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How to renew your South African passport if you’re overseas

By November 2, 2022October 5th, 2023FinGlobal

How to renew your South African passport if you’re overseas

November 2, 2022

If you’ve relocated and you’re now living overseas or you have been issued another country’s passport, you might think it’s pointless to renew your South African passport. It’s not. In fact, it’s very necessary. Even if you have another passport, according to the South African Citizenship Act, 1995, it is a punishable offense for a South African citizen of 18 years and older to exit or enter South Africa on a foreign passport. To avoid any unpleasant situations, and to facilitate any homeland visits, it’s important to ensure that your passport is valid. Here’s what you need to know about how to renew your South African passport if you’re overseas.

What do you need to know about your South African passport?

Fondly referred to as ‘the Green Mamba’, your passport is an official document issued by the South African national government for international travel and for the purpose of certifying your identity and nationality. Passports are generally valid for ten years from issue, and they are issued to South Africans over the age of 16.

Technically, you cannot renew your South African passport. Once the validity period of your passport expires you must submit a new application for a passport. This means filling out a DHA-73 form at a Home Affairs branch or, at a South African embassy or mission if you are currently outside of the country.

Whether you’re in South Africa or overseas, your application for a passport must be done in person so that the passport officer can check:

  1. That your identity is legal and valid (you are who you claim to be)
  2. Your photograph is a true image of yourself (sorry, no Insta filters here!)
  3. Your fingerprints against the National Population Register.

 Can I renew my South African passport from abroad?

You do not have to be physically present in South Africa in order to submit an application for a passport renewal. You can do it at any South African embassy or mission. You can find a list of websites for global embassies, high commissions, and consulates on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation website. The full list of embassies is here.

Can I do my South African passport online?

You can start the application online using the service at Remember you will need to complete the process in person at a South African embassy or consulate.

Can I travel back to South Africa with an expired passport?

It is not advisable to attempt to travel on an expired passport. Your passport should be valid for at least 30 days beyond your intended date of exit from South Africa, according to South African immigration regulations. Some officials enforce even more stringent rules, and will deny you entry unless you have at least 6 months validity on the date of entry to South Africa.

If your passport expires while you are outside of South Africa, you will need to contact an embassy or consulate in the country you’re in to apply for emergency travel documents. It is important to note that emergency travel documents are equivalent to a one-way ticket. They are valid only until you enter your home country. Once you’re on home soil, you must apply for a new passport.

What documents do you need to apply for a South African passport when yours has expired?

  • Your completed passport application Form DHA-73
  • Your original ID and copy, or a birth certificate and copy if under 16
  • If under 18, parental consent for issuing passport
  • A completed determination of citizenship – Form DHA-529 – when applying from abroad
  • Any existing valid tourist passport that you hold
  • If you have lost your passport or it has been stolen and you are applying for a new passport, you must provide a loss of passport report (DHA-335) and an affidavit reporting the loss to the police
  • Two colour photographs that meet Passport and ID Photograph Specifications
  • You will also need to pay the necessary passport fee

Here’s what you need to know about how to:

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