Home Affairs

One of the joys of being a South African is collecting stamps in your passport as you travel the world. As well as collecting stamps, if one is living in the UK then your passport collects large hologram embossed Schengen visas. There are a number of ways to collect these but both involve waiting in queues at the various embassies and consulates of the countries you wish to travel to. The only difference is that you could choose to stand there yourself or pay someone to stand in your place. There are a lot of companies offering this type of service and a fantastic one it is too. I am forever indebted to Impi Visa Services for giving me premature grey hairs and letting me go on honeymoon. There is, however, a downside to collecting stamps and visas like this. Your passport fills up and then with no clear pages remaining you are forever marooned on Mud Island until a new passport is acquired. And that can take a long time.

My passport used its last clear page to hold a 10-year multiple entry visa to the USA so I do have a get out of jail card should I ever wish to supersize myself. But it also means I can’t travel to Europe or other exotic destinations that require a clear page in the passport. This is what I have to do to get a new passport:

  • Complete Form BI-73 including sections A, D and E. Use black ink. Sign it. Not too small and not to big but just right.
  • Section B must be completed by a Commissioner of Oaths or Police Office if submitted by post.
  • The left Thumbprint must also be taken in the bottom right hand corner by a Police Officer if submitting by post.
  • Complete Form BI-9 fully. After sending a stamped SAE to: The Consul, South African High Commission, Home Affairs Consular Section, 15 Whitehall, SW1A 2DD.

  • The purpose of this form is for record purposes only. It is used for the taking of your fingerprints and the subsequent comparison to confirm your identity. It is therefore not used to apply for a “First issue for an identity card” as indicated on the top of the form. Those applicants submitting an application by post must ensure that the form is accompanied by the “Annexure to BI-9” form.
  • The “Annexure to BI-9” must be signed and stamped by a Police Officer taking your fingerprints (not palm prints).
  • Fingerprints should clearly show the definition of each fingerprint.
  • It is advisable to wash your hands prior to taking fingerprints.
  • Do not use any other police form. Use the BI-9 form only.
  • Fingerprints are taken free of charge if application(s) are lodged in person at the South African High Commission.
  • The front page of the form BI-9 must be fully completed and signed by the applicant.
  • Form BI-529 to be fully completed.
  • All South African Citizens who are abroad at the time of lodging a passport application form must fully complete this form. The purpose of the form is to confirm that as a South African Citizen you have not lost your Citizenship. If certain questions are not applicable then mark as N/A. If certain questions are not known, for example, your mothers Identity number, then mark it as “do not know. Questions 9, 10, 11 of paragraph A are of particular importance.
  • Your current South African passport.
  • If you are submitting your application by post, please submit a certified copy of your passport. If however you are submitting in person, then provide your original passport and copies of your passport to the counter official.
  • If your current passport has been lost or stolen we require a police report and CMO 217 fully completed and signed by the Commissioner of Oath. If your current passport is damaged, please bring what is left of your damaged passport.
  • If you are changing to married name, we require a certified copy of the passport in your maiden name.
  • To expedite your application, submit your passport with two certified photocopies of the bio data page (That is the page with all your personal details) and two certified photocopies of your residence status in the United Kingdom.
  • Certified copies of your South African Identity Document. If you do not hold a Identity Document, then a certified copy of your Birth Certificate. If you are married, then a certified copy of your Marriage Certificate.
  • Current legislative changes stipulates that female married applicants may elect to use their surname, their maiden surname or a combination of both current married surname and maiden surname. This request should be put in writing when applying for a passport.
  • If you are divorced,a certified copy of your Divorce Decree.
  • A letter from the British Home Office confirming that you have not acquired British Citizenship. The letter should not be more than four- (4) months old. The purpose of this letter is to confirm/verify that you have not acquired UK Citizenship. This letter will only be requested if you have been resident in the country for 5 years or longer or 3 years if you are married to a British Citizen. Clients can obtain this letter from: The British Nationality Division, 3rd Floor, India Building, Water Street, Liverpool, L2 OQN. Applicants may submit their application in the interim while waiting for the British Home Office letter (do they know something we don’t?).
  • If clients are submitting their application by post, then a self-addressed stamped special delivery envelope must be provided for the return of face-value documents. Please do not send any original documents if you are submitting the application by post.

So, do all that and pay your money and wait 4 months and then you’ll have a new passport full of crisp, empty pages to start filling.

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