Marriage Certificates

Newlyweds are presented with a handwritten marriage registration certificate on their wedding day. If you have assumed the name of your partner,  I would suggest that once your marriage is registered at Home Affairs, you take the above certificate into Home Affairs and apply for a printed abridged certificate (you can also apply for a new ID and an unabridged marriage certificate at this point, if applicable). The abridged certificate is required by financial institutions in order to update your marital status, policies etc.

There are two kinds of marriage certificates that you can apply for:

ABRIDGED CERTIFICATE: An abridged certificate is a certificate issued by Home Affairs which contains both your personal details such as full name, ID number, place and date of the marriage. An Abridged certificate is issued on the same day. 

UNABRIDGED CERTIFICATE: The unabridged certificate is also issued by Home Affairs and contains more detailed information. This is the most formal form of certificate and is required if you plan to travel abroad, emigrate or obtain a foreign passport, in fact, any dealings with an international authority will require this certificate. It is also often required by insurance companies and centers of learning. An application for an unabridged certificate can take three to six months or longer. Please consider this in your travel plan

To apply for either of the above certificates you need to go to your closest Department of Home Affairs and furnish them with the below documentation:

  • Your identity document (ID)
  • Death certificate, if applicable
  • A hand-written marriage registration certificate from the marriage officer.
  • A copy of the marriage register (obtainable from the marriage officer)

The marriage officer must submit the Civil Union register at the Home Affairs office for your marriage/partnership particulars to be recorded in the National Population Register (NPR).  Your marriage/partnership MUST be registered before you can apply for the abridged or unabridged certificate.   This is to prevent any problems pertaining to paperwork that may cause unnecessary delays.   

Note: If you live abroad, you can apply for a marriage certificate at the nearest South African mission or Consulate.