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Marriage Certificates

Information on getting a marriage certificate and the types of certificate available. Also details on registering a customary marriage...

A marriage certificate shows that a marriage is legal and valid. There are two types of marriage certificates in South Africa:

  1. Abridged marriage certificate: Issued on the same day that the marriage takes place. This is the short version of the marriage certificate and contains details such as name, identity number, place and date of marriage. This document is free. However, a fee is charged for a second abridged marriage certificate.
  2. Unabridged marriage certificate: Full marriage certificate. This contains more detailed information about the marriage and is necessary if travelling abroad, emigrating, or to obtain a foreign passport. Applications for this certificate are made at the Office of Home Affairs. It can take six to eight weeks to receive the certificate. A fee is charged.
Registering Customary Marriages

Customary marriages are negotiated and celebrated according to African customary law. No other religious rites are included in this law. These types of marriage must be registered within three months of the marriage being entered into or of the celebration taking place. Registering customary marriages is necessary in order for the marriage to be legally recognised.

There are no restrictions on the number of customary marriages that a husband may enter into. However, it is necessary for the husband to obtain an order from a competent court to regulate the future matrimonial property system of his marriages before he is able to enter into further customary marriages.

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