How to apply for a first time ID book as a South African foreigner

One of the greater benefits of becoming a permanent resident – aside from knowing that you can now call this beautiful country home – is that you qualify for a South African ID book. Having this ID book means that you will have more freedom as a resident and a much easier time with tasks, such as opening bank accounts, signing up for a loan, purchasing a car, starting a business and more.

How to apply & what to know

Once you receive your permanent residency paperwork, the process of applying is relatively simple. Permanent residents who are 16 years or older can apply for their ID book at any Department of Home Affairs office, any South African mission or consulate overseas.

When applying, the following documents are required:

  • Your original passport and a copy thereof (you do not hand in your passport);
  • Your permanent residency certificate and a copy, which will be certified by Home Affairs – you must hand in the second page of your permanent residency certificate, which is stamped by DHA and says your permanent residency has been verified for the purposes of a South African identity book;
  • If married, your marriage certificate and a copy is required, which will be certified by Home Affairs
    • If you were married in South Africa, you will also be required to bring the handwritten marriage register copy (called DHA 30)
  • Two passport photos
  • Form BI-1620, which you will receive and complete at the Home Affairs office

Please note that if your permanent residence permit cannot be provided, you will need apply for proof of permanent residency through VFS Global. Cognizant that permanent residents come from around the world, the Department of Home Affairs requires that any documents not in English must have original sworn translations.

The average turnaround time from application to collection of your South African ID book should take about six months. Given that the Department of Home Affairs is currently working through an unprecedented backlog, applicants are advised to expect delays and remain patient. However, every applicant’s situation is different. If being forced to wait an extended period for your ID is preventing you from living your life in any way, June Luna Immigration Attorneys can assist by expediting the process.

With almost a decade of experience successfully assisting foreign nationals with South African immigration services, our expert team can help you by liaising with the Department of Home Affairs on your behalf and even forcing movement through litigation if the situation calls for it. For more information on applying for a South African ID book or applying for South African citizenship, please cntact us.