Is it time for your South African passport renewal? Or perhaps you’re applying for your very first one? The last thing that you want to do is stumble across a cheap flight to London and realize that your passport has expired.

With South Africa’s eHomeAffairs portal, applying for your passport has become significantly easier. Self-described as easy to use, convenient, and just a click away, the South African Home Affairs online system can be your greatest ally when completing your passport application online.

Here’s all that you need to know about how to apply for (or renew) your ‘green mamba’ so that you can begin planning your next adventure.

The Convenience of Online Passport Application

Renewing your passport online is very straightforward and consists of four basic steps (which we’ll explore in detail in a bit).

  1. Submit your application online
  2. Upload required supporting documents
  3. Make the necessary online payment
  4. Schedule a booking at Home Affairs, or an enabled bank

It’s important to note that while the Home Affairs online passport application is a lot easier and doesn’t require hours waiting in long queues, you do still need to visit a branch for the final step.

When is it Time to Apply for Passport Renewal?

passport costs

Putting in your credit card details to book your cheap flight to Thailand is not the time to check if your passport is approaching expiry. It’s important to always have an idea of when your passport becomes expired, and make a note to renew it well in advance.

Take note that many international destinations require a passport to be valid for three to six months before allowing entry into the country. For example, a trip to Paris requires your passport to be valid for three months after your departure date.

It normally takes between 7 – 21 working days to process the application of a new passport in South Africa. So, make sure that you give yourself enough time.

Requirements for Online Passport Application, South Africa

To avoid any hiccups and delays along the way, you should be prepared with the necessary documents needed for the Department of Home Affairs online system.

The following documents are required for renewing your passport online.

  • A copy of your ID
  • Payment of your passport fee
  • Your old passport (if applying for a renewal)

Passport Costs

The fees for a passport application and renewal are the same. It will cost you R400 per application.

If you lose your passport and are unable to bring the old one along for the renewal, then the cost is double at R800.

Step-By-Step Breakdown – Online Passport Renewal or Application

Rather than waking up at the crack of dawn to stand in the line at Home Affairs, you can fire up your laptop and follow the following easy steps.

1.   Register Online

The first thing that you need to do is head on over to the eHomeAffairs registration page and fill in all the necessary details. If you’ve already registered, then you can just navigate to the Home Affairs login page.

After creating a profile and answering the security questions you’ll be asked to create a password (which you should safely store somewhere) and receive an OTP.

Once confirming the pin sent to your cell phone, you’ll be required to upload a copy of your ID. This is the first step in getting your passport online.

2.   Make Your Payment

Paying for your passport is almost as easy as any other online payment, completed in two parts. But firstly, to be able to pay online, you need to bank with at least one of four major banks, namely FNB, ABSA, Standard Bank or Nedbank.

international flights

To start, you’ll be asked to enter your bank details on the Home Affairs portal. You’ll then need to login to your internet banking profile to finalise the payment.

To authorise the money transfer, you’ll have to navigate to the “My Bills” option under “Payments” and follow the payment instructions. Make sure to add in your reference number and send proof of payment to the Department of Home Affairs.

3.   Record Your Biometrics

The next step in the process requires you to visit either your nearest Home Affairs branch or one of the affiliated bank branches. Here, you’ll have your biometrics captured in the form of a photograph, two thumbprints and a signature.

If you are going to a Home Affairs branch then no appointment is needed, you only need to take proof of identification.

If you choose to go to one of the Home Affairs-equipped banks, then you’ll need to make an appointment for an available time slot. Once again, don’t forget to take proof of identification.

4.   Await Confirmation

Once your biometrics have been captured, you simply need to wait for a notification that your passport is ready for collection at the branch where your biometrics were taken.

This normally takes approximately 10 days to process.  You’ll receive an alert via email and SMS to let you know that it is ready.

5.   Book Your Trip (Optional)

Now that you’ve got your passport in hand and a whole lot of empty pages, it’s time to book your trip. Holidays to certain countries, such as a trip to Mauritius, don’t require visas upon entry for South African citizens, so there’s no extra admin needed!

Closing Thoughts

Although you still need to visit a branch at some point in the process, applying for a passport or renewal online cuts out a lot of the admin. The process is easy, smooth and effective, leaving you more hours in the day to plan for your next trip.

Luckily you don’t need a passport to fly domestically. So, if you’re itching for a trip while you wait for your passport to be renewed, you can always book a cheap flight to a local destination – perhaps a trip to Cape Town or Durban?