Registering your marriage or divorce outside of South Africa: An essential guide

Marriage and divorce are significant life events. For South Africans living abroad, the process of registering these events with the Department of Home Affairs can seem daunting. This essential guide outlines the steps involved in registering your marriage or divorce outside of South Africa, focusing on the necessary requirements.

Forms and documentation requirements for registering your marriage or divorce abroad

To start the registration process, you need to complete either Form CMO 2 or CMO 3, as advised by the South African High Commission in London. These forms serve as the official application for the registration of marriages or divorces. Ensuring accurate and complete information on these forms is crucial to avoid delays in processing your request.

Certified copies of documents

One key requirement for registering your marriage or divorce outside of South Africa is the submission of certified copies of essential documents. For marriages, a certified copy of the apostilled or legalised marriage certificate is mandatory. This document must be recognised by the country where the marriage took place. For divorces, a certified copy of the decree of divorce is required. Both documents are crucial for confirming the legitimacy of your marriage or its dissolution.

South African passport

In addition to the marriage or divorce certificates, you must submit a certified copy of your valid South African passport. This document serves as a means of identification and establishes your nationality. It is essential to ensure that your passport is up-to-date and valid throughout the registration process.

Spouse’s passport (for marriage registration)

If you are registering a marriage, you must also provide a certified copy of your spouse’s valid passport. This step is crucial in confirming the identity of both parties involved in the marriage. Make sure that your spouse’s passport is also current and duly certified.

Apostille or legalisation

The apostille or legalisation of your marriage certificate or divorce decree is a critical step in the registration process. This authentication process ensures that your documents are internationally recognised and accepted by the South African Department of Home Affairs. Check with the relevant authorities in the country where the marriage or divorce occurred to understand the specific requirements for apostille or legalisation.

Submission process

Once you have completed the necessary forms and gathered all required documents, the next step is to submit your application to the South African High Commission. Ensure that your application is neatly compiled and all documents are organized. This will facilitate a smoother and more efficient processing of your registration request.

Conclusion

Registering your marriage or divorce outside of South Africa involves a meticulous process, but with the right information and attention to detail, it can be navigated successfully. By completing the required forms, providing certified copies of essential documents, and following the specified procedures, you can ensure that your marital status is officially recognised by the South African Department of Home Affairs, even when residing abroad.