Once you receive your Permanent Residence certificate, it is time to apply for your South African green ID Book.

South African ID Book – Is it really necessary?

Yes, as it is your electronic key to live in South Africa. Most institutions require your ID book number, such as banks, SARS, the Deeds Office, the Company Registrar, the Post Office, Telkom and cell phone providers but it is also useful for any online registrations and even sports events. When you enter SA at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport, the immigration officials tend to ask for your ID book as well.

In order to apply for your green ID Book, you need to go to your nearest Home Affairs office armed with the original and a certified copy of each of the following documents:

  • Your PR certificate as well as the second copy your received stamped with “For ID Verification purpose”
  • Your Birth Certificate (in English)
  • Your Marriage Certificate (in English) but only if you are married to a SA citizen or PR holder with a SA ID number
  • Your Passport
  • 2 identical passport photos
  • There is no fee for your first application.

The officials will take you application in, take your finger prints and issue you with a receipt. You will be kept updated via SMS on progress of your application, which takes between 3 and 9 months. Single persons (unmarried) go much quicker, as Home Affairs does not need to connect your spouse and children.

Foreign born residents in South Africa do not receive a Smart ID yet (credit card), just the old style green bar-coded ID Book.

About 4-6 weeks after submitting your application, it is worthwhile to visit your Home Affairs office again and to enquire if your ID number has already been allocated. The official will write it onto your submission receipt. From now on you can call the Customer Service Center of Home Affairs under 0800 60 11 90 and enquire about the progress ad status of your ID Book.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for advice regarding immigration & visa, setting up business, property transfer & investment.

by Dirk Meissner