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My SA passport has expired

It is important to apply for your new passport well in advance, at least a year before the expiry date.
Germany has a “Passpflicht” law.

(1) Foreigners may enter or stay in the federal territory only if they possess a recognised and valid passport or passport substitute unless they are exempt from the passport requirement by virtue of a statutory instrument.
For the purpose of residence in the federal territory, possession of a substitute identity document also suffices in order to meet the passport requirement (section 48 (2) “To meet the obligation to have and present identification papers, it is sufficient for a foreigner who neither possesses a passport or passport substitute nor can reasonably be expected to obtain one to carry the certificate confirming a residence title or the suspension of deportation, if this document contains the foreigner’s personal details and a photograph and is marked to indicate that it is a substitute identity document.”

(2) In justified individual cases, the Federal Ministry of the Interior or the body designated by it may permit exemptions from the passport requirement for the purpose of crossing the border before the foreigner enters the federal territory, and for a subsequent stay of up to six months.

A valid passport is a prerequisite for issuing and extending a residence permit, Section 5 Paragraph 1 No. 4 and Section 8 Paragraph 1 Residence Act. The passport requirement in accordance with Section 3 of the Residence Act is, ahead of the obligation to have a residence permit, one of the most fundamental obligations in immigration law.

Disclaimer:
The information on this page is not to be seen as legal advice. We are not immigration agents and can only present information that is available from official resources. 

What to do if your passport expired?

Currently, it can take a long time to get an appointment to apply for a new passport at the South African embassy or consulate. After application, it can take between 6 – 12 months to get your new passport.

Implications of an expired passport:

  • You cannot travel outside Germany without a valid passport or emegency travel certificate, see next point
  • You can apply for an emergency travel certificate that allows you a one-way travel back to SA, where you can apply for a new passport. 
  • Your German residence card is linked to your passport and may become invalid.  Without a valid residence card or Fiktionsbescheinigung, you cannot travel back to Germany. See Section 4 (Residence title requirement) of the Residence Act
  • If the foreigner no longer has a valid passport, the settlement permit can be revoked (§ 52 Abs. 1 Satz 1 Nr. 1 AufenthG).
  • Non-possession of a valid passport for foreigners is punishable by a fine (§§ 95 Abs. 1 Nr. 1 , 98 AufenthG).
You have two options to get a new passport.
  1.  Request an appointment at the South African Embassy or Consulate, and apply for your passport in Germany
  2. Apply for an emergency travel document from the South African Embassy and travel to South Africa to apply for a new passport
 

Implications on your residence status (Aufenthaltserlaubnis )

Residence Title vs Residence Card

  • The validity of your residence TITLE (Aufenthaltserlaubnis). This can be valid longer than the validity of your passport. A temporary residence title has a valid to date. A permanent residence title is valid for as long as you fulfill the requirements for example staying in Germany for longer than 6 months in a 12 month period.
  • The validity of your electronic residence CARD (eAT) will never be longer than the validity of your passport. The card is linked to your passport and the CARD will be invalid if your passport expires.  The card is proof of your Residence Title

Temporary Residence Title

Befristete Aufenthaltserlaubnis
Granted for a limited time and a specific purpose and as a rule will not be valid for longer than your passport expiry date.
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Permanent Residence Title

Nierderlassungserlaubnis
The validity of your electronic residence card (eAT) is linked to your passport. Your residence title is still valid, only your card expired. 
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Steps to take

  •  The Ausländerbehörde should be your first point of contact!! Keep them informed of your challenges. They are there to assist you. You should visit them in person and prove that you are in the process of applying for a new passport. 
  • Even if you do not have an new valid passport yet, you can apply for Temporary proof of German Residence (Fiktionsbescheinigung), and when you receive your new passport, you can apply for the extension of your residence permit again. The issuance of a Fiktionsbescheinigung will depend on your type of residence title, and whether you fulfil the requirements.
  • If you need to apply for an extension of your residence title, do so in good time. 
  • Temporary Residence Title – even if your passport and your residence permit have expired, your stay in combination with the expired documents and the valid Fiktionsbescheinigung is legal and therefore sufficient until you receive the new residence permit. Therefore it is so important to contact the Ausländerbehorde in good time.
  • Permanent Residence Title – This stays valid as long as you fulfill the requirements. Your stay is still legal in combination with your expired passport and the permanent residence permit and is considered sufficient legitimation.  But do take note! If the foreigner no longer has a valid passport, the settlement permit can be revoked (§ 52 Abs. 1 Satz 1 Nr. 1 AufenthG). Again contact the Ausländerbehörde as soon as possible.
  • If you travel, for example back to SA to apply for a new passport, with a valid Fiktionsbescheinigung it is important that you also have your expired documents (passport, residence permit) with you.
Temp Aufenthalt

Temporary Residence

A Visa allows you to enter Germany, but your stay is limited to no more than 90 days in a 180-day cycle.If you want to

Permanent Residence

Permanent residence in Germany is called a Niederlassungserlaubnis and may be granted in the form of a Settlement permit or Permanent EC residence permit. Very important!!

Option 1 - Apply for your passport in Germany

Step 1 - Make an appointment

When you apply for your new South African passport in Germany, you have to apply at either the South African Embassy in Berlin or the Consulate in Munich, depending on where you live.
Please find the official information on the Consulate’s website

After submitting your application, the documents are sent to South Africa, and when your new passport is sent back to Germany you will get a notification that you can come collect your passport. Important! – The South African embassy or consulate cannot influence the processing time.

Applying for your passport in Germany

When you apply for your new South African passport in Germany, you have to apply at either the South African Embassy in Berlin or the Consulate in Munich, depending on where you live.  Official information can be found on the Consulate’s website. The Embassy has taken great care to document all the relevant information, that can be downloaded from their website.  After submitting your application, the documents are sent to South Africa for processing. The new passport

Step 2 - Visit the Ausländerbehörde if needed

If required, apply for Temporary proof of your German Residence Title (Fiktionsbescheinigung).
The Ausländerbehörde might ask for proof that you are in the process of applying for a new passport.

Relevant Gesetze §3, §4 and §13 AufenthG Art 5

Option 2 - Apply for your passport in South Africa

Step 1 - Get an emergency travel certificate

You can apply for an emergency passport (Travel certificate), and with this, you can travel to South Africa but cannot travel back to Germany.

  • South African citizens who have to travel urgently for reasons of death, sickness or other emergency / urgent matter e.g. loss or theft of passport while overseas, are entitled to an emergency passport (travel certificate), which is valid for a maximum period of nine (9) months,
  • The emergency travel certificate is for a single journey only, to return to the Republic of South Africa
  • An emergency passport (travel certificate) can only be issued to applicants who have 13-digit identity numbers and whose fingerprints have been previously classified on the National Population Register.

We also want to emphasize the following appeal from the consulate:

The embassy and consulate are overloaded with travel for “emergency” applications or enquiries that it becomes difficult to class exactly which cases are an emergency. On emergency travel, our appeal is that we are contacted will real cases of emergency so we can help. What has been happening is people writing to us about “emergencies” only to overload us and we end up dealing with cases under the guise of “emergency”. What this does is delay resolving real cases of emergency because we are suddenly flooded with “emergencies” as a way for people to travel. This becomes unfair in so far as attending to real cases of emergency is concerned.

Step 2 - Visit the Ausländerbehörde if needed

Make sure you have proof of your German residence. If your Residence card is still valid – “Re-entry to Germany is easy if your residence permit is still valid and you still have the old passport.”
If your residence
title is no longer valid, you must apply for a Fiktionsbescheinigung as soon as possible

Take your old and new passports and your residence permit with you on your trip.
Relevant Gesetze §3, §4 and §13 AufenthG Art 5″

Step 3 - Travel to South Africa

Travel to South Africa and apply for a new passport in South Africa. If you do not have a valid residence permit or Fiktionsbescheinigung, you will have to contact the German Embassy in South Africa and apply for a visa to travel to Germany.
You can book an appointment to apply for a new passport before travelling to South Africa.

Passport – Applying in South Africa

Applying for a new Adult Tourist passport in South Africa can be done online via the Department of Home Affairs E-Services. This service allows you to fill in the application form online and make an appointment for your biometrics.  Biometrics can be done at participating banks. You do not need to be a client of the selected bank.  You can collect your passport at the selected bank. The current turnaround time for an adult Tourist

Step 4 Apply for new residence card

When you are back in Germany, visit the Ausländerbehörde, and apply for a new Residence card linked to your new passport.
The Ausländerbehörde and Bürgeramt are not always connected, therefore it is advised to also update your details at the Bürgeramt.

Dual passports

Please be aware that it is illegal to enter and exit South Africa on another passport if you are still a South African citizen. You can be fined for doing this.

“In terms of the South African Citizenship Amendment Act of 2004, which came into effect on 15 September 2004, it is now an offence for a major (over 18 years of age) South African citizen to enter the Republic or depart making use of the passport of another country.
Furthermore, it is also now an offence for such a citizen, while in South Africa, to use his or her foreign citizenship or nationality to gain an advantage or avoid a responsibility or duty.
Essentially, the Amendment Act provides that an adult South African citizen, who has dual citizenship or nationality, can freely use his or her foreign passport outside South Africa. However, they must use their South African passport to depart from or enter South Africa.”

Children under 18

There is no requirement to enter and leave South Africa with your South African passport. See section 26B of the South African Citizen Act

Info on the web

  • General information about South African passports is available on the website of the Department of Home Affairs
  • Dual Passport rules from the South African Embassy in Germany
  • Residence Act Germany
  • BAMF Electronic Residence permit
  • Document form the Remscheid Ausländerbehörde, explaining what the implications are when you do not have a valid passport.

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The Embassy is in Berlin.Physical Address:Tiergartenstr. 18, 10785 Berlinberlin.consular@dirco.gov.zaTel.: +49-30-22073-0Fax: +49-30-22073-190Facebook page Consulate  in MunichPhysical Address:Sendlinger-Tor-Platz 5,80336 Munich,Germanymunich.consular@dirco.gov.za+49 89 2311630 from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. Currently the