How to Register a Foreign Divorce at Home Affairs
For purposes of this article, international or foreign divorce refers to a divorce that was granted in a foreign country, not in South Africa.
(This is NOT the same as an international divorce granted in South Africa.)
When should a foreign divorce be registered at the Department of Home Affairs?
If a South African citizen gets divorced in a foreign country, he/she should take the necessary steps to register the divorce at the Department of Home Affairs, South Africa.
The Process to Register a Foreign Divorce:
No application is required, but the following documents must be submitted at the Department of Home Affairs:
- Letter to request registration of the foreign divorce,
- Certified copies of both ex-spouses’ passports and/or ID documents,
- Certified copy of the foreign divorce order,
- Sworn translation of the foreign divorce order (if the foreign divorce order is not in English) and
- Special power of attorney affidavit (if an attorney or third party submits the documents on your behalf).
How much does it cost to register the foreign divorce?
The Department of Home Affairs does not charge a fee in this regard. Should you, however, make use of an attorney to submit the documents on your behalf, the attorney will usually charge an amount that is in line with his/her fee structure.
How long does the process take?
It takes only a few minutes to hand the necessary documents in at the Department of Home Affairs, depending on the queues. It takes the Department of Home Affairs many months to register the foreign divorce and to update the parties’ details on their system. If an attorney is doing the submission for you then s/he will follow up regularly with the Department of Home Affairs.
Want to know more?
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Nazli Williams, owner of iedivorce and director at Patton Williams Attorneys , is an admitted attorney of the High Court of South Africa, specialising in Divorce and Family Law matters. Her fields of expertise and interest include Divorce Law, Family Law, Domestic Violence Law and International Divorce Law. Her vision is to demystify Family Law processes, helping good people in plain language and with great technology, to achieve remarkable results.