South African passport

South African passport

The South African passport is the travel document issued to citizens of South Africa. The passport is issued by the South African Department of Home Affairsref|homeaffairs. It is a valid proof of citizenship document according to the South African nationality law. 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.

Types of passport

There are four types of passports that are issued:
*Ordinary passport issued to South African citizens 16 years and older.:(Valid for a maximum period of 10 years, 6 months processing time and costs R165.00)
*Children's passport issued to children under 16 years.:(Valid for a maximum period of 5 years, 6 months processing time and costs R125.00) (Note: with the exception of expiry dates Children's passports appear no different then those of adults)
*Temporary passport issued only to citizens who must travel urgently for a valid reason and cannot wait for their proper passports to be issued.:(Valid for a maximum of 12 months, 1 week processing time and costs R96.00)South African Temporary Passports are currently not acceptable for entry into Austria, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, France ,Germany, Italy, Ireland, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Switzerland and United Kingdom.
*Diplomatic passport or Official Passport issued to officials attached to government institutions who have to travel on official business :(Valid for a maximum period of 5 years, provided at no charge)
*Maxi passport (64-page) issued to frequent travelers who are 16 years or older. :(Valid for a maximum period for 10 years, 6 months processing time and costs R310.00)
*Emergency Travel Certificates are single sheets of paper that can be used instead of passports in emergencies.
*South Africa also issues a Travel Document for persons who are not South African citizens but who are resident in South Africa. This document is called a Document for Travel Purposes.

Physical appearance

South African passports are in green, with South African coat of arms(1932-2000) emblazoned in the center of the front cover. The Words "PASSPORT", French: "PASSEPORT" and "REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA", French: "REPUBLIQUE D`AFRIQUE DU SUD" are inscribed above the coats of arms and below the coat of arms respectively. The ordinary passport contains 32 Visa Pages, but frequent travelers [Maxi passport] contains 64 Visa Pages (as noted above).

Identity Information Page

The South African passport includes the following data:

*Photo of passport Holder
*Type-Type (PP)
*Country - Pays (ZAF)
*Passport No.- No Du Passport
*Surname - Nom
*Given Names - Prenoms
*Nationality - Nationalite
*Date of birth - Date de Naissance
*Identity No - No. D'IDENTITE
*Sex - Sexe
*Place of birth - Lieu de Naissance
*Date of issue - Date de delivrance
*Authority - Autorite
*Date of expiry - Date d'expiration

The information page ends with the Machine Readable Passport Zone.

Passport Note

The passports contain a note from the issuing state that is addressed to the authorities of all other states, identifying the bearer as a citizen of that state and requesting that they be allowed to pass and be treated according to international norms. The note inside of South African passports states:

In English:

:"In the Name of the President":"The President of the Republic of South Africa requests all whom it may concern to allow the bearer of this passport to pass freely without let or hindrance and to afford the bearer all necessary assistance and protection".

and in French:

:"Au Nom du Président":"Président de la Republique d'Afrique du Sud,prie tous ceux que les présentes peuvent concerner de laisser passer librement et sans entrave le titulaire du présent passport et de lui accorder toute aide et secours en cas de besoin".


The data page/information page is printed in both English and French.

Applying and carrying

In order to apply for a South African passport, one must fill out application form [ BI-73] , and bring the appropriate sized photographs. To ensure correct identity.

South African passports are issued only in Pretoria and in South African Embassies.

According to the [ South African Citizenship Act (Act 88 of 1995)] as amended by the [ South African Citizenship Amendment Act (Act 17 of 2004)] , South Africans may hold dual citizenship, but may not use their citizenship of another country to gain advantage or avoid responsibility while in South Africa.

It is also illegal for an adult who holds South African citizenship to enter or depart South Africa using a non-South African passport. Dual nationals traveling on a non-South African passport may be turned away from border checkpoints and could be fined or imprisoned for up to 12 months.

Incidents involving South African passports

In 2005, the actor Wesley Snipes was detained at OR Tambo International Airport for attempting to leave South Africa on a fraudulent South African passport in his possession. []

In July 2008, South African passport holders were amongst those singled out by the United Kingdom during a global review [UK Border Agency [ Results of Britain's first global visa review] ] as likely to require visas by the end of 2008 unless the countries in question take measures to reduce the perceived risk they pose to the UK. This finding comes after uncovering a major multi-national people smuggling conspiracy involving fraudulently issued, genuine South African travel documents. During two trials that concluded in July 2007 and January 2008 in the United Kingdom, it was revealed that at least 89 Indian citizens had been issued with South African passports by corrupt officials in South Africa's Department of Home Affairs, and that these passports were subsequently used by the Indian citizens to enter Britain illegally. During the trial, a witnesses testified that one of the scheme's ring leaders boasted of bringing 6000 illegal immigrants into the United Kingdom on fraudulently issued South African passports [BBC [ How people smugglers were stopped] ] [The Tribune [ Gang of human smugglers jailed] ] [The Times [ SA Passports 'not worth the paper'] ] .

Visa-free travel for SA passport holders

:("The information provided here is to be used as a guide only. Consult with the relevant embassy or travel agency before travel")

According to a study done by Henley & Partners, South Africa has a Henley Visa Restrictions Index of 62, which means that South African citizens enjoy visa-free access to 62 countries and territories for short-term tourism visits. South Africa is ranked 40th in the study in terms of international travel freedom. It is ranked the same as a Philippine Passport.

The following countries and territories/regions allow South African passport holders to either enter without a visa or obtain one on arrival. The requirements of entrance are based on tourist purpose only.



Visa-Free travel for Diplomatic, Official and Service passport


* [ South Africa Government Online]
* [ South African Department of Home Affairs]

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