Kids Born Overseas? What You Need to Know About Registration in South Africa

The are a number of reasons why your child or children might have been born overseas and if you are the patriotic type and want to make South Africa your home you need to make sure that your kids are registered. You will have to follow the legal procedures pertaining to your child’s claim for citizenship and there are various situations to consider. Continue reading below and see which one of the circumstances apply to your situation and get advise on how you should move forward in those cases.

South African Citizen Parents

If both parents are South African citizens, your children won’t possess a foreign passport if they were born abroad. In this case, parents need to register the birth of their child at the South African authorities within that foreign country. This will allow them to obtain a passport for travel, after which you can continue the South African registration process.

Parents With Two Passports

Your child qualifies for dual citizenship if both parents hold two passports. The birth of the child could be registered in the foreign country as well as South Africa. If the child in question holds two passports they should leave the foreign country with that respective passport and enter South Africa with their SA passport.

If your child departed South Africa without being registered, they should return with their alternative passport and apply for a visitors visa for the interim.

Restrictions if the Child Isn’t Registered

Parents who don’t wish to register their children as South African citizens must be aware of the limitations they might face. Should the family want to visit or re-enter South Africa they must hold the valid visa for the child in question.

Illegal Foreigner Status

Another reason why parents might not record their child’s birth is because of their own status. If parents are in the country illegally, they don’t take responsibility for their offspring’s status out of fear of being outed. Because of this, the child is without legality, identity, and nationality within the residing country.

The Registration Process

The process of registering a birth should be applied for in South Africa at the Department of Home Affairs. Visit their website for information about supporting documents to take with on the day of application. Forms to be completed:

  • Application for Birth Certificate
  • Registration of Birth. Note that this form can only be collected at Home Affairs and no copies will be approved.
  • Determination of Citizenship Status to be filled out twice. Once in the name of the child, and also by the South African parent(s).
  • South African Identity Document if the child is 15 ½ years or older. No online application process.
  • Application for South African Passport

The process may take some time

Keep in mind that this process can take anything from 6 to 12 months. Additionally, the child’s legality should be secured, and for that to happen a relative’s permit can be applied for, should one of both parents be South African citizens.

When the application is finalized the applicant will receive an abridged birth certificate. Now they can start the process of registering for a passport as well as a full birth certificate.

Speak to a professional

Contact Le Roux Attorneys, South African Visa specialists about your visa application. Start by selecting one of the enquiry options below

Posted in blog, Legal Advice, Live In SA and tagged .


  1. Please inform me of the process to enable a child born outside of south Africa. Where the father has a South African passport ( born & raised in SA) and the mother has a Philippian passport. They are not married but are engaged to be married. They both work away from home. Also what travel documents’ are required for entrance into SA. To my knowledge the Philippines don’t issue an unabridged birth certificate, their birth certificates’ have the parents names but no birth date. Your assistance will be greatly appreciated.

  2. Very useful information. Would like to know in addition to the above:
    once an application has been made for a birth certificate, considering that it can take up to a year for it to be processed, is it possible to travel with the child back to South Africa in the case of an emergency? While still waiting for the birth certificate and passport.
    Thank you

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