Marrying A Foreigner In South Africa

Foreign marriages in South Africa

How To Get Married To A Foreigner In South Africa

South Africans marrying foreigners in South Africa is not something unique. This happens quite often, but people are confused about what they need to do before they get married.

As a foreigner getting married in South Africa there are documents you and your partner are going to need before you take the final step.

Today we would like to break down the processes you need to follow and the documents you need to collect for the process.

Pro-tip: Foreigners when entering through a port of entry in South Africa must mention that they intend to get married in South Africa. 

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Step 1: Marriage Interview and Documents Needed

When a South African citizen and a foreign national would like to get married in South Africa, they need to first complete a premarital interview with the Department of Home Affairs.

The reason for the interview is to confirm that your relationship is genuine and not one of convenience. 

Documents for Foreign National

Documents For South African Citizen

Letter of Non-Impediment

Copy of Identity Document

Copy of Passport Bio Data Page

 

Valid Visa 

 

1.1 Letter Of Non-Impediment

All foreign nationals who would like to get married in South Africa must apply for a letter of non-impediment sometimes referred to as a single status letter.

The letter confirms that you are not married and are divorced. Verifying your marital status.

The letter must be applied for at your Embassy in South Africa. The letter approximately takes two weeks to obtain from the embassy. 

If you apply for the letter of non-impediment in your home country, then the Department of Home Affairs will first have to verify with the issuing authority department in your country. This will cause delays so apply for it in South Africa.

If your embassy does not issue the letter of non-impediment then you need to request a letter stating that they do not issue these letters.

Pro-tip: If your embassy does not issue the non-impediment letter, obtain a letter stating that they do not and go to the South African Police to obtain an affidavit swearing that you are not married.

1.2 The Rest Of The Documents:

Once you have your letter of non-impediment, make certified copies of the following documents:

  • Passport Bio Data Page
  • Copy of your current visa (visitors visa for example)
  • Copy of your South African partner’s identity document (ID documents).

My thoughts: If you were married before and are divorced – please make a certified copy of your divorce decree and keep it just in case they request it. Also if applicable keep a certified copy of a death certificate in respect of a late spouse.

Pro-tip: The South African citizen should take the identity document (ID) to the Department of Home Affairs and ask them to verify their status as wellThe outcome will be given to them on a formal paper verifying their marriage which is then given to the marriage officer.

1.3 Securing An Appointment With The Department Of Home Affairs

Once you have collected all the necessary documents needed for the premarital interview, then the next step is securing an appointment with the Department of Home Affairs.

Pro-tip: Go to a rather large Home Affairs office as most of the smaller satellite offices do not offer the marriage interview service.

Speak to an immigration official to request an appointment date and they will confirm available dates.

At this point please ensure that you have a marriage officer as this will come in handy with the next step.

Remember you have to go together as a couple to secure the appointment.

1.4 Attending The Premarital Interview

On the given date of your appointment, you and your partner will need to be there in person.

You will be interviewed separately and asked a few questions about your relationship.

Once the interview has been completed with both of you and the immigration officials are satisfied then they will email the approval letter to your nominated marriage officer.

Once you have completed the interview then you can go ahead and get married.

If you are struggling to secure an appointment then you need to check DHA’s website to speak to the responsible officials for premarital interviews.

My thoughts: Couples are often overwhelmed with the entire process. However, they need to think about possibly extending the foreigner’s visit visa and if the foreign national intends on staying in South Africa after they are married then the Husband or Wife would need to apply for a South African spousal visa.

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!

 

What Documents Are Needed On The Day Of The Wedding?

An important aspect that couples need to remember is that marriages are automatically registered into a community of property. 

The following documents are needed to get married:

Documents Needed from Foreigner

Documents Needed From South African citizen

Certified Copy of Passport Bio Data Page

Certified copy of identity document

Passport Size Photographs

Passport size photographs

If applicable divorce decree

If applicable divorce decree

If applicable death certificate in respect of late spouse

If applicable death certificate in respect of late spouse

Certified copy of visa

 

Once the wedding proceedings have been completed by the marriage officer, both the husband and wife will have to sign the BI-31 form.

When the marriage officer registers your marriage with the Department of Home Affairs then he or she will include the outcome from your premarital interview.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do We Need To Do The Premarital Interview?

Yes, all foreign nationals who intend to get married to a South African citizen in South Africa must complete the interview.

How Long Does It Take To Marry A Foreigner In South Africa?

This largely depends on how quickly you can obtain all the documents needed. The appointments and securing a marriage officer depends on the availability. If you are motivated you can complete this within 90 days.

What Visa Can My Foreign Spouse Apply For To Stay In South Africa After We Are Married?

Your spouse can apply for a spousal visa or a spousal visitor visa. You are more than welcome to take our free assessment.

What Happens If My Marriage Officer Does Not Include The Outcome Letter When Registering Our Marriage?

Your marriage will not be recognized and registered on the Department of Home Affairs system.

Citations:

The information contained within this article was cited from the following sources:

1. Charl Vollmer’s – 12 years immigration experience dealing with couples getting married and applying for spousal visas.

2. The Department of Home Affairs

3. Benaters – Letter on Non-Impediment 

 


About Charl

Charl Vollmer

Charl Vollmer has 12 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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