A marriage certificate is an official document issued by the government that shows the couple listed has a legally recognized relationship. They will receive this after they signed the marriage register accompanied by the marriage officer, two witnesses, and themselves. 


You will find two types of marriage certificates in South Africa, abridged and unabridged. They both show the validity of your marriage, but if you plan on travelling or living abroad, you would need to apply for an unabridged version of the certificate. Below you will learn the difference between abridged and unabridged marriage certificates.

Abridged Marriage Certificates

An abridged certificate contains both your personal details (such as full name and ID number) as well as the date of the marriage. Couples receive abridged marriage certificates from the Home Affairs department when applying for marriage certificates. It is common for couples to receive their certificates immediately after they get married. There is no need for an unbridged marriage certificate if a couple doesn’t intend to travel or move out of the country.

Unabridged Marriage Certificates

Also known as full marriage certificates, unabridged marriage certificates contain information about the couple getting married, including their names, birth dates, marital status, addresses, occupations, and place of the wedding. If you wish, you may include details about your parents/step-parents if they are married to your natural parent.


It can easily take up to two years to obtain an unabridged marriage certificate if you apply directly from the Department of Home Affairs. However, a document agent like ourselves can provide it in three months or less. Processing times for abridged marriage certificates are around two weeks. 


Let us take care of everything for you, so you don’t have to spend time and effort on it. Feel free to contact DocAssist with any questions or to get the process started.


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