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Getting Married to South African Citizen!

Getting Married to South African Citizen - Don’t forget your Marriage Interview!

By Asha Vaghela

Getting Married To South African Citizen – Don’T Forgot Your Marriage Interview

My former colleague wrote this article just after she got married and her wedding was beautiful. We have received many inquires since then asking us how to get married and what questions are asked in the Home Affairs interview. Legislation has changed over time and couples must evidence two years of marriage to qualify for a spousal visa. Or the couple can evidence two years of cohabitation and shared finances to qualify for a Life Partner visa. Couples can marry here at any stage in their relationship.

From what I have heard, the Home Affairs official will ask basic questions about how you met, how long you have been together, do you love this person and why do you love this person? They may ask if you have met your fiancés’ family. The Home Affairs officer will look at how genuine relationship seems and ask open ended questions. My colleague said they waited for more than two hours and each interview was over within 5 minutes. You will be interviewed separately. I am sure the questions are varied to ward against fraud.

“I recently had the most amazing week getting married to my South African partner of 5 years in Cape Town. The week was magical, my family arrived from abroad to celebrate, and the whole wedding was just perfect.

A few days later we were off on honeymoon safe in the knowledge that our priest was off to Home Affairs to register our marriage, with the relevant documents he had requested from us beforehand.

Why we were ‘safe in the knowledge’ is because we had asked the priest multiple times if we had to go for a “marriage interview” at the Home Affairs prior to him marrying us. He said there was no need, but this was no fault of his own - he was just not made aware of immigration law changes.

We decided to go to Home Affairs about 2 months before the wedding to double check and for peace of mind (I knew most foreigners marrying a South African did an interview so I needed to be sure) - After all Home Affairs would know right? Well after meeting the officer at Home Affairs and he spoke to our priest on the phone, the officer eventually confirmed that we didn’t need to do the interview. We left slightly confused but confident to get married because our priest and the Home Affairs had confirmed we didn’t need to do the interview.

So, we definitely didn’t expect on the 1st day of honeymoon to receive a message from the priest saying he had tried to register our marriage only to be told we in fact needed to go for the marriage interview and he couldn’t register us until it was done.

For any couples out there planning to get married, please note– YOU MUST GO FOR AN INTERVIEW PRIOR TO GETTING MARRIED. Luckily our priest is a good man, and well known at his local Home Affairs office so he had no issues registering our marriage thereafter, but for future couples getting married – YOU MUST GO FOR THE INTERVIEW, AND IT SHOULD BE DONE PRIOR TO THE WEDDING DAY.

When you go to Home Affairs, you will need to arrange a “marriage interview” date + time with a marriage officer. Take your letter of non-impediment and passport with you to avoid missed documents and extra trips, and make sure you get the attention of an officer so you can book the interview.”

I hope this helps somewhat, as to avoid any confusion about the marriage interview. Yes you must do it, and yes then you can get married/ registered. This only applied to foreigners marrying a South African.

By Asha Vaghela

Edited by Sarah Farthing

If you need assistance with renewing your current Life Partner Visa, or to get a Spousal Visa please contact me on 021 555 0951 or contact sarah@nwisouthafrica.co.za

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