Marriage [fr]

The Consulate general of France in Cape Town only presides over marriages involving 2 French nationals. Marriage ceremonies presided over by the French consular authorities are however not recognized by South African authorities. If one of the spouses is a South African national, a Franco-South African bi-national or a national of a different (third) country, the marriage must be conducted in the presence of the relevant South African authority, Home Affairs or a Marriage Officer. The Consulate will thereafter proceed to the transcription of the South African Unabridged Marriage Certificate.

No deadlines apply for the establishment of a transcription. These can be requested at any point, even several years following the marriage ceremony.

This service is free of charge.

Reading of the Banns

The Law of 14 November 2006 relative to the verification of the validity of marriages entered into force on 1 March 2007: henceforth the Reading of the Banns shall apply to all French nationals prior to the celebration of marriage, irrespective of whether it is celebrated in France or abroad. Article 64 of the Code civil stipulates that notices must be published for 10 full days.

If you intend to celebrate your marriage within the consular district, you must present yourselves at the Consulate of Cape Town for this formality. Banns will be displayed within the Consulate for a period of ten days. A publication request will also be sent to the town hall within the district of the French spouse, or the relevant territorially competent Consulate should he/she live abroad.

Following these publications, a marriage aptitude certificate will be issued.

Documents required:

  • Full copies of the birth certificates of both intending spouses, issued within the last 3 months for French nationals, and within the last 6 months for foreign nationals (Article 70 of the Code civil). If the certificate is not drawn up in either French or English, it must be accompanied by a certified translation in French (preferably) or failing that, by an English version.
  • Proof of French nationality for one of the spouses:

    - proof of registration with the Consulate and passport, or

    - a valid national ID card, or

    - certificate of French nationality.

Transcription of marriage in the French Civil Status register

The request for a transcription of marriage must be made by both or one of the spouses following the solemnization of marriage.

Documents to be provided to the Consulate for transcription following the solemnization of marriage:

  • Proof of French nationality for at least one of the spouses:

    - proof of registration with the Consulate and passport, or

    - a valid national ID card, or

    - certificate of French nationality.

  • Full copies of recent birth certificates, both less than three months old, to be obtained at the mayor’s offices at the place of birth in France, or, for French nationals born abroad, at:

    Ministère des affaires étrangères

    Service Central de l’État Civil

    11, rue de la Maison blanche

    44941 NANTES CEDEX 9



Important: the birth certificate must reflect the current civil status of the French spouse.

  • Unabridged Marriage Certificate: following the solemnization of marriage, request two copies of your marriage certificate from the South African Civil Registrar, as that submitted to the Consulate will not be returned.

In the event of marriage to a foreign spouse:

  • A true copy of his/her birth certificate: Unabridged Birth Certificate for South Africans.
  • A copy of both spouses’ residence permits.

In the event this is not your first marriage,

  • A certified true copy of the divorce ruling or, in the event of widowhood, the former spouse’s death certificate.
  • French or English marriage contract (certificate) (accompanied by a translation), if need be.

These documents must be either submitted directly to the Consulate, or by post. You will notice, however, that in accordance with Article 170 of the Code civil, consular staff can request to speak with one or other of the spouses.

The above documents will not be returned, with the possible exception of the original of the birth certificate of the spouse who is a foreign national of a country that does not issue copies of this document.

A family record book and full copies of the marriage certificate shall be issued and returned to the applicants, if need be, via the town hall or the spouses’ local Consulate.


It is imperative that you include the city in which the marriage is due to take place. The first names and surnames of the witnesses (if applicable) and the surname of the official who registered the marriage must be specified, if they are illegible in the foreign certificate. Photocopies and certificates that do not include a registration number are not admissible. Likewise, certificates containing errors must have been corrected by local authorities prior to being transcribed.

Optional: The marriage contract

A marriage contract can be drawn up by the intending spouses prior to the solemnization of marriage. An attestation indicating the date of signature and the identity of the signatories must be requested from the notary who established the marriage contract.

Note: In the absence of a contract, the marriage regime shall be subject to the law of the State on whose territory the spouses establish their first habitual place of residence following the marriage, subject to certain exceptions, such as both spouses having the same nationality.

To schedule an appointment contact us on : Please note that appointments can only be booked by email.

publié le 30/08/2018

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