Skip to content

South Africans in Germany

Home » South African Passport

South African Passport

South African Passport and ID's

Make an  regular effort to check the validity of your South African passport.
Applying for your SA passport in Germany, and receiving it can take anything between 6 to 12 months. 
You can apply for a new passport while on holiday in South Africa, the current (2023) turnaround time is around 2 weeks

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)

Related content

SA Consular and Embassy services

Please note that the Embassy in Berlin is currently not reachable on their listed phone numbers, please use  0171 364 2679 Embassy Berlin Reach them

Ways of obtaining German citizenship

Please note: Although the information on this website has been prepared with the utmost care, we cannot accept any responsibility for inaccuracies contained herein. Always

Applying for official documents from the Department of Home Affairs in South Africa has become a whole lot easier. 

Apply online

You can apply for your Smart ID or Passport online via the eHomeAffairs website. You will still need to do your biometrics in person at a Home affairs office or participating bank. You can select the office or bank during your application. You do not have to be a customer of the selected bank.
 Read a personal account of applying for a passport online for more information and tips.

Booking an appointment for applying at a department office

If you do not want to submit your application online, you can now make an appointment at Home Affairs via the Branch Appointment Booking System (BABS).
Not all branches are participating in the online booking system. You can find a list of participating offices here

New branches at shopping malls

The department plans to open branches at selected shopping malls. This will, according to the Deputy minister, help alliviate the problem of queuing in the sun or rain. It is not clear if the full range will be available at these branches.
The following malls are on the list and the expectation is that they will be operational in September 2022:

  • Tygervalley mall (Cape Town)
  • Menlyn mall (Pretoria) – Pilot
  • Cresta Mall (Johannesburg)
  • Southgate Mall (Johannesburg)
  • The Pavillion (eThewkwini)

Resources on the web

Related content

Questions for the Consulate

The South African Consulate in Munich offers citizen services to South Africans living in Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria. The form below can be used to contact

Read More »

.One of the worst things that can happen to you while in a foreign country is having your passport stolen or lost. If your passport is stolen in Germany, immediately report the theft to the local police and obtain a police report. Germany has a “Passpflicht” law –  which means Foreigners may only enter or stay in the federal territory if they have a recognized and valid passport or passport substitute unless they are exempted from the passport requirement by statutory order.

For your stay in the federal territory, you must fulfil the passport requirement by possessing a substitute ID (Section 48 (2)). This means you must report a stolen or lost passport to the authorities and apply for a new one as soon as possible.

You have to apply for a new passport at either the South African Embassy in Berlin or the Consulate in Munich, depending on where you live.
See our page about applying in Germany.
Please also refer to the official information on the Consulate’s website.

Handy Tips

Losing your passport can be an incredibly stressful experience. Here are some handy things to keep in mind to help you locate your passport or to find information about your documentation easily.

Smart Tags

Consider adding a smart tag to your Passport holder. There are card/tile type smart tags on the market.

Smart Tags

Consider adding a smart tag to your Passport holder. There are card/tile type smart tags on the market.
More information

Electronic copies

Keep electronic copies of all your travel and identification documents. on a safe cloud space. You can also encrypt it for extra safety

Electronic copies

Keep electronic copies of all your travel and identification documents. on a safe cloud space. You can also encrypt it for extra safety

Information from DIRCO

According to the department of international relations and cooperation – DIRCO

If your passport is lost or stolen while you are traveling abroad, report the loss/theft immediately to the local law enforcement agency (e.g. police station). Take a copy of the police report to the nearest South African High Commission, Embassy, or Consulate-General where you will apply for an emergency travel document. There is a fee attached to the application for an emergency travel document.

Please note that all passport applications are forwarded to the Department of Home Affairs in South Africa for processing and issuance of new passports. The waiting period to receive a new passport abroad can be several months. In emergency situations, the South African Diplomatic or Consular Mission is in a position to issue you with an Emergency Travel Certificate, which will allow you only to travel directly back to South Africa.

To apply for a new Passport or an Emergency Travel Certificate, you must:

  1. Complete an application form.
  2. Be fingerprinted.
  3. Produce written evidence of your South African citizenship (e.g. a birth certificate, identity document, a certified copy of passport, driver’s license). Where available.
  4. Provide a copy of the police report. (in the event of loss or theft)
  5. Present two photographs.
  6. Pay the prescribed fee (as determined by the Department of Home Affairs).

I need to travel, what do I need to do?

These instructions relate only to those who need to travel urgently but whose passport is lost or stolen. If you have no urgent reason to travel, you must apply for your new passport in Germany. This can take a couple of months. 
For normal applications (Passport expiring)  see the following pages:

Step 1. – Report it 

  • Report the loss/theft immediately to the local law enforcement agency (e.g. police station).
  • Take a copy of the police report to the nearest South African High Commission, Embassy, or Consulate-General when you apply for an emergency travel document.

There is a fee attached to the application for an emergency travel document. See more on the DIRCO website

Step 2. – Apply for an emergency passport
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.

Step 3. Inform the Ausländerbehorde (not a requirement but a suggestion)

  • Visit the Ausländerbehorde, and inform them that your passport was stolen and that you have a new emergency passport that you will use to travel to South Africa to apply for a new passport. Remember your residence card is linked to your passport.
  • Confirm with them that re-entry to Germany is possible, and whether additional documentation will be required for re-entry

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

Step 4.

  • Travel to South Africa and apply for a new passport in South Africa, see more about applying for your passport in South Africa here.
  • Take your Emergency passport, a copy of the police report, your residence permit, and any other documentation the Ausländerbehorde listed as necessary with you on your trip.

Step 5. Travel back to Germany

  • You will have to show your German residence card in South Africa before you can board a plane. 
  • You might have additional checks at Passport control when arriving in Germany, so make sure all your paperwork is in order. Remember your residence card is linked to a specific passport. 
    I would take a copy of the police report (if passport was lost or stolen) with me. It might also be a good idea to take proof of your residence. 

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 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 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.”

You can read more about it here

Additional information

General information about South African passports is available on the website of the Department of Home Affairs:

Related content

SA Consular and Embassy services

Please note that the Embassy in Berlin is currently not reachable on their listed phone numbers, please use  0171 364 2679 Embassy Berlin Reach them

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 is then sent back to Germany. Once the passport arrives at the South African Embassy or Consulate it would be mailed to the applicant in the self-addressed envelope provided, or the applicants would be duly notified. In the case of passport applications, the applicant would be requested to return his or her current valid tourist passport for cancellation; cancelled passports would thereafter be returned to applicants together with their new passport.
Apply for your new passport at least a year before the expiry date. The embassy or consulate cannot influence the processing time. Take into account that appointment openings fill up very quickly and your application appointment can be a month or two after you sent an appointment request.

Booking your appointment

All South African citizens / applicants requiring civic services, and who reside in Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Hessen, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Niedersachsen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Rheinland-Pfalz, Saarland, Sachsen, Sachsen-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein, Thüringen shall approach the South African Embassy in Berlin: Tiergartenstr. 18, 10785 Berlin
All South African citizens/applicants requiring civic services, and who reside in Bayern and Baden-Wuerttemberg shall approach the South African Consulate-General in Munich: Sendlinger-Tor-Platz 5, 80336 Munich 

To schedule an appointment at the Munich Consulate, please send an email with the information below to: Munich.CivicApp@dirco.gov.za

To schedule an appointment at the Embassy in Berlin, please send an email with the information below to berlin.consular@dirco.gov.za 

Email Format

  1. Subject line of email: Appointment request
  2. Full name of the applicant
  3. Applicant’s date and place of birth
  4. South African 13-digit identity number, if applicable/available
  5. Contact details (Address + mobile phone number)
  6. Application type e.g. passport

You will get an email from the embassy to confirm receipt of your request for an appointment. They will then manually schedule an appointment and send you a second email with your appointment date. Check your email spam folder as the reply email from the embassy might end up there.

Checklist of what documentation you need

  • The most up-to-date information is always available on the Embassy website, here is the link for an Adult passport (over 16 years of age).

Please note that you need to take your current passport with you, as well as copies (See links above). Your current passport will be returned to you. The following statement is on the application checklist.

  • The applicant’s original passport must be submitted regardless of whether the current passport is full or expired or the applicant’s forename and/or surname has been amended – the original passport will be given back to the applicant
  • The applicant may continue to use her or his current passport during the processing of the new passport.

Child passports

  • The list for a child passport can be found here. Information about who should be present and sign the application is available on the  Department of Home Affairs website.  As a rule, the child and both parents should be in attendance when the application is submitted.  They don’t accept a power of attorney. More information on the link above.
  • You cannot renew a passport, only apply for a new one

Good to know

Important Info

Here are some important things to remember in order to make the process of applying for your passport as smooth and stress-free as possible.

01

Confirmation Email

As mentioned above you will get a confirmation email that your email to the Embassy or Consulate was received.

02

SPAM

Check your email spam folder for emails from the Embassy or Consulate

03

Have some patience

Allocating appointments is a manual process. You will get an email with your appointment date as soon as it is allocated to you.

04

thoughfullness

Inform the Embassy or Consulate if you cannot make your appointment so that they can allocate it to someone else. 
Inform them of any change of address.

05

Come prepared

Make sure you have all the documentation required for your passport application.

06

Plan ahead

Last but not least, apply for an appointment well in advance, do not wait until your passport has expired. South African citizens are entitled to hold two tourist passports concurrently. Persons wishing to apply for a second passport must provide a written motivation.

German residence permit linked to old passport

I found information with regards to traveling with a new passport, while your residence permit is linked to your old passport, on the Berlin website:
 
“Re-entry to Germany is easy if your residence permit is still valid and you still have the old passport.

Take your old and new passports and your residence permit with you on your trip.
However, we recommend that you enquire about the entry and exit conditions of the country you are visiting before you travel abroad (for example at the embassy of the country you are visiting)

Legal basis –  Gesetze §3, §4 and §13 AufenthG Art 5

References

Related content

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)

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.
Show More

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. 
Show More

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.

Related content

Questions and Answers

Here are some of the questions from our community  and the answers from the Consulate in Munich

SA Consular and Embassy services

Please note that the Embassy in Berlin is currently not reachable on their listed phone numbers, please use  0171 364 2679 Embassy Berlin Reach them