Help me To Obtain Official South African Documents

Birth Certificate

Marriage Certificate

Death Certificate

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Apostille and Authentication of Birth/Marriage/Death/LNI

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A Birth certificate is a certificate issued by your country of birth to confirm and acknowledge the registration of your birth in that specific country.

South African Birth Certificates are issued by the South African Department of Home Affairs.

Types of Birth certificates are available.

1. Abridged Birth certificate.

 This certificate only shows the persons details which will include the ID number,  Surname and Full names.

 • Cannot be Legalised by Authentication, Apostille and/or Certification at Embassy.

2. Unabridged Birth Certificate: Shows the persons as well as parents details which  include ID numbers, and place of birth.

 This certificate is the most commonly used for:

 • Visa applications.

 • New regulations from 1 July 2015 in South Africa is that when you travel with minor  children you must be in possession of a Unabridged Birth certificate.

 • School registrations

 • Application for south African passports etc.

• Only Certificate that Can Be Legalised by Authentication, Apostille and/or  Certification at Embassy.

3. Vault Copy Birth Certificate: Certified copy of the original registration of birth in the handwriting of the person whom registered the birth.

This certificate is the most commonly used for:

 • Obtaining foreign passports.

 • Obtaining ancestral visas.

 • Cannot be Legalised by Authentication, Apostille and/or Certification at Embassy.

Brief History of Birth Certificates in South Africa

Registrations of birth only became compulsory in South Africa in 1905 .

Registrations of birth started in the Cape 1n 1895, Natal 1868, Transvaal 1901 and Orange Free State in 1903

Unfortunately besides our ancestors not being the most law abiding folks around and due to illiteracy and lack of infrastructure especially in the rural areas not all births were registered and some were registered long after the births.

To obtain birth records of births before the 1900 is a vast task and the information has to be obtained from:

 • Baptism records

 • Burial records

 • Government archives

 • Deceased Estate records

 • Death notices

 • Old Government Gazettes

Help me To Obtain a South African Birth Certificate

In June 2015 stricter requirements were put in place for children under the age of 18 and travelling to or from South Africa, whether they are citizens or from abroad. In many cases they have to carry their full, or “unabridged”, birth certificate when crossing South Africa’s borders( With courteously from Africa Check: © Copyright Africa Check 2015.)

These requirements were eased some of the regulations as there was a outcry from the Tourism Industry that the regulations had a huge negative impact on the Tourism Industry.

As background:

 • Until early 2013, when a child was born in South Africa, they were issued as standard with an abridged birth certificate that showed child's details with no reference to the parents.only their mother’s name. If a Unabridged certificate was needed a application had to be lodged at the South African Department of Home Affairs.

 • Since 2013 new born Children are immediately issued with a Unabridged Birth certificate showing both parents details and if a abridged certificate is obtained for children born from 2013 it will also show the mothers details. born since then have been issued with an unabridged certificate showing the names of both parents.

 • Foreign children travelling to South Africa were initially required to carry with them a legal document, issued by the relevant authority in their home country, containing information similar to South Africa’s full birth certificate. Both parents details also.

If this certificate is not in Inglish a authenticated translation must be presented with the birth certificate.

Who needs to get a full birth certificate?

 • Every South African child who is going to travel internationally and was born between June 1995 and 4 March 2013, when the department of home affairs started issuing full birth certificates only, needs to get one.

 • When travelling, the original birth certificate must be carried and not a certified copy. ( Wwe suggest you make several copies to hand over when required. Never part with your origional.)

 • For children from abroad, the requirement to carry a similar document to South Africa’s full birth certificate was relaxed in October 2015 to deal with the law’s “unintended consequences”.

Legalities and potential pitfalls:

If both parents are not travelling with a child, more documents will need to be presented at South Africa’s ports of entry. This is compulsory in the case of South African children. Children from visa-exempt countries are strongly advised to carry these documents as necessary, while children needing a visa will have to present it during the application process where it applies.

 • When only one parent is travelling with a child: The parent staying at home must provide an affidavit providing consent to the child travelling with the other parent, as well as copy of their identity document or passport. The affidavit may not be older than six months.

 • When couples are divorced: The same requirements as when only one parent is travelling with the child applies. It will also be advisable to carry a authenticated copy of the divorce order.

 • When one parent has died: If one of the parents has died, the origional death certificate must be taken along.

 • When the father is unknown: The mother will need to show an affidavit saying that she is solely responsible for the child.

 • hen parents are the same sex: Normal unabridged birth certificate showing both parents.

 • When a child has been adopted: The new unabridged birth certificate showing the adopted parents details.

 • When children are travelling without their parents: The  child must carry an affidavit from his parents confirming that he has permission to travel without them – whether alone, or with a relative, school group or friends – as well as copies of his parents’ identity documents and contact details. The unabridged birth certificate must also be presented.

 • When a child is travelling alone to South Africa: The child must carry a letter from the person that will be receiving him in South Africa, containing the person’s address and contact details, as well as a copy of the host’s identity document or passport. In this case, the Immigration Amendment Act makes no mention of carrying a birth certificate.