Can I Legally get Married in Botswana?
Africa is the birthplace of mankind, so what continent would be better as the birthplace of your marriage than Botswana, nestled in the heart of southern Africa? There’s a range of beautiful destinations, from Gaborone to Francistown with many stunning wedding venues.
Marrying in this beautiful country is not particularly difficult, you just need to make sure that all of your documentation is completely correct before you set off. Here are the steps that you need to follow:
- For foreign visitors to get married in Botswana, it is first imperative that the couple register their marriage. In order to do this, they will have to apply for and obtain a Special License from the District Commissioner who will allow the couple to marry in the wilds of the Okavango Delta, Moremi Game Reserve or Chobe National Park for example.
- To apply for a Special Licence you will need all of the documents listed below. A couple can only apply for this Special Licence when they are actually in Botswana, not beforehand. The approval of a Special Licence should take approximately 2 days although be aware that the processing of requests takes place Monday – Friday (except bank holidays). During this time, the registrar of marriages need some time to prepare and issue the Special License.
- Once the Special Licence has been approved, the couple may formally wed in the ‘bush’ or wherever they choose in Botswana, as long as a commissioner, pastor or priest is present with them.
- It is also worth bearing in mind that any documents that are not in English will need to be formally translated. So the key is to make sure that all of your documentation is correct and completely in order before your trip in order to avoid any last minute complications and delays.
- As always, we really recommend being in constant communication with your relevant embassy to receive the most up-to-date information about the necessary documents and procedures.
- Passport sized photos
- Birth certificate
- Copy of the 2 witnesses’ passports
- Proof of residential address for both partners
- Proof of return air ticket
- Affidavit stating that you can legally marry
- Divorce certificate (if necessary from a previous marriage)
- Death certificate (if you have been widowed)
Same-sex weddings are not permitted in Botswana as they still criminalise homosexuality.
This information is appropriate for UK nationals getting married overseas. We always advise that you contact the relevant embassy for information before booking any trips. This information is up to date to the best of our knowledge.