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South African International Passport: Application, Cost and Renewal

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Travelling is one activity that many people hope or have to do at least once in their lifetime. Whether it’s for work, leisure, or education, many of us will need to leave the shores of South Africa a number of times. A passport is a document issued for international travel, and it certifies the nationality and identity of the holder.

It is the most important document needed for travelling, and if you have any intentions of international travel, you must get your international passport.

In South Africa, passports are printed only in Pretoria, from where they are distributed to the offices of application. Applications made within the country can be submitted to any office of the Department of Home Affairs, while those made outside the country can be submitted to the nearest South African embassy.

You need to remember that you must apply for your passport in person, whether you are applying from within or outside the country because the passport officer must be satisfied that your identity is legal and valid, that your photograph is truly an image of you, and your fingerprints must be taken and checked against the National Population Register.

You’d also need to have a South African identity number when you apply for a passport, and you must apply for one first if you don’t have.

South African International Passport

There are different types of passport issued by the South African Government. They are;

  • The Tourist Passport: Persons 16 years old and above: These passports are issued to South African citizens who are 16 years and above, and contain 32 pages. They are the regular valid passport and are valid for 10 years from the date of issue. To apply for this passport you need the following:
    • A duly completed passport application Form DHA-73
    • Your original identity document and a copy or your birth certificate and a copy.
    • If under 18 years, parental consent for issuing of the passport.
    • A completed determination of citizenship Form DHA-529 when applying from abroad
    • Present any existing valid tourist passport or if you have lost your passport or it has been stolen and you are applying for a new passport, you must provide a loss of passport report (DHA-335 ) and confirmation that you reported the loss to the police
    • Two color photographs that comply with the Passport and ID Photograph Specifications (NOT needed at smartcard offices as ID images are captured digitally). Please ensure your mouth is closed and that your teeth are not showing on the photo. Passport applications in which the photo and signature images do not meet quality standards will be rejected causing delays in the issuance of passports.
    • Pay the prescribed fee for the passport.
    • DHA-9 form – Full set of fingerprints on DHA-9 form. This form is not downloadable. Please send a self-addressed stamped regular (standard letter size) envelope with a request for DHA-9 to receive this form. This form must be completed by applicants 16 years old and above. Fingerprints can be taken at the South African Consulate/Embassy or at the nearest police station, fingerprints taking centers or notary public office. Electronic fingerprints on police cards are not accepted.
    • Divorce decree. To be submitted by all divorced applicants;
    • Notarized Marriage Certificate. To be submitted by married applicants irrespective of whether they will or will not change their surname;
    • Written Request to Change “Surname”. To be submitted by married female applicants who would like to retain their maiden surnames, or wish to use double-barrel surnames;
    • Notarized Copy of Retention/Exemption Letter, for those who have dual citizenship;
    • Notarized certificate of Naturalization. To be submitted by applicants who are naturalized South Africans.
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The tourist passport will cost R400, and will take 10 weeks for the application to be processed and the passport issued.

  • The Maxi Tourist Passport: These passports can only be issued to citizens who are 16 years and older. They are the same as regular tourist passports, except they contain 48 pages as they are for more frequent travellers. They are valid for 10 years. The requirements are the same as that of a regular tourist passport. It costs R600 and will take 10 days to process.
  • The Tourist Passport: Persons under 16 years: These passports are issued to citizens who are 15 years or younger. They are valid for 5 years. The requirements for this passport are;
    • A duly completed passport application Form DHA-73
    • If the parents are married, the passport application form must be signed by both parents and the child and both parents should be in attendance when the application is submitted.
    • Please note that the child and both parents should be in attendance when the application is submitted to the nearest Home Affairs office or SA Mission/Consulate. If a parent cannot be in attendance, a letter of consent and copy of ID will no longer be accepted.
    • If divorced and sole parental rights and responsibilities in regard to guardianship have not been granted to one parent, the child and both parents should be in attendance when the application is submitted and both must sign the application form.
    • If a parent is deceased, his or her death certificate and a copy thereof must accompany the application for the passport
    • In the case of minors born out of wedlock, the biological father ’s consent will also be required if any of the circumstances as outlined in section 21 of the Children’s Act, 1995, are applicable, the child and both parents should be in attendance when the application is submitted.
    • If the applicant is in the care of a guardian other than the parents, proof of the High Court’s appointment must accompany the application.
    • If a parent cannot be located or refuses to consent, or a dispute concerning consent arises, the matter should be referred to the Children’s Court. The Court’s decision must be submitted with the application for the passport.
    • The child’s South African birth certificate and a copy thereof
    • Two colour passport photographs that comply with the Passport and ID Photograph Specifications (NOT needed at smartcard offices as ID images are captured digitally)
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The passport will cost R400 and takes 10 days to process.

  • Official Passports: These passports are for officials attached to government institutions who have to travel on official business. They are valid for 5 years. The requirements for the passport are;
    • A duly completed passport application Form DHA-73
    • Your original identity document and a copy
    • A letter on the official letterhead and signed by the head of the institution or his or her delegate confirming that the passport is needed for an official trip and that you are employed by the institution
    • Two colour photographs that comply with the Passport and ID Photograph Specifications (NOT needed at smartcard offices as ID images are captured digitally)
    • Submit your existing valid official passport or if lost or stolen a lost passport report (DHA-335) as well as confirmation that the loss was reported to the police

An applicant for an official passport must also sign an undertaking to use the passport for authorized trips only, to keep it safe, to return it to the Department of Home Affairs if you have left government service, to return the passport to a designated person or organization upon returning from the official trip, and to report the loss of an official passport to the police and a designated person in your office.

  • Diplomatic Passport: These passports are only given by the Department of International Relations.
  • Documents for Travel Purposes: These are issued to permanent residents of South Africa who cannot obtain travel documents from their country of origin. They are valid for 5 years. The requirement for this passport are;
    • A duly completed passport application Form DHA-73
    • Written confirmation by your country of origin that the country cannot issue you with a passport, except in the case of refugees that have been granted permanent residence as a refugee.
    • If under 18 years, the prescribed consent by parents must be furnished. See requirements under Tourist passports for persons under 16
    • Your permanent residence permit and a copy thereof
    • Your original SA non-citizen identity document and a copy thereof
    • Two colour photographs that comply with the Passport and ID Photograph Specifications (NOT needed at smartcard offices as ID images are captured digitally)
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This passport costs R400 and takes about 10 days to process.

Lastly, there is an emergency travel certificate which is issued to citizens who need to travel urgently and don’t have the time to process a passport. The requirements are your ID document, two colored passport photographs, fingerprints and a valid urgent reason to travel. It takes R140 to process but you need R400 to get your proper passport once you return.

Please note that all documents required for passports should be completed in black ink. Husbands, wives and children must complete separate application forms, and both parents must be present when applying for passports for children. Lastly, passports are issued in accordance with how your names appear in the National Population Register (NPR) at the time of your application. So changes to names must be applied for, finalized and recorded in the NPR before you submit your passport application.

There are NO passport renewals in South Africa, and passports must be applied for afresh upon expiration, loss or damage.

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