whereas an application for an unabridged certificate takes approximately 6 to 8 weeks to process.
After documentation of the marriage process, the next step is to conduct an interview. An interview legally confirms a marriage in South Africa. The purpose of this interview is to ensure that both parties are willingly entering into a marriage of their own accord and not under duress. If you miss an interview, officials won’t register the marriage certificate. As a result, they will nullify the marriage.
Furthermore, witnesses are required to make sure that the wedding was done legally, that neither party was being forced into the marriage against their will and that the marriage was done correctly. The witnesses are also required to sign the marriage certificate to prove its authenticity.
The marriage ceremonies must also have a licensed marriage officer. Examples of this include a religious minister, magistrate, or a Home Affairs marriage officer.