If I had a dollar for each time I saw a post on a Facebook group about how to renew your south African passport from Australia, I’d be rich. Mega rich.
While there is information online about this directly from the South African High Commission, it seems not everyone is clear about the current process of renewing a South African passport while living in Australia. So here are some guidelines on what you need to do to renew your South African passport from Australia.
Please ensure that you don’t just follow the information in this blog, as the process could change at any time.
The best website to visit for up to date passport renewal information is the South African High Commission in Australia.
How To Renew A South African Passport From Australia
How Long Does It Take?
As of 2020, the South African passport renewal process is taking anywhere between 6 and 12 months. This is from the date you send it off, to the time it’s received back at the consulate. More often than not it is closer to 12 months than 6, so expect it to take at least a year to renew.
It’s important to plan your passport renewal well in advance of any potential travel, because the process takes so long.
Compared to renewal times for other passports, this is crazy, even taking into account sending documents overseas and getting them returned.
We have British 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 you need at least 6 months’ validity remaining on your passport at your date of entry to your destination to travel to most countries.
South African law states you only need 30 days’ passport validity on entry, however, some immigration officials insist on 6 months’ validity. Your airline may also refuse you boarding in Australia if you don’t have at least 6 months left on your passport.
So the timing of your passport renewal application is crucial to avoid scuppering any of your travel plans.
What Does It Cost?
Depending on what kind of passport you are applying for, there are different renewal costs.
These are the costs as of September 2020 (please check the SAHC website for current pricing if reading this in future).
Passport renewal fees:
Normal Adult Passport (16yrs+; 32 pages) – $44
Maxi Adult passport (16yrs+; 48 pages) – $66
Child passport (under 16) – $44
Stolen passport replacement fees:
Stolen passport (adult/child) – $44
Stolen passport (maxi) – $66
Lost or damaged passport fee:
Lost standard passport (adult or child) – $90
Lost maxi passport – $132
Payment must be in Australian dollars, not rands, and can either be a bank cheque or postal order (both incur a fee).
Cash and personal cheques are not accepted, and you can’t pay using a card either.
If applying for more than one person, e.g. for several family members, you can send one postal order/bank cheque to cover all applications.
What Documents Do I Need To Complete?
There are several documents you need to complete and send if you want to renew your South African passport from Australia.
- Form BI-73 – Passport application form
- Form BI-529 – Determination of Citizenship status form
- Form DHA-9 – fingerprint form
- Certified copy of your current/expired passport (original not needed) OR ID document OR birth certificate
- 4 x passport sized photographs, one of which must be endorsed by a relevant person
- Self-addressed registered or express post envelope for the return of your new passports
The fingerprint form can only be obtained from the South African High Commission via post. You need to send a self-addressed prepaid ordinary or express post envelope to the South African High Commission. You must also include a cover note requesting the form and quoting the applicant(s) full name and South African ID number(s). All passport applicants aged 16+ outside of South Africa must send a DHA-9 fingerprint form.
The form needs to be signed by a relevant official. In Perth, this can be done at the South African Honorary Consulate at a pre-booked appointment. Find out all about getting your fingerprints done at the Honorary Consulate in Perth here.
Alternatively, the High Commission website states you can have your fingerprints taken at your local police station but from what I’ve read across multiple posts online is that at least in WA, the police refuse to do fingerprinting and the Honorary Consulate is the only place in WA to get your fingerprints done for your passport renewal.
Additional documents for other circumstances:
If your passport was lost or stolen – Form DI-47
If you have dual citizenship – Certified copy of your foreign citizenship certificate and dual citizenship certificate
If you are a naturalised South African – South African naturalisation certificate
Additional documents for applicants under the age of 18:
- Current certified copy of the child’s unabridged birth certificate
- Current certified copy of both parents/legal guardians’ passports
- Letter from both parents/guardians indicating that permission has been granted for the application of the child’s passport
- Contact numbers for both parents/guardians
- Certified copy of death certificate where applicable
- Certified copy of court order where applicable
- Certified copy of marriage certificate where applicable
Where Do I Need To Send My Passport Renewal Application?
If you are renewing your South African passport within Australia, you need to post your passport renewal application to:
The South African High Commission
Remember that guidelines and processing times could change over time so please check the South African High Commission website for the most up to date information and if in doubt, give them a call to ask any questions you have about renewing your South African passport.
And if you’re emigrating soon and your passports are going to expire in the next 2-3 years, just get new passports while you’re still in South Africa. The processing 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!
I hope you found this blog useful. I’ve also written one about things you need to know about travelling back to Australia on a foreign passport.
You can also check out some of my other posts below about settling into Australian life: