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South African passport


South African passport

South African passport
Front Cover of a Current Issue South African Passport.
Issued by  South Africa
Type of document Passport
Purpose Identification
Eligibility requirements South African citizenship
Expiration 10 years after acquisition for adults, 5 years for children
Cost R400.00 (32p) / R600.00 (48p)[1]
Photo Page of a Current Issue South African Passport.
Photo Page of a Current Issue South African Passport.

A South African passport is a travel document issued to citizens of South Africa for the purpose of international travel. It allows the bearer to travel in foreign countries in accordance with visa requirements, and facilitates the process of securing assistance from South African consular officials abroad, if necessary.[2] A South African passport is a valid proof of citizenship document according to South African nationality law. As of 2014, citizens of South Africa enjoyed visa free access to 97 countries, of which some may require pre travel registration according to the Visa Restrictions Index.

South African passports are issued by the South African Department of Home Affairs,[3] in terms of the South African Passport and Travel Documents Act (Act 4 of 1994), and the South African Passport and Travel Documents Regulations of 1996.

Types of passports

There are six types of South African passports:

Regular passport
These passports are issued to citizens who are 16 years of age or older, and are intended for occasional travel, such as vacations and business trips. They contain 32 pages, and are valid for 10 years.[4] Regular passports are not renewable – when they expire, new passport applications have to be filed.[5]
Maxi passport
Similar to regular passports, but contain 48 pages to cater for frequent travellers. Like regular passports, they are issued to citizens aged 16 and older, are valid for 10 years, and are non-renewable. like the regular passport when it expires,a new passport applications will have to be filed.[6]
Child passport
These passports are issued to citizens who are 15 years of age or younger. They are valid for 5 years, and are non-renewable[7]
Official passport
These passports are issued to officials attached to government institutions who have to travel on official business. They are valid for 5 years, and are issued to officials free of charge by the Department of Home Affairs.[8]
Diplomatic passport
Issued to diplomats and consuls for work-related travel, and to their accompanying dependants.

Physical appearance

South African passports are green in colour, with the South African coat of arms emblazoned in gold in the centre of the front cover. "REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA", French: "REPUBLIQUE D'AFRIQUE DU SUD" are inscribed in gold text above and below the coat of arms respectively. "PASSPORT", French: "PASSEPORT" are inscribed in gold text near the bottom of the front cover. The back cover is left blank.

Beginning in 2009, passports were issued with the new South African coat of arms. Additionally, visa pages now contain pictures of the Lion, Buffalo, Leopard, Elephant, and Rhinoceros – the Big Five animals of Southern Africa.

The passport note occupies the first page of the passport, and the particulars page occupies the last. The identity information page is printed on the inside of the passport's back cover, opposite the particulars page.


The front cover, passport note, particulars page, and identity information page are printed in both English and French. Until 1994, they were also printed in Afrikaans.

Passport note

Passports contain a note from the issuing state, addressed to the authorities of all other states, identifying the bearer as a citizen of that state and requesting that they be allowed to pass and be treated according to international norms. The note inside the South African passport states:

In English:

In the Name of the President
The President of the Republic of South Africa requests all whom it may concern to allow the bearer of this passport to pass freely without let or hindrance and to afford the bearer all necessary assistance and protection.

and in French:

Au Nom du Président
Le Président de la République d'Afrique du Sud, prie tous ceux que les présentes peuvent concerner de laisser passer librement et sans entrave le titulaire du présent passeport et de lui accorder toute aide et secours en cas de besoin.

Particulars page

On the particulars page, the bearer is instructed to fill in their address of permanent residence and other contact information, and the name, address, and contact information of someone to notify in case of accident or death abroad.

Identity information page

The following data are printed on the identity information page, located on the inside of the passport's back cover:

  • Colour photograph of passport holder
  • Type [of document]
  • Code [of the issuing country, which is ZAF for South Africa]
  • Passport number
  • Surname
  • Given name(s)
  • Nationality
  • Date of birth
  • Identity number
  • Sex
  • Place of birth [lists only the country name]
  • Date of issue
  • Authority [the issuing authority of the passport, which is Dept of Home Affairs]
  • Date of expiry

A machine-readable zone is found at the bottom of the identity information page.

New passports (with the new coat of arms)

The Department of Home Affairs began issuing new format passports on 9 April 2009. These passports are not biometric but do contain sophisticated security features such as a seven-layer polycarbonate page where personal details and a photograph are laser engraved. Various other security features have been used to bring the passport into line with International Civil Aviation Organisation requirements.

Visa free travel

Visa requirements for South African citizens
  South Africa
  Visa on arrival

Visa requirements for South African citizens are administrative entry restrictions by the authorities of other states placed on citizens of South Africa. In 2014, South African citizens had visa-free or visa on arrival access to 97 countries and territories, ranking the South African passport 41st in the world according to the Visa Restrictions Index.

Applying and carrying

Pages 28 and 29 of a South African passport with foreign travel advice.

To apply for a South African passport, one must fill in application form BI-73, and bring the appropriate sized photographs to ensure correct identity.

South African passports are issued at any home affairs office in South Africa.

According to the South African Citizenship Act (Act 88 of 1995) as amended by the South African Citizenship Amendment Act (Act 17 of 2004), South Africans may hold dual citizenship, but may not use their citizenship of another country to gain advantage or avoid responsibility while in South Africa.

It is also illegal for an adult who holds South African citizenship to enter or depart South Africa using a non-South African passport. Dual nationals using a non-South African passport to enter/exit South Africa may be turned away from border checkpoints and could be fined or imprisoned for up to 12 months. However, the use of their non-South African Passport is permitted to enter/exit any country other than South Africa.

1944 South African passport
1948 South African passport
1951 South African passport

Gallery of historic images

See also


  1. ^ List of Tariffs as of 01 April 2013
  2. ^ South African Consular Services (Department of Foreign Affairs)
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Travel Documents (South African Department of Home Affairs)
  5. ^ South African Passports (South African High Commission, Ottawa, Canada)
  6. ^ South African Passports (South African High Commission, Ottawa, Canada)
  7. ^ Child Passport ( South African Department of Home Affairs
  8. ^ Official Passport, South African Department of Home Affairs

External links

  • South Africa Government Online
  • South African Department of Home Affairs
  • How to Renew a South African Passport
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