Documents required to marry a foreigner in South Africa--featured_johannesburg

Documents required to marry a foreigner in South Africa


Getting married to a foreign national in South Africa, whether in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban or Cape town, has certain legalities. Any bi-national couple must adhere to these before a marriage officer can officially marry them and register the marriage with the Department of Home Affairs. Marriage in South Africa is a legally binding contract. The South African Marriage Act of 1961 and the Civil Union Act of 2006 govern marriages in the country. The governing acts outline steps that couples have to take throughout the marriage process. Failure to comply with the regulations, will result in the marriage not being celebrated. The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has set out a list of documents required to marry a foreigner in South Africa that have to be submitted in order for the matrimonial ceremony to take place.


Documents needed to marry a foreigner in South Africa-2022-Southafrica

Premarital planning and checklist.

The process of getting married needs proper planning, as extemporaneous marriage plans will result in a delay. In order to avoid the long dragging process the couples should consider going through the following process step by step in consideration of great results out of both the marriage process and satisfactory marriage status:

  • Check your marital status.
  • Obtain a letter of no impediment.
  • Get married.
  • Register your marriage with the Department of Home Affairs. 
  • Obtain an unabridged marriage certificate.
  • Check Your Marital Status.

South African marital status and letter of no impediment.

A Letter of No Impediment is a document that confirms that the foreign national is not married and nothing prevents him/her from getting married. The foreign national must be able to provide a Letter of non-impediment, which is a documentation that affirms the individual’s marital status. It is one of the  documents required to marry a foreigner in South Africa. It is also advisable that South African nationals check their marital status at the Department of Home Affairs, before all else.  There has evidently been numerous fraud cases of South Africans being married off to foreign nationals they have never met or come across.

In this instance, individuals who were previously married and are now divorced, could be required to provide a copy of divorce decree certificate. Countries which are part of the Hague Convention will request that the letter of no Impediment be apostilled. Whereas, some countries may even request that the document be translated, depending on the document’s language.

Documents needed to marry a foreigner in South Africa-2022-Southafrica BI-31 Form

Procedure to be followed by South Africans in order to marry a foreigner.

Before the exact marriage stage the South African individual and the foreign national will have to go through the checklist of the requirements that are outlined by the Department of Home Affairs. The requirements state that the following persons cannot get married in South Africa:

  • Persons that are already married
  • Minors who are under the age of 18, unless if they provide consent from their guardian, parents or court.
  • Persons suffering from mental illness

If the couple meet the requirements outlined by the Department of Home Affairs, the couple can register to apply for marriage and marriage certificate. The couple has to apply for the certificate by sending their marriage certificate application to the Department of Home Affairs. The application will be submitted with the crucial documents that follow:

Documents required to marry a foreigner in South Africa-2022-Southafrica_johannesburg

Documents required to marry a foreigner in South Africa

The couple must present the following documents to the marriage officer who will be officiating the marriage.

  • As part of documents required to marry a foreigner in South Africa, the couple should present their Identity documents.
  • The foreign national and the South African citizen, should both present their valid passports.
  • A completed BI-31 Form that clearly states that they may legally get married.
  • If any of the persons getting married are divorced, then the final decree of divorce should be presented.
  • If any of the persons getting married are widowed, a death certificate of the deceased spouse should be presented to the DHA.
  • Passport sized photos of the couple.
  • The foreign national’s proof of visa or residency permit.
  • A Letter of No Impediment.


Premarital interview.

Premarital interview is a mandatory step for couples whom one of them is a foreign national. An immigration officer will conduct a brief interview with the couple at the Department of Home Affairs. The interview  takes place in order to ensure that the couple is not getting married for any other reason than love and that the marriage not a marriage of convenience. It can take up to three weeks for the couple to obtain the interview date. The couple will be interviewed separately and asked a series of questions relating to the relationship. All documents required to marry a foreigner in South Africa will also be taken into consideration.

In sum, premarital interview procedure helps prevent foreign nationals from obtaining South African residency through marriage of convenience. After a successful interview the couple will receive a letter from the Department of Home Affairs,  that grants the marriage officer authority to sign off the couple’s marriage papers. The letter will also be used the log that the DHA need to register the marriage.

Documents needed to marry a foreigner in South Africa_sandton-pretoria-cape town-durban

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Remember that it is not just anyone who can conduct a translation and certification service, opting for such a service can result in your documents being rejected by the authorities. We also translate the documents required to marry a foreigner in South Africa, so that even the foreigner who come from non-English speaking countries can be able to present relevant documents to the DHA.

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Frank Jacobs
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Marriage Certificate Translation
People who were married abroad, or those of whom their marriage certificate is in a different language, could possibly be asked to provide a certified translation of the certificate. Marriage certificates can act as evidence of the couple's identity, personal details and status when they complete important procedures. Certified marriage certificate translation can possibly be requested by overseas authorities, for example if the couple wants to buy property in that particular country.
Upload Date
February 21, 2022


    • admin
      March 23, 2023 Reply

      Morning Raselebedi.
      These are the list of documents needed to marry a foreigner in South Africa:
      1. Both individuals should submit their identity documents.
      2. Valid passports of both parties, with passport-sized photos included.
      3. A completed BI-31 Form, which includes the Letter of No Impediment and Declaration for the Purpose of Marriage.
      4. If the wedding is for a minor (someone under the age of 18), the DHA-32 form should be signed by both parents/legal guardians of the minor, or the
      Commissioner of Child Welfare, or the court. The Minister of Home Affairs must additionally provide formal approval if the minors getting married are
      under the age of 18 for boys or 15 for girls.
      5. If either of the two individuals have been married before and are now divorced, they need to provide a final decree of divorce.
      6. If widowed they need to provide the death certificate of their deceased spouse.
      7. Residency permit of the foreign national.
      8. The foreigner can also get into South Africa using their 90 days visitor visa, with the intention of marrying within 90 days.
      For more detailed information please visit the following blog post:

  1. Hi i hope you are well my question is if i am pakistani girl and i marry online with a south african boy then what are the documents required to go to south africa and live with him what is the procedure

    • admin
      August 10, 2023 Reply

      Good day Tehreem,

      Thanks for reaching our, we’d kindly recommend you to contact the Department of Home affairs.

      Kind regards.

  2. gavin
    September 12, 2023 Reply

    Hi, what happens if a south african married someone from Zimbabwe and the south african citizen died, after 2 years of marriage?

    • admin
      September 27, 2023 Reply

      Good day Gavin,
      Kindly contact the Department of Home Affairs, they will be able to assist with your inquiry.

      Best regards.


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