South African citizens wanting to travel to other countries should have a valid South African passport. If you have never owned one, you must apply for a passport at FNB. But if you already have it, you will be allowed to travel easily. However, if yours has expired, you must prepare yourself to go through the process of passport renewal in South Africa. A South African passport certifies that you are a citizen of South Africa. It confirms the person's identity and nationality. This implies that the person will always be required to show the document whenever they enter or leave South Africa.
Did you know that the South Africa law forbids leaving or entering the country on a foreign passport if you are above 18 years? It is critical to ensure that your book is valid before you plan to travel out of South Africa. The following are 10 crucial tips on passport renewal in South Africa.
The quality of the passport
Whether you are applying for a new passport or you want to renew the old one, it is important to remember that all South African passport and travel documents should be printed in Pretoria. Also, the final documents must be machine-readable. It means that you cannot apply for this travel document from any office. Thus, if you have no idea where to go to apply or renew one, get details about passport application at banks. For citizens who are within the South African borders, they can have the application submitted to the Department of Home Affairs. But if you are living in foreign countries, you can submit the application to the nearest South Africa mission or Embassy.
Applying for a passport at your bank
If you live in South Africa, you have about 180 Home Affairs department branches where you can apply or renew your passport. But you can also get the same services at your local Bank. Banks like ABSA, First National Bank and Nedbank have partnered with the department to make it easier for South Africa citizens to apply and renew their documents. All you will need to do is to find out the banks' branches where these application and renewal services are offered.
The list of banks for passport application and renewal
The department of Home Affairs has partnered with several banks to offer passport application and renewal services. The service was intended to reduce the long queues that were initially common at the department’s offices. Also, it was intended to make the whole process less frustrating. Unfortunately, you will not get these essential services at all the branches. Here is a list of bank branches where you can access passport application and renewal services.
- ABSA- located at Centurion Lifestyle Centre
- ABSA Gandhi Square
- ABSA Towers
- FNB Centurion lifestyle centurion
- FNB Merchant place
- FNB Lynwood Pretoria
- FNB President Street West.
- Nedbank Sandown
- Standard Bank Canal walk
- Standard Bank Killarney Ave
- Standard Bank Centurion
- Nedbank Lakeview
If you are unable to access any of these banks, you can opt to apply for passport renewal online.
Renewing your passports through FNB
The partnership between the Department of Home Affairs and FNB has made the process of passport renewal FNB easier. It allows you to apply for the passport online and collect it after a few days at one of the FNB branches.
It is a simple process that commences as soon as you register yourself at the Department of Home Affairs Website. After registration, you will be required to enter your account details and approve the payment. Once it is done, you will need to choose a convenient FNB branch and schedule for an appointment. Remember to print the appointment confirmation page. Armed with an appointment letter, you will have to visit the FNB branch at the date and time you selected. Please carry along with your ID book. In the absence of the book, you may bring a police affidavit with you.
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Renewing your passport online
South Africa is moving forward digitally and as such, many government agencies currently transact most of their business online. The Department of Home Affairs is not an exemption. It has introduced eHomeAffairs to enable South Africans to apply and renew their passports online. Through this process, you may have to wait for a maximum of 10 days for the Home Affairs department to renew your document. The good thing about it is that you will be notified when your copy is ready for collection via an SMS.
For those who already have internet banking, passport renewal in South Africa will be much easier. You will do most of the things online and only go to the Home Affairs branch to have your biometrics captured. Alternatively, you may choose to record your biometrics at Standard Bank, Absa passport application, Nedbank and PNB. In this case, though, you will have to indicate the bank branch where you want the department to deliver your passport for collection. This way, you will no longer spend your time on those long queues that were associated with renewing passports. For applicants who don't live near any of the banks which have partnered with the Home Affairs department, they can still renew their copies through the Department of Home Affairs. The applicants will need to visit the Home Affairs office and have their biometric data collected. They will then wait for one week before they can collect their passports.
Paying for passport renewal online
To carry out online passport renewal South Africa, you need to register at the eHomeAffairs website. You will be prompted to create a profile and answer the security question. Thereafter, you will be required to create a password to use to log in. A one-time pin to use for this purpose will be sent to your cell phone. At the end of the process, you will need to attach a copy of your ID and payment confirmation message. Note that the payment must be made online.
The process of making payment
- Write down your bank account details.
- Log into your internet banking and authorize payment.
- Go to my Bills option and initiate payment instructions.
- The beneficiary is the Department of Home Affairs.
- Enter the reference number and approve the payment.
Once the payment has been accepted, the system will allow you to proceed with the biometric data update. You will need to upload a photo, two thumbs, and signature for this purpose. Also, you will then need to visit the local bank where you will process the passport renewal and have the biometrics data collected. But do not forget to take your ID book to the Home Affair branch office that is near you.
If you choose to have the biometric process done at the selected bank branch, you must get the appointment letter. The bank will give you the time slot via email or SMS. You will then have to wait for another 10 days before the passport can be available for collection.
If you are a South African citizen and a holder of SA passport, you will be required to renew it every ten years. You should start the process six months before the expiry date. Note that it is always easier to renew the document than to apply for a new one.
Know what is required
The process is straight forward and not tedious at all. You need to have the following documents to get the process going.
- The old passport
- Your National ID
- R400 – being the passport renewal fee. The amount may change so it is important that you check with the Home Affairs department before making the payment.
Have an idea about what you need to do
Knowing where to start, who to go to and where to go will reduce time wastage. You may start the process by registering yourself at the eHomeAffairs website. Your details will be captured and you will be allowed to log in when you are ready to start the process. Prepare all the necessary supporting documents and upload the copies online. Note that you will need the original documents when you visit the Department of Home Affairs or at the bank. If the submission is successful, then print the application form. It is proof that you submitted your application.
Have your Smart ID done
If you have not applied for a smart ID, it will save you time if you can have it done at the same time. You will submit the biometric data once for both the Smart ID and the passport
Make a follow-up
How long does it take to get a passport in South Africa?
Applying for this travel document is one thing and getting it is a different thing altogether. In the past, it was possible to make a follow up online but the Department of Home Affairs suspended this service. However, it encourages applicants to make a call to its centre to know the status of their passport application process. Generally, it may take between seven and 21 days to have it ready.
Although it is not necessary to make an appointment when you plan to visit the Department of Home Affairs office, if you do it you will accelerate the process. If you are applying for renewal online, you should make the appointment online. Also, it is important to remember that you cannot renew a South African passport once it expires. This means that you must start the process early before the expiration date. If you let it expire, you will have to make a fresh application for a new passport. So you can avoid the difficult process of applying for a new one by renewing it 5 months before it expires.
Renewing a British passport in South Africa
Although it is easier to renew SA passport, the procedure for British passport renewal South Africa is a little bit complicated. Even though, the process can be done online, from your workplace or at home. But the renewal can only be affected if her Majesty's office accepts your request. The renewal process must take place through the UK government official website. If you have no idea how to go about it, then seek help from a knowledgeable agent.
The renewal procedure
You will visit the official British Government website and choose the passport renewal option. Here, you will be required to answer a few questions regarding your age and other relevant details. You will then be required to fill an application form and pay the necessary application fee. It means that you must have a credit card approved for international purchase. Please note that it costs you a little more doing it here as compared to the amount paid by those renewing the document from the UK. Banks will also levy additional fees and currency exchange fee.
Your application will be forwarded to her majesty’s passport office. Once it is done, you will wait for six weeks before it is renewed. In some cases, you will receive an interview call. Also, her majesty’s office may require more information from you. The office only accepts photographs that meet certain specifications. So, you need to be on the lookout and furnish them with all the necessary details. During the process, you are advised not to plan any travelling. However, you may apply for an emergency travelling document if need be.
For a jumbo passport 48 pages, you will pay 110.86 pounds while for a 32 pages book, you will pay 102.86 pounds.
Other than paying the mandatory fee you will need to provide the following documents to be allowed to renew your British passport in South Africa.
- The current book
- Two passport size photos (recent)
- Proof of address and name
This far we are sure that you have gathered enough knowledge with regards to renewing this key travel document. You know what is required and what you need to do before commencing the process of passport renewal in South Africa. No longer will you have to rely on phoney agents or become a victim of passport renewal scams. Please visit the Department of Home Affairs for more information.
DISCLAIMER: This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!