How to renew your South African passport from Australia Expat

If I had a dollar for each time I would have seen a post on a Facebook group about How to renew your South African passport from AustraliaI would be rich. Mega rich.

While there is information online direct from the South African High Commission, it seems that not everyone is clear about the current process of renewing a South African passport while in Australia. Here are some guidelines on what to do to renew your South African passport from Australia.

Please make sure that you don’t just follow the information on this blog, as the process can change at any time.

The best website for the latest information on passport renewal is the South African High Commission in Australia.

How to renew a South African passport from Australia

How long does it take?

From 2020, the renewal of the South African passport will take between 6 and 12 months. This is from the date you mail it to the time it comes back at the consulate. Most of the time, it’s closer to 12 months than 6, so the extension should be at least a year.

It is important that you plan your passport renewal well in advance of a possible trip as the process takes so long.

This is insane compared to renewal times for other passports, even considering documents are being sent and returned overseas.

We have UK passports and the last time we renewed them it took 3 weeks from sending the application to receiving our new passports in the mail. 3 weeks. Not 12 months!

Also remember that at the time of entry into your travel destination, you still need a validity period of at least 6 months on your passport in order to be able to travel to most countries.

According to South African law, you only need a passport that is valid for 30 days upon entry. However, some immigration officials insist on it being valid for 6 months. Your airline can also refuse you boarding in Australia if you don’t have at least 6 months in your passport.

Therefore, the timing of your passport renewal application is of vital importance to avoid disrupting your travel plans.

How much does it cost?

Depending on the type of passport you are applying for, there are different renewal costs.

This is the cost as of September 2020 (check the SAHC website for current prices if you read this in the future).

Passport Renewal Fees:

Regular Adult Pass (16+; 32 pages) – USD 44

Maxi Adult Pass (16+; 48 pages) – $ 66

Child Pass (under 16) – USD 44

Stolen passport replacement fees:

Stolen Passport (Adult / Child) – $ 44

Stolen passport (maxi) – $ 66

Lost or Damaged Passport Fee:

Lost Standard Pass (Adult or Child) – $ 90

Lost Maxi Pass – $ 132

Payment must be in Australian dollars, not rand, and can be either a bank draft or postal order (both of which incur a fee).

Cash and personal checks are not accepted, and you cannot pay with a card.

If you are applying for more than one person, e.g. For example, if you have several family members, you can send a postal order / cashier’s check to cover all requests.

Which documents do I have to fill out?

There are several documents that you need to fill out and send when renewing your South African passport from Australia.

You are:

  • Form BI-73 – Passport Application Form
  • Form BI-529 – Form to Determine Citizenship Status
  • Form DHA-9 – Fingerprint Form
  • Certified copy of your current / expired passport (original not required) OR identification document OR birth certificate
  • 4 x passport photos, one of which must be approved by a relevant person
  • Self-addressed registered or express mail envelope for the return of your new passports

The fingerprint form can only be obtained by post from the South African High Commission. You must send a self-addressed prepaid normal or express mail envelope to the South African High Commission. You will also need to include a cover letter requesting the form and providing the applicant’s full name and South African ID number (s). All passport applicants aged 16 and over outside of South Africa must submit a DHA-9 fingerprint form.

The form must be signed by a competent official. In Perth this can be done at the South African Honorary Consulate by prior arrangement. Learn all about Have your fingerprints taken here at the Honorary Consulate in Perth.

Alternatively, the High Commission website states that you can have your fingerprints taken at your local police station. However, I have read in several online posts that at least in WA the police refuse to take fingerprints and the Honorary Consulate is the only place in WA to take your fingerprints for your passport renewal.

Additional documents for other circumstances:

If your passport is lost or stolen – Form DI-47

If you have dual citizenship – Certified copy of your foreign citizenship certificate and the dual citizenship certificate

If you are a naturalized South African-South African Certificate of Naturalization

Additional documents for applicants under the age of 18:

  • Current certified copy of the child’s unabridged birth certificate
  • Current certified copy of the passports of both parents / legal guardians
  • Letter from both parents / legal guardians stating that permission to apply for the child passport has been granted
  • Contact numbers for both parents / legal guardians
  • If applicable, certified copy of the death certificate
  • If applicable, certified copy of the court order
  • If applicable, certified copy of the marriage certificate

Where do I have to send my passport renewal application to?

If you are renewing your South African passport within Australia, you must send your passport renewal application to:

The South African High Commission
State district

Keep in mind that policies and turnaround times can change over time Check the South African High Commission website For the most up-to-date information and if in doubt, call them to ask questions about renewing your South African passport.

And if you are about to emigrate and your passports expire in the next 2-3 years, just get new passports while you are still in South Africa. Turnaround time is around 2 weeks if you are in South Africa and the process is much less painful than trying to do it from Australia!

Hope you found this blog useful. I wrote one about it too Things You Need To Know About Returning To Australia With A Foreign Passport.

You can also check out some of my other posts on getting used to Australian life:

5 tips on how to start a new life in Australia

How to survive the expat blues

How to convert your foreign driver’s license to an Australian one

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