Marrying a foreigner: What you need to know

Marrying a foreigner: What you need to know

So you’ve found the partner of your dreams and you can’t wait to get married. But, there’s one little hiccup… You’re from two different parts of the world, and that can make the process a bit tedious.

Marrying a foreigner doesn’t have to be a tiresome task. You simply need to know what to expect.

Whether you are a foreigner marrying a South African citizen or a South African marrying a foreigner, there are obligatory procedures to follow. Here’s what you need to know:

– Can you get married in South Africa? 

If you’re a minor, you cannot get married without written consent from a parent, guardian or the court.

People who suffer from severe mental disorders are unfortunately not allowed to get married under South African law. The reason for this is that the mental disorder may prevent them from understanding what marriage is and may cause them to make decisions which are not in their best interest.

Finally, if you are already married you are prohibited from getting married in South Africa. If you have previously been married,  you need to present evidence that the marriage has legally ended.

Other than the above mentioned people, every body is allowed to get married in this country.

– The process 

Both partners are required to make a trip to Home Affairs (Pro tip: try to ensure that you go to the Home Affairs Officers that your intended marriage Officer is registered at). Ensure that you take all required documents with you!

An official will verify the documents that you present. Thereafter, they will make an appointment with an immigration interviewing officer for you.

The purpose of the interview is to determine the legitimacy of the relationship – the government needs to take steps to ensure that a marriage of convenience (for citizenship) is not taking place. This is nothing to worry about! Questions will simply be about your relationship. You’ll be asked how long you’ve been together, if you’ve met each other’s family’s, or why you want to be together.

If your interview is successful you’ll receive a document confirming that you are legally allowed to marry in South Africa.

Once your marriage is documented, you should be issued a printed marriage certificate. This certificate is then used to apply for a visa.

– What documents do you need? 

For the South African Citizen:

  • A certified copy of your ID
  • 3 x ID photo’s
  • If you have been previously married, Home Affairs will require a copy of the decree of divorce/death certificate. If yours is an antenuptial agreement, they will need a copy of the cover letter from your lawyer.

For the non-South African Citizen:

  • A copy of the front page of your passport
  • A copy of the Visa Page in your passport – or the last entry stamp through customs found in your passport
  • 3 x ID photo’s
  • If you have been previously married, Home Affairs will require a copy of the decree of divorce/death certificate.
  • A letter of non-impediment (certificate from your country of citizenship confirming freedom to marry)
  • You will be required to sign an Affidavit on the day of your wedding – This is a document supplied by Home Affairs. It is required to verify that you are using your international passport as a means of documentation since you do not have a South African ID number.

P.S it’s always safer to certify all your documents before you head to Home Affairs. You wouldn’t want to be turned away for something so minor!

Also read: How to elope – legally

Image: Unsplash 

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