Getting a birth certificate for your child if you’re a foreigner in South Africa

Many a foreign parent living legally in SA either do not know the procedure of getting a birth certificate for their child born here in SA or never bother to even try because going to home affairs offices intimidates them. What they usually resort to is paying someone in their country of birth a bribe to organise them a birth certificate. This is sad because getting a birth certificate when you have a permit or asylum seekers paper is not only relatively easy but is also free.

The first step is registering for at your local clinic as soon as you find out you’re pregnant. There you will be given a clinic card and also go for regular check ups that are provided free of charge. The next step is to choose your baby’s name before the child is born. Gone are the days where a child would stay for days without a name while parents decide. Nowadays clinic administration officials want to write the name on a clinic card as soon as the baby is born and expect you to come for a three day follow up visit to the clinic with that clinic card they would have given you.

The clinic administration officials also give you a birth record that’s on a home affairs letter head. Make sure the birth record is correctly and fully completed. I had to go back to the clinic for them to write the sex of my child as female since they had skipped that in the first place. That birth record is the one you take to your nearest home affairs office to get the birth certificate. Most big hospitals like Bara and Tembisa now have home affairs offices within them so you cab get your child a birth certificate the same day that they’re born or the second day.

Getting the birth certificate itself is an easy process of completing a form that the home affairs official will give you. A copy of your passport together with a copy of your permit or asylum is attached to the birth record and the form you fill in. Both parents are needed to sign the form if the couple is married, if not married only the mother signs and the child is allowed to take the mother’s surname.

When the birth certificate is issued it is a hand written one that’s signed by a senior home affairs official on behalf of the director general of home affairs. That’s the birth certificate you take to your embassy to apply for your country’s birth certificate. The SA home affairs by the way notifies your country’s embassy of the birth of your child so by the time you get to your embassy they’re expecting you.

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