How to apply for a passport online - an easy guide

How to apply for a South African passport online

South Africans can apply for a passport online , and renew their expired passports online too. Here is my detailed guide on how to do an online passport application. For updates on the How to apply for a passport online process, be sure to enter your email address here. Don't forget to click on the confirmation link in the email you receive.

When travelling abroad the general rule is that your passport needs to be valid for 6 months. Most countries require this. My children’s passports were expiring in 2 months time which was a bit of a problem. We tried going to Home Affairs a while ago but one look at the long line snaking outside the office and we were out of there. After mustering up enough courage, I scheduled another trip to Home Affairs a few months later.

Before going in, I phoned to find out what the queue was like. The woman on the other end of the line said that it was worse than Christmas and New Year on the beach. I gave up. Then I decided to look into applying online. I remembered seeing somewhere that it was only available for adults between the age of 25 to 40 but I thought I’d check it out anyway.

Online registration and submission

I went to the Department of Home Affairs’ website and saw a link to apply for your South African passport or Smart ID online. It took me to https://ehome.dha.gov.za/echannel . I registered on this website then found options to apply for a passport online for myself or for minors. I selected the Minor Passport option, completed the forms and submitted them online.

The questions were quite straightforward however there was one unusual question – “How many spouses do you have?” . Maybe, it's not so unusual in the South African context though.

I was required to select a branch where I wanted to collect my passport. Apart from Home Affairs branches all over the country, there were options to select certain ABSA and Standard Bank branches in Johannesburg and Pretoria (about three of each bank) as well as Cape Town. I selected Standard Bank Killarney which was most convenient for me. Mine and my husband’s ID copies were required, which I uploaded and submitted online.

Payment

I was then required to initiate a payment instruction, by entering my bank account details. Thereafter I logged into my Standard Bank internet banking account and found the My Bills option under Payments. I selected the Department of Home Affairs as a beneficiary.  The payment instruction then appeared under My Bills. I entered my reference number and approved the payment. The passport renewal fee is currently R400 for a normal passport.

Booking an Appointment

Once the payment had been registered by the Department of Home Affairs, I was taken to a page to book an appointment for biometrics (fingerprints). Note that if you want to go to Home Affairs for this step, no booking is necessary. (Just expect to wait in long lines). I selected Standard Bank Killarney again and then had to select a time slot.

Confirmation

I received an appointment confirmation which I had to take with me to the bank.

Notifications

At every step above, I would receive an email and SMS notification.

Appointment

I went to Standard Bank Killarney in Johannesburg on Friday at 2pm - which was the latest appointment I could get. They had a separate Home Affairs section within the Bank. There were no queues at all. They took photos of my kids in the photo booth and asked for mine and my husband’s electronic thumbprints and signatures.  I didn’t even have to give in photos or any other documents however do take your ID book/card and old passport with ( if you have one). I was told that I would receive a notification to collect the passports in 2- 3 weeks. The staff were efficient and compared to Home Affairs, the whole process was a pleasure.

I received an SMS and an email on 22 August (10 days later) to say that the passports were ready for collection.

Additional Notes

  • Beware of incorrect information - Prior to making the appointment, I had emailed Standard Bank to confirm that their Killarney branch processed passport applications and they replied to say that it was “only open to all Standard Bank customers between the age of 25 to 40 who have an active Internet Banking account”. Then I asked the same question on their Facebook page and they confirmed that it was open to all ages. When I went into the Killarney branch they told me that it had just opened up to all ages from a week ago.  Apparently their call centres had not been informed yet.
  • You have to be a Standard Bank, FNB or Absa Internet Banking customer. Payment has to be processed online. You can't go into the bank and pay as they are not authorised to accept payments and you can't pay from someone else's account. Only adults applying for their minor children can use their accounts to pay for the children.
  • If you are applying for a new South African passport when you have an existing one, your old passport needs to expire within the next 6 months.
  • If you are applying because your old South African passport is full, then you need to have 3 or less blank pages. If you have more than 3 blank pages, you will not be able to apply for a new one.

Update: As at October 2019, here is the list of banks where you can do passport applications. 

  • Absa Centurion Lifestyle
  • Absa Ghandi Square
  • Absa Towers
  • FNB Lifestyle
  • FNB Lynnwood (Grove Shopping Mall)
  • FNB - 4 Merchant Place
  • FNB President Street West
  • Nedbank Lakeview Office Park
  • Nedbank 135 Rivonia Road
  • Nedbank Arcadia
  • Standard Bank Canal Walk
  • Standard Bank Centurion
  • Standard Bank Killarney Mall
  • Standard Bank Simmonds Street

For more updates on this process and the roll-out to the rest of the country, be sure to enter your email address here. Don't forget to click on the confirmation link in the email you receive.

Did you apply for a passport online ? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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How to apply for a passport online - an easy guide 1

173 comments on “How to apply for a passport online - an easy guide”

  1. How to apply for a passport online in South
    Africa easily is very useful, I also shared it on my facebook.

  2. Hi There,

    Great article. I see the home affairs echannel website is currently offline during the lock down (which makes no sense), any idea on the current status of passport renewals online?

  3. Thank you so much for this informative and step-by-step blog. It helped tremendously. I got my passport within 5 working days. It was super impressive!

  4. This is very interesting, You are a very skilled blogger. I have joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your excellent post. Also, I've shared your website in my social networks!|

  5. I have been trying for 2wks now to renew our (family) passport online but to now avail. The 1st week the forms were not downloading, the 2nd week the OTP was not coming through. I tried calling the Home Affairs call center i stayed on the phone for hours waiting for someone to answer the phone but nothing until it got cut. I am so frustrated!!! What is the other alternative? Because it seems calling Home Affairs is a futile exercise.
    Please somebody help me with a workable solution...i am almost in tears from frustration.

    1. I'm sorry to hear that you have been experiencing problems. you can try emailing Home Affairs or you will have to go in to a branch.

  6. I am resident in Germany and tried to do an on-line application for a second business travel passport so I can submit one for visas while travelling on the other one.

    On the registration page it says my ID is registered and wont let me change to my German cell number so even when I go to the logon screen it sends to OTP to my old phone (not in Germany).

    How can I "update" my online profile?

    Thanks kindly

  7. Hi,

    I feel really dumb....on the payment page of the DHA online application there is a field titled "Bank Access Number" which is a mandatory field to complete.....where does one get this number from please ? The Bank has no idea (although the "?" next to the field says this number comes from the bank !)
    Please help a Cyber dummy !
    Thanks

  8. Hi, Just want to check if you can open any standard bank account and then apply or are there any min requirements of transactions in the account before you apply

    Eg : must be open for a certain time before youcan apply or you must have min funds or transaction

    thinking of opening an account for this purpose only?

    Thanks

  9. Hey, thanks for the helpful info.

    Can you make a booking for biometrics on a Saturday? I can't find any info online re the office hours.

    THANKS!

  10. We are trying to apply online to renew our passports. We have been trying for over 24 hours to download the application form but to no avail. Is there a way around this. We are currently in New Zealand and will be arriving in South Africa on 4 July 2019.

  11. HI there, I wonder if you can help me? I have completed the booking with the bank online. I was however unable to upload the barcoded application confirmation, despite having the latest Adobe installed. Are you able to advise me whether I will still be able to proceed with the appointment when I arrived at the branch (I am coming from the UK). I do have the ebooking confirmation that was sent to me, however I don't have the barcoded Application Confirmation mentioned on the website. Thank you!! Anne ps - Home affairs help lines and email not responding....

  12. I became a SA citizen by naturalization and when I try to register on the website it does not work. It says the online system currently available for SA citizen who born in SA.

    1. I'm having the same problem.

      In so many article I have read it says online applications now open to ALL South African citizens.
      But I'm getting the This function is not available to SA citizens not born in SA..
      Really frustrating. I'm a SA citizen. I have a SA ID book and I have a SA passport but because I was born in Rhodesia I cant book online......very wierd indeed

  13. All well and good, but how or where does one get the "bar-coded confirmation letter" if selecting to visit a Home Affairs office, rather than an approved bank? Please someone help me?

  14. Good day
    I'm in the USA at the moment. The wife need to renew the kids passports. I cant go to a S A. Embessy at the moment is there any way to renew the kids passports with only o e parent there

  15. Use Internet Explorer/'Edge' to open Home Affairs page - it doesn't like other browsers (same as for Sars e-filing).

  16. Brilliant article thanks!
    Does anyone know about the "old system"? I tried the online application in 2016 and could not complete due to slow internet. Tried to apply now again, but when I submit it says I have an open application on the old system. How does one access the old system to delete the previous application?
    I live overseas, and visiting SA soon for a week only, so really need to get this done. Any suggestions highly appreciated!
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Roelien , Did you try editing the old application, as it may be possible. If you can't do that, then you'll have to call Home Affairs unfortunately.

  17. Good day,
    Your experience sounds relatively painless. But you are in Jhb!
    I live in Durban, I need to have my passport renewed, but don't want to go stand in long lines at the Home Affairs offices.
    Are there still no banks available in Durban who can assist with the process!
    Regards,
    Jill

  18. Hi

    I need to apply a passport for my younger brother 14yrs of age. Our both parents are deceased and he is staying with me and my husband. Are death certificates fr both parents sufficient for online application.

  19. I really appreciate this post. I have been looking everywhere for this! Thank goodness I found it. You have made my day! Thanks again!

  20. I’ve been trying to do my daughters passport online, I’ve completed payment but cannot seem to book an appointment at a bank. I use FNB and this has been going on since June where I cannot seem to get a date

  21. I completed an online application - however every time I selected all dates available for a booking it came up blank. tried for 2 weeks. I called the call center and the said then there are no bookings available and all dates are full. So this doesn't really help as I now have to go stand in a queue and i couldn't print the confirmation of my application.

    What do i do now?

  22. If I applied for a new passport as I lost my passport (have had fingerprints done) and have now found my old passport, will I still be able to use my old passport or would it have already been cancelled?

  23. Thanks for the info! So there are no Cape Town ABSA or FNB branches who provide the service?? I dont bank with Standard and as I understand this you have to bank with the bank that is offering the service? (Reeeeeally dont want to go into a DHA...)

  24. Hi there I have applied from overseas and is struggling to get my passport finalised. Is there anyone in the department I can call??

    many thanks

  25. Hi Sarah

    Do you know of some legal agents/agencies that can assist me with passport renew? My daughters' passport is in the process for over six months.
    I have tried visiting the home affairs office in Johannesbure but to no help. Called help center several time, given case number as well but no luck.

    If you or anyone else that can help

  26. Hey there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my facebook group?
    There's a lot of people that I think would really enjoy your
    content. Please let me know.

  27. Wow this is a great blog thanks a mil

    My 13yrs old son and I are currently living in west africa for work and his passport has only one page left.

    I could apply at the embassy here but it takes 3months to come out as it has to ne send to Pretoria.

    My question is ! Is it possible to apply online and his dad who is in SA go submit his Passport pictures at a bank or home affairs ? Or all the offices are on the electronic system for pictures?

    As for finger prints he is still a minor so no need.

    Regards

    1. Hi Mary
      I believe that tour son will have to go in personally as they have to take his photos. Also, my husband and I both had to do the biometrics for our kids.

  28. thank you for the informative article. I followed the steps and registered. However, the PDF form doesn't download

  29. We live in Dbn and are wondering whether we could do all the online stuff and then drive to a Pretoria bank (having secured an appointment) to do the biometrics and then have them courier the actual passport to my home?

  30. Hi
    Do we have this facility in Durban bank branches? As i am trying to get a passport for my kid and every time i go they are offline.

    1. Hi Rahul, This facility is not available in Durban yet, as far as I'm aware. You can contact Home Affairs to find out when they will be rolling it out in Durban.

  31. Hello, I would like to subscribe for this blog to get updates, so where can i do it please help out.

  32. Do you perhaps know if you have to specifically have to have a standard bank account at that branch or if I have a Namibian Standard bank account will it also work?

    Then I will still visit the Standard bank in SA to do the fingersprints etc...

  33. Thanks for the information! We are thinking of travelling to Johannesburg to do this process with our kids as DHA lines are in excess of 7 hours and always offline....
    When collecting however, will both parents and children need to be present or can one parent only collect or perhaps even a representative
    Does anyone know

  34. I have a question. If you have done all the process online and you go do your fingerprints at a much later date (say a month later), does that mean the passport would have been processed and ready for you when you go do your fingerprints to collect it, or will they only start processing the passport after fingerprints are done? I am coming home only for three weeks but need a new passport and am worried I will not get it done in time for me to leave.

    Thanks
    Mike

    1. Hi Mike, My understanding is that they only start processing once they have your fingerprints. But you can always contact Home Affairs to confirm.

  35. If I want to renew one of two SA passports I have, which option do I select under reason for application on the online application.

    If I use 'full' option it does not give me an option to state which passport it is that needs to be renewed?

  36. Hello! I want to offer a massive thumbs up to the great information you have here on this post. We are returning to your blog for much more soon.

  37. Hi Sara

    If you are an Absa Internet banking client but not a Standard Bank client, can you still go to a Standard Bank for your biometrics? I ask because there isn't an Absa near me but there is a Standard Bank.

    Thanks for the excellent write up.

    1. Thanks Atiya
      I believe you can but I would just call the Home Affairs Helpline on 0800601190 to confirm. Alternatively , you can proceed with the online application and see if it gives you an option to book your appointment at an ABSA branch.

      1. No. We wanted to go the FNB at The Grove in Lynnwood road, but as we bank with Nedbank, it is forcing us to go into the Nedbank branches in Pretoria CBD or Rivonia. 🙁

        Does anybody know what the current turnaround times are?

  38. Hi,

    I'm wondering if you can tell me when applying online and submitting the application, does the passport application process begin immediately? I'm in South Africa from 29th August - coming from Aus - so I'm wondering if by the time I get to Home Affairs it'll just be a matter of biometrics and photo and say a couple of weeks later, my passport is ready?

    Cheers

    1. Hi Skye
      Yes, once you do the online bit, you can schedule your appointment for the earliest available date for your biometrics and photos. After that, it normally doesn't take long before you get your passport.

  39. I stay south Africa more than five years is so difficult for some one who cames outsid who don't have passport or id even we don't have bank account b/c is not allawed some one who don't have passport or id ever thing is so difficult please understand my filling and help me to get a passport dear

  40. Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you penning this write-up
    and the rest off the site is also really good.

  41. I'm so happy to read this. This is the kind of manual that needs to be given and not the random misinformation that is at the other blogs.
    Appreciate your sharing this best doc.

  42. Would anyone be able to advise which home affairs office in the greater area would be the quickest to finalise an online passport application.

  43. This is very interesting, You are a very skilled blogger.
    I've joined your rss feed and look forward to seeing more of your
    excellent post. Also, I have shared your site on my social
    networks!

  44. Dears ,

    Kindly advice how long I have to wait for the passport to be issued . I am in Dubai and want to apply for a new passport, the current passport will expire in September 2017 . I will be in Pretoria this coming July to get a new passport, I hope 2 weeks will be enough for the process

    1. Hi Sibusiso, I wish I could tell you for certain how long it would take but unfortunately it is not within my control. However, 2 weeks should be enough. If you have a Standard Bank account, apply online. If not, I recommend going to Maponya Mall in Soweto. I have heard that their turnaround time is good.

  45. Hi Sara
    Some advice pease...
    I am resident in the UK at present and found my RSA passport was expiring 20/11/2016 so I tried to contact the consulate in London... what a pain... they told me to ring different numbers until I got back to the original number I had dialled... I gave up.

    I am coming back to South Africa in July for a visit and was wondering if I should try and apply while I am there... then I came across your very very professional blog... Thanx for that...

    Any advice on re-applying for my passport. Not sure that it would be of any use but always good to have a joker in your back pocket as far as I.D. is concerned.

    I do not have any bank accounts in RSA as I closed them all when I left in 2013...

    Any advice would be appreciated and continue to produce your very informative and professional blog.

    Thanx
    John

    1. HI John, If you do not have any South African bank accounts , you will need to visit Home Affairs. I would recommend the one in Maponya Mall as I know several people who have been there and received their passports very quickly.

  46. What is the use,advertising that you may apply online,we are here in the western cape and do not have bank accounts at standard bank.So in other words advertise that it can be done at theses banks ,but you must have a bank account with the particular bank or else stand in the que at home affairs. I have tried to apply online but it will not allow me to submit application, it shows that the applicants details are incorrect which is not true. Then i receive an email stating that the application this is a final application reminder, with contact details. I have tried the number 0800601190 all i get is that the number is unobtainable not once but the whole morning.

    1. Hi Cecily , I do understand your frustrations. I suggest that you email the Dept of Home Affairs on [email protected] . I have received responses from them on this email address. Alternatively, you can tweet them on Twitter.

  47. Im 20 and a Standard bank user. My passport has expired a few years ago and I have lost it by now. I only have my ID. Can I still renew my passport even though I know the cost may be double?

  48. I applied online for the passport of my kids. Now I want to make payment but I can not find dept of home affairs as a beneficiary. I bank with standard bank. How do I make payment then?

    1. Hi Nozi , you don't add them as a normal beneficiary. You go to the "My Bills" option under "Payments" and you will find the Department of Home Affairs as a beneficiary. This is after you have initiated the payment instruction on the DHA website. Hope this helps.

  49. Hiya Sara,

    Figured you might know faster than home affairs would. I am a Standard Bank customer based in the Western Cape and time for my wife and daughter's (she's aged 7) passport renewal has come up. I realise I can apply for my daughter as a minor, but I'm guessing my wife would need an account with Standard bank (as then she could apply for herself and my daughter?)

    Otherwise, since my wife is an ABSA customer, do you know of any ABSA branches in the Western Cape that are part of the e-application program? I can't find a list of branches published on the DHA site.

    Thanks!
    Aidz

    1. Hi Aidz , To the best of my knowledge, your wife has to be a Standard Bank customer in order to apply online for herself and your daughter, as there aren't any ABSA branches in WC that have Home Affair offices. All the best, Sara

      1. Aaaah ok. Cool thanks. I think we'll do the application online and just go to the nearest home affairs smart office for the biometric stuff. At least then it's just that to deal with 😉 Thanks for the response!

  50. I successfully applied online today for my passport and my appointment at Standard Bank Killarney is in a few days time. I tried to do same for my daughter who is 17 yrs old. According to Home Affairs she is treated as an adult and not as a minor therefore I had to create her own profile. She does not have a Standard Bank acc and I cannot pay for her via my bank acc. How do I go about to pay for her so that she can also apply for her passport?

    1. Hi Gerda. Oh dear, that is a bit of a problem. My kids are minors so I was able to pay for them from my account. I would advise you to call the Home Affairs Helpline on 0800601190 and ask them as they would be able to advise you best. Good luck

  51. Hi there. is there a service for passport renew over seas. I'm in the Philippines, but travel allot and how long does it take to get a new Passport/

      1. Dear Sara,

        Hope that you are well! For some odd reason I only got a email now with your reply. Thank you for the information, it's appreciated. I will contact them tomorrow.

        [email protected] is my email address if you have any further information.

        Thanking you for your time on this matter.

        Regards

        Stephen

  52. afternoon can i apply a passport for a baby of 8 months on online and do i need to upload the copy of her birth certificate.

    Thank you

    1. You should be able to apply for your baby online. With my kids I wasn't asked for birth certificates, just the parents' ID documents. I did have to enter the children's ID numbers though - which is on the birth certificate.

      1. Hi Sara, Im unable to upload the barcoded confirmation from the website, although I have receive the ebooking confirmation. Do you think that this is sufficient? Home affairs telephone number and email not responding. Am travelling from the UK so am a bit anxious!

        xx

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