South African travel documents are granted in terms of the South African Passport and Travel Documents Act (Act 4 of 1994) and the South African Passport and Travel Documents Regulations of 1996 respectively. A passport is an internationally recognized travel document that verifies the identity and nationality of the bearer.
South African passports are issued only in Pretoria. However, applications must still be submitted or forwarded to the applicable South African Embassy. Applications can take five (5) months to be finalized.
Temporary Passports and Emergency travel certificates are issued at South African missions abroad and both take one (1) week to be finalized.
Please be advised that temporary passports are not accepted by some countries. It is the responsibility of the traveler to inquire with the countries to be visited before applying for a temporary passport. The Embassy accepts no liability in this regard.
Regular South African passports are issued to South African applicants who are 16 years old and older.
They are valid for 10 years and are not renewable.
Child passports are issued to children who are fifteen years and below. These passports are not renewable.
Temporary passports, valid for one year, are issued to applicants who need to travel urgently while their permanent passports are being processed.
Please be advised that temporary passports are not accepted by some countries. It is the responsibility of the traveller to inquire with the countries to be visited before applying for a temporary passport. The Embassy accepts no liability in this regard.
Maxi passports contain 64 pages for frequent travellers. They are the same as regular passports (valid for 10 years) except that they contain double the number of pages to provide for more visa pages.
Emergency Travel Certificates are issued to South Africans who have to travel back home urgently for reasons of death, sickness or any other emergency. It is in a page form and may be issued with validity ranging from a month to a year and only to be used once. Applicants for emergency travel certificates must also apply for permanent passports.
Passport and Id Photo Specifications
* Note: Forms BI-73 and BI-9 can not be downloaded and must be obtained from the Embassy