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The excellent Village Guide to surviving a trip to Home Affairs. (Deep breath: It can be done.)

We’d all avoid it if we could, but just like death and taxes, eventually, Villagers, we all have to face… Home Affairs. We’ve picked the best advice from the weary parents who have stood in those depressing queues. Our advice? Always take a book along and snacks for the kiddos. By The wonderful Lori Cohen 





Note: Here is the link to the updated travel advisory from DHA


Q: Has anyone flown recently with proof of application for an unabridged birth certificate/letter from home affairs, but not the actual document?


“It’s called an equivalency letter. My son flew with one to Aussie, but you need to check with each country as not all accept.”


Q: Is it at all possible to have unabridged birth certificates apostilled in Cape Town? Busy with an application and been told that CT High Court will not apostille birth certificates only available in Pretoria. Any advice?


“You can either send it to DIRCO in Pretoria via registered mail or via courier. It is a fairly efficient process, though. All the info is on the Internet if you Google DIRCO Apostille documents.”




Q: “Can an old person get into DHA without queuing for hours? My dad is 84 and won’t be able to queue for that long?”


“Yes. elderly people all go to the front of the queue at home affairs.”


“It might be worth opening a savings account at Standard Bank and just put a few Rands in it to use the facility. As long as you don’t tell them it is for a passport. Saw another post where they got moaned at for opening an account just for that.”


“If not a Standard Bank customer, apply online on the Home Affairs esite. Choose ‘collect at the HA office of your choice’ then it’s very quick as the application is already in.”


“Tuesdays is Pensioners day, and they are really looked after (my Wynberg, CT HA experience).”


“I’ve resigned myself to opening an account at Standard Bank so that I can get passports done in Cape Town. For ID if you bank with FNB you can do in Cape Town – you just have to make an appointment. It’s all very civilised and only takes 10 days to get a passport.”


“Nedbank offers it too. I know this pertains to people in JHB only.”

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!


Q: Anyone knows the turnaround time for a SA Passport renewal?


“Mine took 10 days, and we didn’t do it online – went to the home affairs office.”


Q: My 16-year-old son needs an ID.  I want to go to Wynberg [CT] on Friday. Any tips? What time should we get there? Is the “kids in uniform” a myth?


“Not a myth at Barrack Street it worked for me. 7:45am and make him visible when HA staff walk out the door at about 7.50ish (we were finished by 8.15).”


“Tip given to me by official: don’t go at the end of the month or the middle because of paydays, the best time is between the 3rd and 16th.”


“HA only opens at 9:00am the last Wednesday of the month! Sigh.”


“Wynberg this doesn’t apply. I went there with my son a year or so ago in uniform and they told me only Barrack St lets pupils in first. Perhaps this has changed since then. I’d phone first or rather just go to Barrack St. We ended up going there and was quick.”


“NB regarding home affairs Cape Town. They did not take the school uniform wearing children first. They said ‘sorry, you just had a long holiday to make applications’. However, if you did apply online, you are sent to the front of the queue.”




Q: Process and costs to change my surname back to my maiden name?


“Easiest process! I was in and out within 30 minutes. No cost. I have now applied online for a new ID and passport.”


“Take along your ID book. But take your divorce decree as well just in case.”










Can I apply for new passports for kids before they’ve expired?


“If passports are valid for 6 months after the return date [of your trip], you don’t need new passports for them.”


“I just renewed my passport a few months ago because it was full, not expired. The normal fee for passport, not extra. Got an extra page one this time but don’t think you can get extra length child passport. Think you have to be travelling within the next 3 months to apply. They ask you whether it’s ok to cancel the current passport until a new one issued. I say no until a new one is in my hands. But bring ‘old’ one with you when you apply and collect.”


Q: My 18-year-old son needs to apply for his first time smart card ID. He wants to renew his passport at the same time. Do both parents need to be present for the passport renewal?


“If he is 17 and 363 days old you need to be there but not at 18.”


“For kids under 18. Both parents must be present and don’t forget unabridged birth certificates.”


Q: My son’s dad lives in the UK. Would he be able to give permission by an affidavit at the SA Embassy in London, or does he really need to travel here just to apply for a renewal of our son’s passport? 


“He can go to the embassy and give his consent. They will email the home affairs office here with the consent, and you can then take the kids in.”


I went through the same process last year. Home Affairs are not helpful, and you have to think outside the box. My ex lives in London. They eventually (on the third visit) accepted all official documents from his side, once they had been signed and stamped by the High Commission in London, along with a Police stamped affidavit. Ask to see the main person at Home Affairs. You have to be nicely pushy. I ended up in tears at the third visit to Home Affairs due to sheer frustration. The whole room cheered when I hugged the main guy at Home Affairs when he eventually accepted my officially stamped documents.”


“Do both parents need to be present for a passport application for a minor under the age of 16? The father’s name is on the unabridged birth certificate, but the father has not met the child and is not interested in the child’s life. He also lives in a different province to the child and mother which would make it not only awkward but logistically difficult.


“The problem will be because his name is on the unabridged. You will need a letter from him giving up his parental rights or go to the court to get a sole custodian order. Age 16 is still too young to get a passport without consent. 18 is the age.”


“Two ways to do this. Get him to fly to your province and go with you and the child. I had to do this. Or apply to the high court to give you sole custody. This is costly. I was told he either comes with you or the child gets a passport at 18.”


“You can apply online but you still need to go for biometrics, that is when both parents have to be there.”



Great advice here from a Villager that knows her stuff!


There are three things you need for a Smart ID:
Your ID
Two Colour Photos (if applying at a bank, Home Affairs has their own photo studio).
Finger Prints (taken at the place of application).The cost for applying is R140 as usual, and if you’re applying for the first time, it’s free of charge.

If you’re applying for a Regular Passport, the same documentation is needed, however, the cost for this a is R400.
You will then be notified via SMS when your documentation is ready for collection.

South African citizens can apply via the eHomeAffairs website. Please note, you will need Internet banking to proceed with your online passport application. Applicants will have to go to a Home Affairs branch to capture their biometrics and collect their passport. Johannesburg residents also have the option of recording their biometrics and collecting their passport at specific Absa, FNB, Standard Bank or Nedbank branches. Whether you’re applying for a passport for the first time or doing a passport renewal, follow these easy steps:
When to Apply for Your South African Passport Renewal?

Most countries require that travellers have at least 6 months availability on their passport beyond the date of departure. Therefore, you are advised to renew your passport before it expires within the time frame of your travels.

South African Passport Renewal Requirements

A copy of your ID
Passport fee – R400
Your old passport
How to Renew and Apply for Your South African Passport Online

Account Registration

Simply go to the eHomeAffairs website and register.
Create a profile
Answer the security questions
Create a password
Capture the OTP (one-time pin) sent to your cellphone
Finally, attach a copy of your ID
Making the Payment

Enter your bank account details on the eHomeAffairs site.
You will then be required to log in to your Internet banking to authorise the payment.
Log in to your Internet banking account: go to the “My Bills” option under “Payments” to initiate the payment instruction.
Add the Department of Home Affairs as a beneficiary, and a payment instruction will appear under “My Bills”.
Finally, enter your reference number and approve the R400 payment to the Department of Home Affairs.
Record Your Biometrics

Option 1: Home Affairs BranchOnce the Department of Home Affairs has registered your payment, you will be eligible to proceed with your biometrics data – two thumbprints, a photo, and your signature.
You do not need to make an appointment at Home Affairs. Simply go to your local branch to have your biometrics done.
You will need to take your ID book with you to the Home Affairs branch.
Option 2: Home Affairs-Equipped Bank Branch
Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria residents can make an appointment for their biometrics at their local bank branch once their payment has been registered (see below).
You will be given a choice of time slots. Once you’ve selected a time slot, you will be sent a confirmation via SMS and email.
Take your ID book and confirmation email or SMS with you when going to your local bank branch.
Wait for an SMS or email.
You will receive a notification that your passport is ready for collection at the Home Affairs or a bank branch where your biometrics was captured, after approximately 10 days. With eHomeAffairs services available, your South African passport application and passport renewal process should prove to be simple and easy




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