A passport is a card issued by the government to its citizens and some non-citizens as a document certifying their identity and nationality when they travel outside their country. In some countries, the passport is also used as a travel document. The passport allows the bearer to travel internationally and serves as a general proof of nationality. It also serves as a visa to enter a foreign country.
The Republic of South Africa is offering a new type of electronic passport that can contain security chips with biometric information. The Department of Home Affairs is also working on a project to include iris scans and fingerprints in the passports. As of 2014, the South African passport was the most expensive in the world.
Clients can request a passport renewal for a period of five years at the cost of R1,200. This fee is charged per person, per passport, and is not dependent on the age of the passport holder. The cost of a first-time South African passport is R600 (for 32 pages) and R1,200 (for 48 pages) for both adults and minors.
Where to get a South African Passport
The South African Passport is issued only by the Department of Home Affairs whose headquarters is at Pretoria (although you can find local branches around you). Or if you’re overseas, you can visit the South African embassy or mission there.
All you need do is fill out a DHA-73 form which you can process online (at ehome.dha.gov.za) but then you will have to visit a local branch of the DHA office around you so that your biometrics information is captured.
The permanent South African passports and travel documents which are machine-readable are printed only in Pretoria, South Africa. It is from here that they are then dispatched to the offices of application which includes the local DHA branch around.
Cost of a passport in South Africa
Currently, the cost of procuring a South African passport is R600 and R1,200 both for adults and minors.
R600 for 32 pages and R1,200 for 48 pages which are known as the Maxi Passport. This applies to both adults and minors.
A first-time application must be done in person, well, except if the applicant is a minor, then the legal guardian has to process the application.
To apply for a South African passport, the first thing to know is you must have a South African identity document. If you do not have one, you must apply for and receive your ID book before applying. In the case of the applicant being a child, you (as the parent/legal guardian) must present a birth certificate. You must present a legal and valid identity. Your photograph must be a true image of yourself. Your fingerprint must be taken (except if the applicant is a minor)
Applicant must have a South African Identity Number. In the event of the applicant not having one, he or she must apply for registration of birth.
All of the documents presented for the application process must be filled in black ink.
The husband, wife, and children are to fill out separate forms. In the event of applying for a child (a minor), both the parents and the child must be present.
Any change in name (aside from the name documented on the National Population Register) must have been finalized and recorded in the NPR. Official passport is applied by those traveling on official government business. A diplomatic passport is for diplomats. Applicants in South Africa are to submit their application to any office of the Department of Home Affairs. Outside of the country, applications can be submitted to the nearest South African embassy.
You can’t renew a passport, you can only submit a new application for a passport when the validity period of the current one expires. This may apply to lost or misplaced passports. And if you are applying for a new passport with the old passport, it costs about R600 or a little more. This does not in any way apply to official and diplomatic passports though.
In the case of re-applying for a new passport when the previous passport has been lost, damaged, stolen, or misplaced, you will be charged double the normal fee, this is sort of a penalty for the owner’s seemingly negligence.
Online Payment Page
Although the portal is currently disabled, payment for the application of your passport can be made and this can be done via the Home Affairs website ehome.dha.gov.za. The most important tip to know is that you’ll need internet banking to process every payment.
Cost of Services
Getting a new passport (whether for minors or for renewing) costs at least R400, but the cost of service is not fixed.
Time to Apply
Due to COVID-19 regulations (and like most countries), it is advisable to apply for (or renew) your South African passport at least six months in advance.
After tracking online if your passport is ready, you have a choice of collecting in person or authorizing someone else to collect it on your behalf.
If you’re authorizing someone, the person will have to present your original payment receipt, original certified and signed authorization letter (from you of course), a photocopy of your ID, original ID proof of you, and photocopy ID proof of you.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions though, it is not confirmed if your South African passport can be shipped to you wherever you are.
And maybe there’s a need for you to travel urgently but you do not have a valid regular passport, you can submit your application for an emergency travel document/certificate which of course is subject to some requirements.
Be informed that in some countries though, emergency travel documents/certificates are not accepted. You should make sure to check this out with the appropriate authorities of the country you intend to visit before applying for emergency passport/travel certificates.
The bottom line is to make sure to confirm and obtain your passport before making firm travel plans and bookings.