According to Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, South Africa’s borders remain closed for most travellers, and for the time being the department of home affairs will not be accepting applications for new passports.
South Africans who are abroad and need to return to SA can apply for emergency passports.
The Department, in partnership with the banks which participate in the online system for smart ID card and passport applications has opened for collections for clients who had applied for these documents before the lockdown. This service will only be provided on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during the banks’ operating hours.
People who had applied for these documents before 26 March 2020, which is the lockdown’s starting date, may collect their smart ID cards and/or passports from their selected bank branches.
Bank branches that will be re-opening for collection of smart ID cards and passports, are the following:
The eHomeAffairs portal remains deactivated as new applications are still not accepted in the current level of the lockdown.
There is an expectation that passports that have expired, or will expire soon, will have their expiry dates extended, said Motsoaledi, as has been done with the likes of driver’s licences. But that is simply not possible, he said.
“You can not extend a passport… you will never enter any country,” said Motsoaledi.
South Africans abroad will be issued with temporary, one-way passports, he said, so they can get home, but with embassies closed they can not apply for anything other than such emergency documents.
“I want this issue to be understood very clearly: we can not as some people have asked extend a passport through a stamp or whatever, passports are never extended.”
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