How To: Getting Married at Home Affairs

Informative

Getting Married at Home Affairs

There are many benefits of getting married at Home Affairs and there are many reasons that people might choose to go this route. Whatever your decision, below you’ll find the information you need if you plan on having your marriage ceremony at any Home Affairs office in South Africa.

Couples that want to get married, but are not interested in a ceremony at a church or other public location may hold their ceremony at any South African Home Affairs office. Marriage ceremonies at a Home Office are FREE OF CHARGE and entitled under the Civil Union Act 2006 for both heterosexual and same-sex couples.

Before a marriage is declared legal in South Africa, couples are required to attend a Home Affairs marriage interview. The purpose of this procedure is to ensure that both parties are willingly entering into the marriage of their own accord, and not under duress. If you fail to attend an interview, the marriage certificate will not be registered and the marriage will be declared null and void.

Important to remember:

Marriages in South Africa are automatically ‘in community of property’, meaning that assets from both partners are joined. If you intend to get married ‘out of community of property’ in South Africa — meaning that you keep your assets separate—, you should consult a lawyer beforehand to draw up a contract designating the division of property, called a prenuptial agreement.

Pre-nuptial arrangements protect one party from liability of debts accrued by their spouse and allows you to maintain wealth and property accumulated during the marriage.

Before getting married, you are required to present any prenuptial agreements to the marriage officer with a letter from your lawyer confirming the agreement was mutual.

Before getting married:

  • ensure that you are legally allowed to marry
  • understand the legal consequences of a marriage, particularly that marriages in South Africa are automatically in ‘community of property’ unless a valid ante-nuptial contract has been entered into before the marriage
  • make sure that your marriage will comply with all the legal requirements for a valid marriage

Documents required to enter into heterosexual marriage:

  • Identity documents (of each person getting married)
  • If a foreign national is marrying a South African citizen, they should both present their valid passports as well as well as a completed BI-31 Form (Declaration for the Purpose of Marriage, Letter of No Impediment)
  • If the wedding includes a minor (a person under the age of 18 years), the written consent of both parents/legal guardian or the Commissioner of Child Welfare or a judge should be submitted on Form DHA-32 as well. If the minors getting married are under the ages of 18 for boys or 15 for girls, the written consent from the Minister of Home Affairs will also be required
  • If any of the persons getting married are divorced, then the final decree of divorce should be furnished
  • If any of the persons getting married are widowed, the deceased spouse’s death certificate must be submitted.

Documents required to enter into a Civil Union (or same-sex marriage)

  • Identity Document (of each person entering into the Civil Union)
  • If a foreign national is marrying a South African citizen, they should both present their valid passports as well as well as a completed BI-31 Form (Declaration for the Purpose of Marriage, Letter of No Impediment)
  • A completed Form DHA-1763 (Declaration for the Purpose of Marriage)
  • Form DHA-1766 (Civil Union Register), which must be completed by the marriage officer
  • A completed Form DHA-1764 (Registration of a Civil Union) in which the couple must indicate whether or not they are entering into a Civil Union marriage or a Civil Union partnership
  • If any of the persons getting married are divorced, then the final decree of divorce should be furnished
  • If any of the persons getting married are widowed, the deceased spouse’s death certificate must be submitted.

Marriage certificates

Two witnesses and the marriage officer must sign the marriage register after the solemnisation of a marriage. The marriage officer must then issue the parties with a handwritten marriage certificate (BI-27) free of charge.

Any additional abridged copies or unabridged copies of the marriage certificate can be requested by:

  • Completing Form BI-130 in black ink and submitting it to the nearest office of the Department of Home Affairs or to the nearest South African embassy, mission or consulate abroad
  • Paying the prescribed fee

(The first issue of an abridged marriage certificate is free, and a re-issue is R75.00)

ADD A COMMENT

[…] you’re interested in getting married at Home Affairs like Zanie and Jonathan, check out our How-To: Getting Married at Home Affairs blog post for all the details you […]

Leandri

Such a useful article! I had no idea that all marriages are ‘in community of property’ by default! Thank you for sharing.