What documentation is required to get married?
The following must be presented to the marriage officer at anytime before the wedding:
Your ID Books, a certified copy of the Bride and the Groom’s ID books or Passport.
If you have been married before: a Divorce decree
If you are a widow or widower: a Death certificate
Confirmation letter from a Notary with signing of a prenuptial contract if you have chosen to do one.
If you are not South African, certified copies of your passport picture page and visa page.
If either of you are not a South African citizen, an interview with an immigration officer at the office where your marriage officer is registered needs to be conducted - please state this in your application.
How long does it take to get registered?
Your Marriage Officer is required to submit all documentation to Home Affairs. Once submitted home affairs takes over the responsibility to capture the marriage in the population register and update the system with your new status.
In our experience they are pretty good with this and will do it the day it is submitted, in some cases the following day. This all means your marriage should be on the system within 14 working days of your wedding.
How is our marriage registered?
On the day of the wedding once the ceremony has been concluded you will sign a marriage register along with the marriage officer and two witnesses. The Marriage Officer will submit this register to Home Affairs who will then enter the information onto the system and you will be classified as married. This process can take up to two months depending on the efficiency of the department
What documentation do we get once married?
On the day of the wedding you will be given a “hand-written marriage certificate” which is a blank form filled in with your details by the Marriage Officer. Once the marriage is registered you will be able to obtain either an abridged or unabridged certificate from Home Affairs. This stays the responsibilty of you as a couple, because of biometric identification which is required for application of an unabridged certificate. This is not done automatically and would have to be specifically applied for.
What is the difference between an abridged and unabridged certificate and do we need either?
An abridged certificate is a certificate printed certificate by Home Affairs which contains both your personal details such as full name and ID number as well as the date of the marriage. It is a good idea to get this as it is generally more acceptable than just the hand written certificate. The unabridged certificate (also known as a full marriage certificate) is also printed by Home Affairs and contains more detailed information. This is the most formal form of certificate and is required if you plan to travel extensively, emigrate or obtain a foreign passport. Additionally if one or both of you are not South African the unabridged certificate will be required to register the marriage in your home country. In short, your unabridged marriage certificate is ultimate proof of your marriage and is usable in all circumstances.
How do I know my Marriage Officer is legitimate?
Every Marriage Officer has been approved and designated by Home Affairs. They are registered at their respective home affairs offices. Their status is confirmed with a “designation letter”. In this letter they are given a designation number. This number will start with the letters “BD” and followed by a 5 or 6 digit number. In the case of Civil Union Marriage Officers the number is preceded with “CU” and a 3 digit number.
If you want to be sure your Marriage Officer’s credentials are in order, ask him for his Designation number and office of registration. You can contact that office and confirm his designation.