South Africa Marriage License Requirements

Same-sex couple in South Africa


Petri Oeschger / Getty Images 

If you've just set a date for your wedding and want to get married in South Africa, this can be an exciting time for the two of you! Don't let the marriage license laws of South Africa put a dent in your wedding plans. General information for U.S. citizens getting married in South African can be found on the U.S. Embassy site. Here's what you need to know and what documents to bring with you before you apply for a South African marriage license. We recommend getting this legal aspect of your wedding out of the way at least nine weeks before your wedding date. Make sure you understand the requirements and marriage regulations. Requirements may vary as each locale in South Africa could have their own.

Affidavit of Legal Capacity To Marry

South African law requires foreign citizens to present a “Letter of No Impediment to Marry” from their Embassy when they apply for a marriage license in South Africa. In the United States, no central database of marriage records is available to consular officials. Therefore, U.S. consular officers cannot make any official certification about a U.S. citizen’s marriage status or eligibility. But there is something you can do to fulfill South African law.

U.S. citizens may execute an "Affidavit of Legal Capacity to Marry" in the presence of a U.S. consular officer, in lieu of the “Letter of No Impediment to Marry.” The affidavit is the only document the Consulates are able to provide. To execute an affidavit, the U.S. Embassy suggests you book an appointment at the American Citizen Services Unit of the U.S. Consulates General in Johannesburg, Durban or Cape Town (see more details, below). Only the U.S. citizen executing the affidavit must appear in person. The foreign citizen fiancé(e) need not be present.

There is a fee of $50 (or its South African Rand equivalent) for the notarization, payable in cash or by major credit card at the time of appointment. Fees are non- refundable.

Booking an Appointment to Execute Your Affidavit

Step 1: Book an appointment by clicking here. Select “Request notarial and other services not listed above.” Print the confirmation of your appointment. 

Step 2: On the day of your appointment, bring your confirmation printout, your U.S. passport and, if you were previously married, all divorce decrees or death certificates to demonstrate that you are now free to marry without legal impediment. Also bring U.S. dollars, South African Rand, or a major credit card to pay the $50 notarization fee.

ID Requirement

You will need to provide identity documents and birth certificates or an affidavit BI-31. If you are not a resident of South Africa, you will need to show your passport.


A wedding in South Africa needs to be performed in a building with open doors.

Residence Requirement


Previous Marriages

You will need to show proof of termination of any previous marriages. The certified copy of the final decree of divorce or your deceased spouse's death certificate is required.

Under 18

In South Africa, if you are under 21 years of age, and have not been married before, you will need the written consent of both of your parents on form BI-32. If only one of your parents is alive, or if you have a legal guardian, that person may sign the form BI-32.

If your parents will not give consent for you to marry, you can request consent from a Judge of the High Court. Consent by a judge is given only if parental consent was unreasonably refused or there is sufficient evidence that getting married is in the best interest of the minor.

If you are a male under the age of 18 ​or a female under the age of 15, you will need the consent of the Minister of Home Affairs in addition to your parents' consent.

If you manage to get married under the age of 21 without consent, your parents can ask to have your marriage dissolved.

Same-Sex Marriages

On 11/14/2006 South Africa's National Assembly approved the same-sex marriage Civil Union Bill. The intent of the bill is to allow the solemnized and registered voluntary union of two persons without reference to whether the individuals are heterosexual or homosexual.

However, under the grounds of morality, the new bill does allow either religious or civil officers the right to refuse to marry same-sex couples.


You need to have two witnesses at your wedding ceremony to sign the marriage register.

Cousin Marriages



Civil marriages can only be officiated by authorized marriage officers.

Community Property

Yes, unless there is a valid antenuptial contract.

More Information

You can receive more information about getting married in South Africa by contacting an officer of the South African Department of Home Affairs.

Customary Marriages

Customary marriage in South Africa is one that is "negotiated, celebrated or concluded according to any of the systems of indigenous African customary law which exist in South Africa and that this does not include marriages concluded in accordance with Hindu, Muslim or other religious rites."

  • Couples must be at least 18 years old.
  • Minors must have parental consent to the marriage.
  • Individuals who are already in a civil marriage can not enter into a customary marriage.
  • Couples in customary marriages must register with a Home Affairs domestic office within three months of the wedding. They need to have a witness from each of their families.
  • "Although there is no restriction on the number of customary marriages that a husband may enter into, no further customary marriage may be entered into unless an order of court regulating the future matrimonial property system of his marriages has been obtained."

Please Note

Marriage license requirements often change. The above information is for guidance only and should not be regarded as legal advice. It is important that you verify all information with the local marriage license office before making any wedding or travel plans.