Getting Married in South Africa

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.

Instead, U.S. citizens may execute an affidavit before 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. The U.S. Diplomatic Mission to South Africa has advised the South African government that U.S. consular officers will only notarize an affidavit and cannot issue a letter of no impediment.  Officials at some local Department of Home Affairs (DHA) offices have refused to accept these affidavits.  If this occurs, you may wish to visit a DHA office in a major metropolitan area, such as Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, or Cape Town, where DHA officials are more familiar with such affidavits.

To execute an affidavit in lieu of the “Letter of No Impediment to Marry,” book an appointment at the American Citizen Services Unit of the U.S. Consulates General in Johannesburg, Durban or Cape Town. 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 $50.00 (or its South African Rand equivalent) for the notarization, payable in cash or by major credit card at the time of appointment. Fees are not refundable.

Booking an Appointment to Execute an Affidavit of Legal Capacity to Marry:

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 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.

DISCLAIMER: The information relating to the legal requirements of South Africa is provided for general information only. Questions involving interpretation of specific South African laws should be addressed to an attorney. Note that U.S. diplomatic and consular officers do not have legal authority to perform marriages. 

Please visit http://www.dha.gov.za/index.php/civic-services/marriage-certificates for further information regarding getting married in South Africa.