South African citizens that served in the military might often have to supply copies of their SANDF Discharge Certificate for official purposes such as immigration. These certificates are often also referred to as SADF certificates. They can take quite a while to obtain depending on how easily retrievable your records are from the Defence Archives.SANDF logo

Similarly, if you never had to do military service, because, since the Defence Second Amendment Act of 1993, no South African has to, you may require proof that you have no obligation to the South African military.

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF; sometimes just SADF) issues these certificates or letters, usually from their Human Resources Department.

What is the SANDF Discharge Certificate?

SADF or SANDF discharge certificates are issued when service members come to the end of their active duty within the South African Army, Air Force, or Navy. These certificates contain information generally required to verify military service for certain benefits, retirement, employment, and veteran program enrolment.

In short, it is a letter confirming that you are no longer affiliated with the military and that your service ended, and that you have no further obligation to the SANDF. Details on the certificate may or can include:

  • Date and place of entry into active duty
  • Home address at the time of entry
  • Date and place of release from active duty
  • Last duty assignment and rank
  • Military specialty
  • Military education
  • Decorations, medals, badges, citations, and awards

SANDF Military Exemption Letter

How do I apply for a copy of my SADF Discharge Certificate?

You first need a copy of your military service certificate, issued by the SANDF Documentation Centre. One then submits details of your force number, identity number, and full name together with a copy of your ID to obtain a copy of your military service certificate.

You should also have the following information on hand:

  • Date your service began
  • Date of discharge
  • Details of the regiment and unit you served
  • Name and address of next-of-kin when you joined the military

How long does it take to get a copy of my SANDF/SADF Discharge Certificate?

It can take anywhere between two and three months to obtain your SANDF Discharge Certificate / Exemption Letter if you tackle the process on your own. When using the help of document experts, like, the timeline is significantly shorter, almost always between two and three weeks. If your service was very short or ended very long ago, it can also take longer to issue the certificate. Any additional information pertaining to your service will help speed up the process.

What if I was exempted from military service?

In the case that someone was given an exemption to military service, or simply qualified being one of those who chose not enter the army after the new laws in 1993, a Military Exemption Letter can be issued. This letter is practically the same as the SANDF Discharge Certificate. They are almost exactly the same document.

The letter is normally issued by the Human Resources Department of the SANDF and states that “(i)n terms of the Defence Second Amendment Act, 1993, no citizen of the Republic of South Africa is obliged to do military service.”

Those who in any way entered into military service, must state this to receive the aforementioned SANDF/SADF Discharge Certificate.

Can I legalise my SANDF Discharge certificate for use abroad?

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) cannot apostille your SADF Discharge Certificate.  In the majority of cases, you need a discharge letter when you apply to migrate (to Australia, for example), and typically countries do not require apostilles for these certificates. If, however, you need an apostille, a Notary public can notarise the SANDF Discharge Letter, after which the High Court where the notary is registered, can apostille the notary’s stamp and signature (not the SANDF’s).

How can help specialises in helping South African citizens obtain their vital documents. We can help you apply for and receive your SADF Discharge Certificate in record time. Usually, you will often only need to supply a copy of your ID or passport to us, and sometimes need more information as above.

Since we do everything on your behalf, remotely, you never have to deal with queues. We also aim to obtain your documents in record time, eliminating costly and frustrating delays. Feel free to refer to our pricing or get in touch with us to get the process started as soon as possible!