A Guide to Marrying a Foreigner Outside of South Africa

A Guide to Marrying a Foreigner Outside of South Africa

Getting married in South Africa isn’t such a complicated process. However, if you’re marrying a foreigner outside of South Africa, there are a few additional steps you’ll have to take to prepare for your nuptials. Here’s what you need to know!

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marriage, foreigner, South Africa
If you are a South African planning on getting married abroad, the process has a few more steps than if you had to get married locally. Image: Sasha Cornish / EyeEm
Source: Getty Images

South Africans that plan to get married abroad must work hard to ensure they’re covered on all legal bases before marrying a foreigner outside of South Africa.

Although the process is easy enough to understand, it’s still vital to be as prepared as possible to avoid the risk of not being allowed to legally get married abroad.

In this post, we will be taking a look at how South Africans can prepare themselves to tie the knot abroad, which documents they need, and how far ahead they need to plan for the big day!

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Step 1 – Start by checking your marital status

South Africans can either be registered as single, married, divorced, widowed, or deceased with the South African Department of Home Affairs.

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Since many South Africans have fallen prey to fraudulent marriages as a hoax to help foreigners get into SA unnoticed, we strongly suggest double-checking your status with the DHA before you take any additional steps to get married outside of South Africa.

Step 2 – Apply for a Letter of No Impediment

In order to legally get marrier abroad, the country you’re getting married in needs to know that you aren’t already married. You’ll need to prove this for every country in which you hold legal citizenship. This means that if you have dual citizenship in South Africa and the U.K, you’ll need to supply a Letter of No Impediment from both countries.

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The Letter of No Impediment is issued by the Department of Home Affairs, and once issued, states that the applicant is free to marry and that nothing impedes them from getting married. Some countries refer to this document as a Declaration of Single Status of Certificate of No Impediment.

If you are getting married in a country that is a member of the Apostille (Hague) Convention, you will most probably have to get this document apostilled for legal use abroad. In most cases, you will also need to register your Letter of No Impediment with the country that you are getting married in, but this has nothing to do with and is not reliant on the South African DHA.

Step 3 – Tie the knot!

Since there are many variations, we cannot give definitive advice as to what you need to do to follow the rules of the country you’re getting married in. Still, we can advise you to keep any and all documents you receive during the proceedings in a safe place.

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The marriage register is especially important as it’ll be a key document you’ll need as proof that you actually got married. Also, your wedding cannot be registered in South Africa, and you cannot receive a marriage certificate without the marriage register.

Step 4 – Register your marriage back home.

This is where the marriage register comes in handy! The country where you got married will automatically record your nuptials, but unless they receive the proof, the South African Department of Home Affairs won’t know about your wedding.

If you’re marrying a foreigner outside of South Africa and want to register your marriage yourself from abroad, the process can easily take months, if not years. Luckily, concierge services like Apostil.co.za can have the registration done effortlessly and remotely on your behalf!

Step 5 – Get your marriage certificate

Once your marriage is registered with the DHA, you’ll need to apply for an unabridged marriage certificate. Again, you can try and do this by yourself if you’re abroad by going to the nearest mission or consulate, but the process can take many months to be finalised.

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Unabridged marriage certificates can be obtained for South Africans who have married another South African, to non-South African couples and couples where one partner is not a South African citizen, whether or not the couple resides in SA or outside of South Africa.

Make sure to obtain an unabridged marriage certificate (full details of the marriage) since abridged or handwritten versions are not valid overseas and often cannot be apostilled either.

Final thoughts

The best and most practical advice for South Africans getting married abroad is to plan ahead and safeguard all their documents. Keep the challenges mentioned in this article in mind and plan your wedding far enough into the future to ensure you’ll have all the documents you need when the time calls for it!

Source: Briefly News

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