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

Applying for a birth certificate in South Africa


Before the new regulations of the Births and Deaths Amendment Act came into effect in March 2014, parents were issued with an abridged birth certificate when they registered the birth of their baby, this included the ID number, full name and country of birth. Mom changing baby's nappy.

Now, the new regulations specify that all parents will be issued with unabridged birth certificates. This certificate specifies both parents’ details, including their ID numbers, full names, city of birth and citizenship. This measure is aimed at preventing 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 of age will need an unabridged birth certificate and passport when they enter or leave the country.


As a parent you need to do the following as required by the national Department of Home Affairs:

  • Both parents must do the notification of birth. 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.
  • Notice of birth must be given by the next of kin or guardian if the parents are dead.
  • You’ll  need to pay a required application fee If you register your child’s birth after 30 days. Please contact the Department of Home Affairs for the fee amount, which may change from time to time.
  • You’ll undergo a screening and may pay a higher application fee If you only apply to register after the first year of your child’s birth. 

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 an unabridged certificate, visit any Home Affairs office and take:

  • your ID (If you take copies, they should be certified),
  • an application fee (please confirm the cost of this service with the Department of Home Affairs ), and
  • your child’s identity number if you’re applying with the abridged certificate.

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.

Replacing lost certificates

If you've lost your birth certificate or need another copy, you can apply at your nearest Home Affairs office.

If you're outside the country, you can apply at a South African mission, consulate or embassy.

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 29 January 2020