Applying for an unabridged marriage certificate South Africa

Applying for an unabridged marriage certificate South Africa

Are you looking for information on how to get an unabridged marriage certificate South Africa? Well, you are in luck because today, we at Briefly have carefully gathered everything you need to know about how to get a copy of a South African marriage certificate. Continue reading this article to see what we have in store for you.

unabridged certificate
Image:, @epicioci
Source: UGC

If you have questions about the South African marriage certificate such as “How long does an unabridged marriage certificate take?”, we will answer them for you.

What is the difference between abridged and unabridged marriage certificate?

After any wedding ceremony, the couple has to apply for an official marriage certificate from Home Affairs. Here, they decide whether they want an abridged or unabridged version. The decision to get one or the other is motivated by the differences between the two.

The abridged version is the one issued by default at Home Affairs. It contains the basic information such as the date of marriage, full names, and ID numbers of both the spouses. It gives only the surface level of their details.

Read also

Scandal! Teasers for May 2022: What sacrifice will Gontse make?

The unabridged version is much wider. If you have ever wondered “What does an unabridged marriage certificate look like?”, it contains more information and requires a formal request when applying. It comes into use for instances of heavy travel outside the country, immigration, obtaining a foreign passport, or when one of the spouses is not a South African citizen. In the latter, it is used to register the marriage in their home country. Generally, this version is used for more in-depth functions.

READ ALSO: South African celebrity weddings 2018

unabridged certificate
Image:, @tomazgilson
Source: UGC

READ ALSO: Designer wows Twitter with stunning traditional-inspired wedding dress

How do I get an unabridged marriage certificate?

The steps to get a hold of the unabridged marriage certificate South Africa mandates the following documents for the initial stage i.e. at the ceremony to be presented to the officiant:

  • Identity documents (for each person soon-to-be spouse), as is the case with any formal document
  • If a foreign citizen is going to marry a South African one, they should present their passports as well as a completed BI-31 Form (Declaration for the Purpose of Marriage, Letter of no impediment) to prove their identity in absence of South African ID.
  • If the wedding is for a minor (a person under the age of 18 years), the written consent of both parents/legal guardian, 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 age 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, the final decree of divorce should be provided. This is because it is not legal to get into one union when another is still recognized by law
  • If any of the persons getting married are widowed, the deceased spouse’s death certificate must be submitted to substantiate their death.
  • Two witnesses and the marriage officiant must sign the marriage register after the marriage. Then, the marriage officer must proceed to issue the parties a handwritten marriage certificate (BI-27) for free. The officer must follow that up with submitting the register to the closest branch of the Department of Home Affairs, where the details will be recorded in the National Population Register (NPR).

Read also

SASSA grant 2022: How to apply for a Social Relief of Distress grant

unabridged certificate
Image:, @gettep
Source: UGC

If you are overseas, you can apply at the country’s South African embassy or consulate, or use a reputable document agency in South Africa such as

Here is what you need to do when applying for the official certificate:

  • Collect and fill in the BI-130 form, available from any branch of the Department of Home Affairs.
  • Get certified copies made of you and your spouse’s identity cards. You can do this through your local police station or any other known Commissioner of Oaths. This is to prove your identities, as with every other formal document.
  • Submit the form at any Department of Home Affairs office.
  • Pay the fee required to process.

The BI-130 form can also be used to obtain the following:

  • A copy of the register from the vault
  • An abridged certificate that can be either handwritten or printed by a computer

The unabridged certificate takes approximately 6 to 8 weeks to process.

Read also

Detailed guideline on how to get divorce in South Africa

This process is also used to get a replacement copy of a lost marriage certificate South Africa. However, you should be aware of the fact that for the abridged one, while the original copy is issued free of charge, reissues demand ZAR75.00.

Is the marriage certificate a legal document?

Yes. Obviously, couples cannot get a lot done without one. The question “What is the purpose of a marriage certificate?” is simply the legal responsibilities and benefits that come with formal recognition of the union. A few of them are social security and tax benefits. Therefore, if a couple you know does not have one, advise them to seek it if they want their union to be recognized by law and to receive the benefits that come with that.

That closes out the unabridged marriage certificate application steps. Did you find it informative? Let us know in the comments below!

Read also

Simple requirements for obtaining a South African ID book


  • The best wedding venues Muldersdrift
  • The best wedding venues in Durban
  • 30 best traditional wedding decor ideas in South Africa

Source: Briefly News

Online view pixel