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SOUTH AFRICA HOME AFFAIRS HELL: 5 FAQs about birth certificates, ids, queues and other pestilences.

If there is any subject guaranteed to rear its complicated head in this Village on a weekly basis, it’s anything to do with the workings of our Home Affairs department.

Here’s a hopefully helpful digest of the Village’s answers to the most frequently asked questions around South African passports, IDs, birth certificates and the rest.


#1) Is there any way to avoid the queues outside Home Affairs? What’s the deal with school uniform wearing kids?


Yes. Generally and only, apparently at some Home Affairs departments, ( such as The Barrack Street in Cape Town, one for e.g, ) children in school uniform are generally ushered to the front of the queue. But note. The officials are not dumb: If you try this trick in the week after school holidays, you might very well be sent packing back to the back of the queue. They know you could have done it during holidays.


Yes, part 2: If you have an account and are registered for online banking with Standard Bank, and Nedbank, in some instances:

For Standard Bank, you can complete the online application form on the home affairs website, login to your online banking profile with the bank to pay for your application, keep your payment confirmation reference number, book an appointment at one of their designated branches, go in to scan your fingerprints and have your pictures taken. You’ll receive an SMS when your ID or passport is ready. All you’ll need to do is pick it up at the branch, you’ve specified.

From a Villager: “I would just like to share my positive experience at Dept of Home Affairs – Std bank Canal Walk today
Had done the online booking to renew my passport, hubby and daughter at 2pm.
Friendly, polite and for all three of us ( including time bolting to piercing shop to have daughters nose ring out for passport photos- apparently not allowed) we were All 3 of us in and out in 30 mins !!! This has renewed my faith !!”


Report back regarding the proceadure at Nedbank: “A seamless procedure to renew your passport and Smart ID @ eHome Affairs via Nedbank 135 Rivonia Road, Sandton… took a few minutes.
Did all the necessary online. Paid and booked an appointment. At the appointment they took fingerprints and photographs.

I am a NEDBANK client. This is Home Affairs booth inside the bank.

Passport & ID will be ready in a week.

Some things really do work here!

Some things really do work!”


#2 Do we still have to travel with my kid’s unabridged birth certificate?


Yes, unless: While any new passports while in July it was reported that “With the upgrades, the last page of the child’s passport will have the details of the parents, meaning that parents will no longer be required to travel with an unabridged birth certificate.” This is of courtse only applicable if your child has a NEW PASSPORT. Until then. And even then, they check to see that the unabridged birth certificates match the passport. So. Yes. Unabridged birth certificates AND if you are travelling with a child who is under 18, without the other parent … an affadavit signed by the other parent and stamped by a commissioner of oathes, that they are in full knowledge and support of this.



# 3: Which is the fastest Home Affairs to try?

While many Villagers recommend out of town offices ( Atlantis, Caledon, even Somerset west when it isn’t closed due to load shedding, are often recommended,) depending where you are, the drive out may take as much time as waiting in queues. And cost you in petrol.

“ In general, it’s a crap shoot,” says one Villager, “ Sometimes loadshedding or internal issues cause things to be even slower (Wynberg has been known to do admin on the first Wednesday of the month, so they actually start an hour later than advertised,) and sometimes, if you come a bit later, say around 11am the first queue will have dissipated and everything will move faster. But also, sometimes, if you take a chance and arrive later, you’ll find the quote has been filled and be sent home empty-handed. No easy answer.”


#4: Can fathers take their kids to apply for their first ID? A Villager writes: “Home Affairs told my partner that only the mothers are linked to the children and can only accompany them to apply for their ID?”


The Villages’ experiences: “ I just did this yesterday you need the birth certificate and they checked that I was the mom on it. There was a dad with his daughter and same applied to him. I had a certified copy of her dads ID but they didn’t even asked for it. Kid must be present, as well, as when collecting.”


Online remains a win, it seems: “Applied online, scanned docs, marriage cert etc & no need for both parents.”


“Both parents only need to be present for a passport not for ID.”


“ Please note that if the mother is not a citizen, but only a permanent resident only the dad with a South African citizenship can apply for the child’s ID.”


#5: “ What if you HAVE To call the Home Affairs call center? Has anyone ever got a phone call or email answered?”


“ 0800 number works (0800 601190) but phone at 7 30 am, not even 7 40. Any later than 7.30 … you’ll have a problem getting through. Trust me I have been calling every week for a year and a half at 7 30. Only time they answer.”


“ I promise you it’s a waste of time. I called every day for two weeks. Only way to get anything done is to go into a branch. I use Atlantis because it’s always empty except at month end.”


#6: “ My child was born in 2003. The year the birth records were “ Lost in a fire,” at Home Affairs, is there ANYTHING I can do?”


“We also live in Cape Town. Eventually, in desperation, we physically went to Home Affairs in Pretoria (which is where they said our application was). The branch we went to said, no, it’s not here, you’ll have to go to head office. So we went to head office where they said, no, you can’t come in here, we don’t see members of the public… But eventually a very friendly and helpful guy got someone from “births” on the phone, and we were sent back to the branch with the correct forms to fill out (a registration of birth form plus an affidavit stating why we were (re)registering the birth so late). We still got sent from person to person inside the branch until we eventually saw the supervisor. She told us she could indeed help us, but we were going to have to buy her lunch. We bought her “lunch” (R200) and left half an hour later with that darned yellow piece of paper in our hands…” ( Please note. The Village offers REAL people’s advice, not moral or ethical or Home Affairs sanctioned advice. This is what HA and a culture of corruption, drives our Villagers to. We’re not condoning it on the Village, even while we understand 100%)


“ My kids birth certificate’s been missing for over four years and I gave up after countless attempts. Still haven’t got it. When my daughter needed to travel we obtained a travel letter from DOH in Wynberg. Took a few days but there was no issue getting it. Had to hand in forms from both parents plus confirmed travel documents.”


“My daughter was also born 2003 same story. They will issue you with a travel letter but only 3 days before you leave. I completed the dh forms a year ago and have still not received the birth certificate.”


Call in the experts? “Try get Bunnyhop to assist you


And it’s not only 2003 that’s problematical: “fill in DH288 and 24 forms. Hand them in and see where that goes. Some people have had good luck and some not.
The reason why you’re struggling is because they have damaged microfilm in the archives for years 2003/2004 & possible 2005.
So they will keep saying we are waiting for archives to send us the information. But there’s nothing there. And you will keep waiting..”


Someone even suggests an actual person: “Hennie Meyer (“Thank heavens for Hennie!”)

Deputy Director of HACC

Department of Home Affairs, 012 3008603”

( Poor Hennie.)















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