What Is a Letter of No Impediment?
If you plan to get married abroad, you might be required to submit a Letter of No Impediment. Authorities need this letter in order to verify that you are not already married (i.e. that you are either single, divorced or widowed).
Some countries require this document apostilled or attested. So, if you are planning on getting married in any country that is a signatory of the Hague Convention, the full process could be much quicker as easier than it would be for a country that requires attestation.
If you are set on getting married in a country like New Zealand, Australia, or England (to name but a few), you will be required to submit an Apostilled Letter of No Impediment. If you are getting married in a country that is not a signatory of the Hague Convention, you will need to go through the process of authentication certificates, which is done on at least three different levels. But regardless of whether or not you are getting married in a signatory country, the Letter of No Impediment is still essential for you to obtain your visa and permits.
Understanding the importance of Letters of No Impediment
A Letter of No Impediment may be referred to as a Certificate of No Record of Marriage, a Certificate of No Impediment, Single Statement, No Marital Status Certificate, or a Negative Statement of Marriage. These certificates are government documents that provide information indicating that a search has been conducted on your credentials and that no record of marriage has surfaced on your name.
Letters or Certificates of No Impediment are issued by the Department of Home Affairs and serve to confirm the marital status of an individual. These certificates are usually valid for six months from the date they were issued.
How do I Apply for a Letter of No Impediment?
Should you require a Letter of No Impediment in order to get married abroad, you can apply for it with the South African High Commission office. There will be a form that has to be filled out along with a fee that has to be paid, and depending on how many cases the office has to process, your Letter of No Impediment may easily take up to 6 months (or longer) to be finalised.
Before you apply for a Letter of No Impediment, it is advisable to check your marital status in South Africa. There are a lot of fraudulent marriages that get reported to the Department of Home Affairs every year, so in order to ensure your identity was not used in a scam, all you have to do is contact us to verify your marital status.
We can help you apply for your Letter of No Impediment should you require it to get married in a foreign country. See pricing and get in touch with us.
Also, you can read more about these letters on our letter of no impediment page.