Applying for a birth certificate in South Africa | Western Cape Government

Applying for a birth certificate in South Africa


Mother holding baby

The new regulations under the Births and Deaths Amendment Act specify that an unabridged birth certificate is issued to all parents. This certificate specifies both parents’ details, including their ID numbers, full names, city of birth and citizenship. This measure aims to prevent incidences of fraud and human trafficking.

The new immigration law that came into effect on 1 June 2015 specifies that children younger than 18 years will need an unabridged birth certificate when they enter or leave the country.


Registering a birth

Your child will be registered under the father's surname if you are married. Your child can be registered under either parent's surname for unmarried parents.

Note: The first birth certificate after registration is free, and there are no fees for registering the birth of your child. 
As a parent, guardian or any other person legally responsible for the child, you'll need to register your child within 30 days. You’ll need to do the following:

  • complete and submit Form BI-24 at a Department of Home Affairs (DHA) office if you’re in South Africa, or at a South African embassy or consulate if you’re overseas, 
  • bring your ID along, and 
  • bring a copy of your marriage certificate. 
  • Remember that your fingerprints will be used as part of the registration process.
  • The palm, foot or fingerprint of the child whose birth is being registered is required. Records will be archived.
  • Births reported after 30 days have additional requirements and you may need to pay a required fee for the application.

How to apply Registering your baby for a birth certificate.

Newborn babies will receive an unabridged certificate free of charge. However, if you want to apply for a new unabridged certificate, lost your birth certificate or need additional copies, you must

  • complete Form BI-154
  • take your ID (if you take copies, they should be certified),
  • an application fee
  • take your child’s ID, if you’re applying with the abridged certificate

Submit all this documentation at your nearest Home Affairs office or the nearest South African mission, consulate or embassy if you’re overseas.

This process will take 6 – 8 weeks. 

If you're waiting on the unabridged birth certificate and need to travel, consider asking a Home Affairs office for a letter that provides the details of both parents. Your child will be able to travel when you receive this letter.

More information

Learn more about the amendments to the Births and Deaths Registration Amendment Act or contact Home Affairs customer care on 0800 601 190.

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Provided by:
Government Body: (The Government of South Africa)
The content on this page was last updated on 5 January 2022