Abridged Marriage Certificate
This is issued to you on the day of your wedding by your marriage officer, it is your legal, valid, official marriage certificate. (This certificate is only really valid and recognized in South Africa).
The marriage register which you sign on the day of your wedding is completed in triplicate. Your marriage officer will submit your register and supporting documents to Home Affairs for registration within a week of your wedding. Home Affairs will stamp and sign the marriage register and the second copy will be mailed to you as proof of registration. In many countries this is sufficient to prove your SA marriage.
Unabridged Marriage Certificate
Some countries require that you produce an Unabridged Marriage Certificate issued by SA Home Affairs.
As of 1 December 2016 we can no longer apply for this on your behalf, a couple have to apply for their Unabridged Marriage Certificate in person at any SA Home Affairs office. At this stage the process takes between 8 and 10 weeks to produce the certificate, so it is vital that if you are leaving the country you give someone permission in writing to collect this on your behalf when it is processed.
Alternatively you can apply for your Unabridged Marriage Certificate at a SA Embassy or Consulate in your own country.