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South Africans in Germany

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Getting married

Getting married in Germany can be a bureaucratic nightmare, especially if you are not German.
We get a lot of questions regarding marriage on our FB page and the following scenarios are the most popular:

  • A South African wanting to get married to a German citizen
  • Two unmarried South Africans wanting to get married before moving to Germany so that both can obtain visas/residence permits

According to most of our members, it is easier to get married outside of Germany, and afterwards, register your marriage at your local Rathaus.
Popular options are to get married in South Africa or Denmark. 
If you want to get married in Germany, you can read more about it on the Expatica site

Some of our members shared their experiences with us.


Personal Stories

Marilee (South African living in Germany, married a German citizen)

My situation will probably be a bit different to others though. I came to Germany without knowing anyone here, simply for work, because I wanted to. So I was on a normal work visa. I met my now-husband after moving here. He is a German-born German.
When we decided to get married, we first wanted to do it in Germany. We even had our appointment at the Standesamt where we got a list of documents, but after going over what was needed, and the processing times through the Embassy, we decided it was too stressful! Especially since one document doesn’t exist in South Africa and we could not book a Standesamt date more than 6 months in advance and all documents had to be less than 6 months old when we got married.
We decided to get married in Denmark.

We used (https://www.heiraten-leicht-gemacht.de/heiraten-in-daenemark/) Heiraten Leicht gemacht.
It was recommended by a co-worker of my husband. They wanted photos of us throughout the relationship and we had to write our story. How we met and some experiences etc. The company did everything for us. We had to pay for this verification, as well as the wedding, but I thought it was worth it.
Stress-free and easy.
We got our date within two weeks.

We had to take along: a letter from the Burgeramt that had our addresses and marital status on it. (Wasn’t free but was just a few euros. Not expensive)
My husband had to take his Ausweis. I had to take my Passport and my Aufenthaltstitel. And that was it. Nothing more.

The wedding was beautiful. We got married on a weekend, so had to take our own witnesses with us, but if you get married during the week, they provide witnesses.
We took my husband’s parents with us.

Once back, my husband went to the Burgeramt with the marriage certificate and they accepted it and we were automatically married in the system.
There is a German-Danish document agreement, but not all Bundesländer / Burgeramts accept the marriage certificate as is.
Some want more documents, so it would be important to check this out before going down this route.

Our city didn’t want anything else. Click click and we were married in the eyes of Germany. Easy peasy.
I then made an appointment at the Ausländerbehörde, where my husband had to show his Ausweis, our payslips and the marriage certificate.
There was no problem there as we’re both employed.
This Aufenthaltstitel was valid for 1 year. I have since then gotten a new one that is valid for a further 3 years.

 Odette (Both South African, One had a Blue Card, the other needed a Family Reunification Visa, got married in SA)

We heard in October 2020 that we are emigrating and therefore decided to get married.

DOCUMENTS NEEDED: BRIDE & GROOM

  • – A clear certified copy of the Bride and Grooms S.A Identity document
  • – 4 x colour passport photos. (4 photos of each).
  • – Letter from lawyer/ attorney of the marriage contract. (We got married out of community of property)
  • – Residential address of married couple after marriage. (Not the postal address).
  • – Proof of residence. (Water & lights utility bill).

2 WITNESSES

  • – A clear certified copy of their S.A. Identity document (of each witness).
  • – Contact details, – residential address and telephone number.

We didn’t realise that we needed an unabridged marriage certificate for me to get a “Family Reunification VISA” as my husband has a Blue Card.

We decided to get married at Home Affairs in the beginning of December before our actual wedding so that we could request the unabridged marriage certificate directly after.  (You both have to physically go to the Home Affairs branch to make the appointment and then obviously the day you get married plus 2 witnesses)

This was a mission as Home Affairs didn’t really work in the lockdown, they told us the average waiting period is 1.5 – 2 years if you didn’t use someone like immigrationassist or docassist, when I finally received the certificate my husband was already in Germany, I had all required documents Apostilled through an attorney, when I contacted the embassy for my appointment they insisted that our unabridged marriage certificate have the DIRCO Apostille which did not make sense to me as both South Africa and Germany are part of the CONVENTION DE LA HAYE DU (5 OCTOBER 1961)

Once again I had to make use of one of the above-mentioned companies as I could only get an appointment with DIRCO in March.
I had all documents ready on 03 Feb 2021 and contacted the embassy again, I requested an emergency appointment and I only got an appointment for the 03rd of March.

We also had to get our marriage contract translated by a sworn translator and have this apostilled as well, we have to register this in Germany somewhere otherwise we are automatically regarded as married in community of property.

We did look at the possibility of getting married in Germany, but we had no idea where to get an official document stating that we were both single and could lawfully get married.

 Karin (Dual Citizenship, second marriage to a German)

I have always had dual citizenship German/ South Africa. So when I got married in South Africa, I was also German. This now means before I can get married in Germany, my first marriage, as well as my divorce decree, has to be  “anerkannt by the German court.
Unfortunately, my existing unabridged marriage certificate is older than 2000. Therefore DIRCO will not apostil it. Therefore have to get a new one.
My divorce decree does not have a settlement, required by the German court. Therefore have to get a copy of that from the court in SA.

As I thought it would be a nightmare trying to get any of these documents via the DA embassy, or even directly in SA, I opted for a company to do it for me.
I first tried a company in Germany to organize all the documents. Their price: €1800.
I then looked in SA and found a company Apostil@co.za: their price was R14 000.

Required documents for the second marriage in Germany:

  • Unabridged Birth Certificate
  • Meldebescheinigung
  • Divorce decree ( if married in SA to an only SA citizen and divorced in SA) then only an apostilled translated copy. (Dual citizens)  marriage and decree certificates have to be registered at the German court first.
  • All documents have to be translated by a German registered translator and have to be certified by a registered German commissioner of oath.
  • All documents have to be apostilled. Unabridged marriage certificate and unabridged birth certificate directly in SA at DIRCO.  Or through the SA embassy in Germany. The divorce decree at a higher court in South Africa.
  • No documents certification may be older than 6 months.
  • Next you have to go to your Standesamt and make an appointment with them. This can only be done up to 6 months before the marriage date.

I have just had my birth certificate couriered to SA and things are being dealt with there. They said it would take about 3 months. Fingers crossed 🤞🤞. Once everything is back in Germany it has to go to, in our case,  to the Landesgericht and that also takes 3 months. The Standesbeamte has kindly offered to send it to the court.

Oh yes on that note. One has to fill out a form which also has to be filled out by the ex-husband/wife. So if you are no longer on speaking terms, that could be a real problem. 🧐 Luckily that is not the case with my ex and me.

We have no specific date to get married. We live in a small community. My partner is involved in the community and the Standesbeamter here told me that they will find a suitable date for us.