Registering the birth of your child


Once you register your child, you’ll receive an unabridged/complete birth certificate free of charge. If you’re in South Africa you need to register your child at a Department of Home Affairs (DHA) office, and if you’re overseas you need to register your child at a South African embassy or consulate.


How to register your child at birth

If you're married, your child will be registered under the father's surname. For unmarried parents, your child can be registered under either parent's surname.

Note: There are no fees for registering the birth of your child, or for the first birth certificate after registration. 

Before you apply

As a parent, guardian or any other person who is 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. 

How to register

If you don't register your child within the first 30 days, you'll be required to provide more details for the registration. These types of registration of births fall under one of the following categories:

1. After 30 days, but before 1 year

  • Form BI-24 must be completed and submitted along with written reasons why the birth was not registered, as required by the 1992 Births and Deaths Registration Act.
  • After this, the application will then be forwarded to the DHA head office for the allocation of an identity number and for archiving.

2. After 1 year but before 15 years

If the child is more than a year old but is still younger than 15, you’ll need to complete Form BI -24/1 and submit it along with written reasons why the birth wasn’t notified in the 30-day period.

To facilitate the confirmation of a child's identity and status, the following documentation will be considered:

  • A certificate from the hospital or maternity home where the child was born. The certificate must be signed by the person in charge, and contain the institution's official stamp,
  • official confirmation of the child's personal details, as extracted from the school register of the first school attended by the child. The confirmation must be on the school's official letterhead, be signed by the principal, and contain the school's official stamp,
  • your child's baptismal certificate,
  • sworn affidavits by the parents, or where they’re not available, by a close relative at least 10 years older than the child, and who is familiar with the child's birth details,
  • a social worker report if the child has been abandoned,
  • a clinic card,
  • school reports, or
  • any other documentary evidence that may assist in proving the child's identity and citizenry status.

Please provide as many of these documents as possible when submitting your forms.

Upon application, you’ll be interviewed and your fingerprints will be verified against the national database.

If successful, your application will then be forwarded to the DHA head office for the allocation of an identity number, and for archiving. 

3. After 15 years

If you're older than 15 and haven't been registered, your birth registration application must accompany your application for an ID (Form BI-9). You’ll need to:

  • complete Forms DHA-24, DHA-24/A x 2 and DHA-288 for the registration of birth,
  • submit supporting documentation, as well as written reasons why the birth was not registered within 30days of birth, and
  • you must be a South African citizen or permanent residence permit holder, with a valid South African ID.

Registering the birth of a child born within wedlock (Parents are married at the time of birth)

Children born within wedlock can be registered under the surname of the father and mothers jointly, where both parents have given consent.

You’ll need to:

Once the child’s birth has been registered, an unabridged birth certificate is issued free of charge, usually 1-2 days or so after the registration application has been submitted. 

Contact information

If you need more information, you can:

Provided At: These facility categories:
Provided by:
Government Body: (The Government of South Africa)

There are no fees for registering the birth of your child, or for the first birth certificate after registration. 

The content on this page was last updated on 12 December 2017