It doesn’t matter where you are in the world – if you’re outside of South Africa’s borders you need a valid South African passport to move around. Need a new one? Fortunately, not as difficult as you might think to apply for a new one if you’ve lost yours, or if it’s expired.
Looking for a guide to passport renewal for South African expats? You’ve found it.
Even if you’ve financially emigrated, no matter where you land up you still get to hold onto your South African passport because no matter where you go, you’ll always retain your citizenship. However, passports – unlike citizenship – can expire, and so it’s important to stay on top of all things official. Here’s what you need to know about meeting the requirements to get a new South African passport
Interestingly enough, in South Africa, you cannot actually physically renew your passport. You simply wait until it expires, and only then can you apply for a new one. It’s one of those administrative headaches that, unfortunately needs to be dealt with at some point, so it’s best to be ready with everything you’ll need for when it’s time to re-apply. Processing times for these kinds of documents are infamously long, and it’s likely you’ve wondered how long it takes to get a South African passport. Unfortunately, the answer is: usually a large chunk of time. The Home Affairs website says that it should take between 7 – 21 days, but this isn’t always the case. It can take six months or more for the application to be processed and finalised, but first, you’re going to need to get some papers in order, so make sure you know the location of your closest consulate and police station.
How to apply for your South African passport online
First, you’ll need to download and fill out some passport renewal application forms, which you can find here. Specifically, you’ll be downloading and filling out a DHA-73 and a DHA-529. You’ll also need a notarised copy of your passport. If your passport has been stolen or lost, then you’ll also need to fill out a Report of Loss of Travel Document form – also available at the above link.
If you’re a dual citizen, you’ll also need to show your proof of retention/exemption letter; if, however, you do not have one of these, you’ll need to apply for one at the home office. If you don’t know where yours is, you’ll also have to apply for a new one – but specifically from the office which supplied your original one.
The DHA-73 form must be accompanied by a signature and your left thumbprint, and you’ll need a full set of fingerprints as well, on a DHA-9 form. This is only available at a police station, embassy or consulate, so – as mentioned – you’ll need to know where your nearest one is. Smart hack: if you come across a section that can only be filled out by an officer from Home Affairs, don’t stress – any Notary Public can fill in that section.
As with everything, there are some fees involved in getting a new South African passport. A full breakdown of those fees can be found here, but the basic tourist passport is R400. It’s important to note that applying to replace a lost passport is R800. Yep, that’s correct – double. You’ll pay for having lost your passport, so keep it safe. If you suspect it’s missing – have another look before you rush off for a new one – it’ll cost you!
Remember – you’ll need to hand in two sets of the application:
- All original forms with their supporting documents
- Plus, a copy of each document
Finally, you’ll also need to submit your mug shots – 4 passport-sized photos, specifically, all colour.
How could you forget about the children?
Don’t worry, we haven’t. Applying for a child’s passport (15 years or younger) also requires some paperwork. Fun times!
Again, you’ll need both the DHA-73 and DHA-529 forms. It’s important to note that both parents (yes BOTH parents) will need to sign the DHA-73 form to recognise the application. If one parent cannot sign, you’ll need to provide an affidavit and notarised copy of their ID as consent to the passport application. If you’re divorced from your partner, you’ll need to gain a letter of consent from your ex-spouse to submit as part of the application.
You’ll also need a notarised copy of your child’s birth certificate, and if you have it, their old passport – notarised as well. Lastly, you’ll need to submit 4 photographs – all colour, all passport-sized. Got that? Good.
As with all government-related applications, it just boils down to paperwork and having all your paper ducks in a row. It seems overwhelming at first, but once you’re sure you have the right documents (and the right amount of each), it turns into a proverbial walk in the park.
Once it’s all filled out, stamped, signed and approved, your new passport is valid for 10 years. After that, it’s the same process again – plenty of time to ensure you have everything you need to apply for a new one!
Reputable, convenient financial services for South African expats
We hope that this article helped you to get up to speed on all the requirements for a South African passport. Please note, that this is not a service FinGlobal offers, but if you’re an expat living abroad, we can help you with cashing in your retirement annuity, foreign exchange and even tax clearances. So, what are you waiting for? Get in touch with FinGlobal to discuss your cross-border financial requirements today.