Marrying A Foreigner In South Africa

getting married


When two South Africans intend on getting married to one another they first have to provide evidence that they are legally allowed to get married.

However, when a South African citizen plans on getting married to a foreigner in South Africa they need to follow through with a different process.

The Marriage Act of 1961 and the Civil Union Act of 2006 state that marriage is a legal binding contract in South Africa.

When the foreign partner gets to South Africa, they need to have a valid status like a visit visa for instance which allows them to stay for thirty or ninety days with the option to extend. These visa exempt countries for South Africa do not require a visit visa for South Africa.

If the foreign partner decides to stay in South Africa alongside their newly wedded spouse, then they would have to apply for a Spousal Visa.

If you do not qualify for the visa, then you can read about the different South Africa visa types.

Spousal & Life Partner Visa

Begin your journey together with a Spousal Visa for South Africa

Embrace a life of shared dreams, unforgettable moments, and boundless opportunities. Take the leap of love and start your visa application now. South Africa awaits your union—apply today and build a future filled with love, adventure, and cherished memories!

Procedure For Marrying A Foreigner In South Africa


how to get married


Requirements For Marrying A Foreigner In South Africa

Step 1:

Before getting married, you first need to think and do the following:

  • Check that you are legally allowed to get married
  • Understand that marriage is automatically entered into a community of property. You need to have an ante-nuptial before the wedding.
  • Ensure that your wedding complies with all the laws for it to be valid.

South Africans can easily check their marriage status by sending an SMS to the Department of Home Affairs.

You need to do the following:

  1. SMS the letter M followed your Identity Number to 32551
  2. A reply SMS will be texted back to you confirming your marriage status.

Each SMS costs R 1.00

The following persons are not allowed to get married as per the Department of Home Affairs website.

  • If you are already married.
  • A minor under the age of 18. (Must have consent from parents, legal guardian or court to get married)
  • If you or your partner suffers from any severe mental disorders.

Step 2:

Register an intention to marry:

The second step you need to do is to register an intention to marry with Home Affairs to obtain a marriage certificate.

You can register three months before your wedding day.

It’s smarter to do it earlier as sometimes there could be delays or they could have many requests then.

The required documentation:

  • Identity documents (Both Partners)
  • Passports of the foreign applicant and South African citizen
  • Duly completed BI-311 form (This form declares that you are allowed to get married)
  • Letter of No Impediment
  • If getting married to a minor (Consent from a parent, legal guardian or court) or form 32 – Boys under the age of 18 and girls under the age of 15 require consent from the Minister of Home Affairs.
  • Divorce decree if one of the applicants has been married before.
  • Death certificate in respect of your late spouse.
  • Passport-sized photos for both applicants.
  • Proof of temporary residence permit/visa for the foreign applicant.

These are the requirements to follow when you would like to register the intention to get married.

The Letter Of No Impediment


Single status letter


If you are getting married in South Africa, you must apply for your letter of no impediment before you come to South Africa.

The reason why we say this is because the letter of impediment can take a while before you receive it.

In some countries, it is referred to as the single status letter and this can be obtained in your country of citizenship.

You can apply for this letter at your country representing embassy or consulate if you are in South Africa already.

The purpose of this letter is to state that you are not married in your country of residence and that you are free to marry in South Africa or any other country.

The United Kingdom does not issue these and you would need to have an affidavit drawn up or notarised then stamped by your embassy or consulate.

Spousal & Life Partner Visa

Begin your journey together with a Spousal Visa for South Africa

Embrace a life of shared dreams, unforgettable moments, and boundless opportunities. Take the leap of love and start your visa application now. South Africa awaits your union—apply today and build a future filled with love, adventure, and cherished memories!

Where Are You Allowed To Get Married?

Where are you allowed to get married in South Africa

The person who marries you who is referred to as a marriage officer must be authorised in terms of Act No 25 of 1961.

Wedding ceremonies are performed at the Department of Home Affairs or at a church which an authorised marriage officer needs to conduct.

You need to have two witnesses at your wedding and the wedding must take place in one of the following:

  • A building that is used for religious purposes or church.
  • In a private house or public office, with open doors.
  • At a hospital or concerned facility in case of serious illness or injuries.

What Happens When A South African Marries A Foreigner

Marrying someone

The couple would need to complete the above steps and then attend an immigration interview for marriage at one of your local Home Affairs.

The interview is to check whether you are a genuine couple and that both partners entered the relationship willingly.

The interview is quite short and if the foreign applicant is from a country where previous applicants were caught out for fraudulent marriages then you can certainly expect it to be lengthy and investigative.

Please ensure that you have booked way in advance for the interview as you could wait three weeks or more to obtain a date for the interview.

You and your partner will be split up for the interview process.

Once they are satisfied they issue you a letter which you need to give to the marriage officer.

Understanding The Different Types Of Marriage Certificates

marriage certificate

The South African marriage Act states that the couple must receive a marriage certificate after they are married.

The marriage certificate requires that you have two witnesses and the marriage officer present.

The type of marriage certificate issued to you depends if you are a foreigner.

Unabridged Marriage Certificate

This is issued to couples who are non-South African, one partner is a foreign applicant and couples who plan on leaving the country.

The unabridged marriage certificate with the apostille stamp from the High court helps you register your marriage in your foreign partner’s place of residence.

You can request an unabridged certificate from Home Affairs, the South African embassy or the consulate.

You need to fill in the BI-130 form in black ink and pay the prescribed fee.

Abridged Marriage Certificate

The abridged certificate is issued to you once you are married.

If one partner is a South African citizen and you are planning on staying in South Africa then this certificate will suffice.

Can You Get Married With A Visitor Visa In South Africa?

getting married on a tourist visa

Yes, you are allowed to get married in SA with a visitor visa.

If you entered South Africa and have no visa then you are illegal and cannot get married here.

You need to have some sort of status meaning some sort of temporary residence permit or visa.

If you are planning on applying for a spousal visa then you can read our blog which explains section 11 (6) immigration Act of South Africa explaining how to get a work endorsement on a spousal visa in South Africa.

The documents for a temporary spouse visa in South Africa requirements are quite straightforward.

Once you have all the documents then you can submit your application.

Contact Migrate With Q to assist you with a spousal visa. We are based in Cape Town and can assist you from anywhere in the world. The process to get married can belong if you are not familiar with what needs to happen. Hopefully, this blog post gives you all the information you need.

About Charl

Charl Vollmer

Charl Vollmer has 8 years of experience helping people immigrate to South Africa. I am passionate about helping people and making their dreams a reality. Charl constantly stays up to date with South African Immigration rules and regulations.  To contact Charl, visit our contact page.

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