Birth certificate with DHA stamp

An unabridged birth certificate with the DHA stamp.

In June 2015, the South African Department of Home Affairs made it mandatory for all passengers under the age of 18 to use an Unabridged Birth Certificate to travel in and out of the country.

The immigration law was passed to help combat child trafficking. There are numerous other reasons that South Africans need an unabridged birth certificate. Since unabridged birth certificates suffice for all uses, no more abridged birth certificates are being issued and abridged certificates cannot be apostilled any longer.

Learn everything about obtaining the certificste in South Africa, a crucial document for international travel, emigration, and legal identity verification. Since 2015, it’s been mandatory for all minors travelling in and out of the country to possess one.

This guide provides a detailed overview of what is, its importance, how to apply for it effortlessly, as well as how you can apply for one using our expert documentation services.


💡 Read more: Understand abridged vs unabridged birth certificates


What is an unabridged birth certificate?

Unabridged birth certificates are documents that contain information about a person’s two biological parents or legal guardians. Individuals under the age of 18 years need to provide unabridged birth certificates along with other legal documents (such as passports) when entering or to exit the Republic of South Africa. It was not until after April 2016 that the Department of Home Affairs officially ruled out old birth certificates. Since then, all birth certificates issued are Unabridged Birth Certificates and are referred to as a “Birth Certificate”.


Example South African unabridged birth certificate

Example South African unabridged birth certificate (click to enlarge)

They are mostly required for:

• International travel
• Emigration purposes
• Obtaining visas for certain countries


Who needs an unabridged birth certificate?

If you are a minor (under the age of 18), and plan to travel into or out of South Africa, you will need an unabridged birth certificate. You do not need it for domestic travel (for example between Johannesburg and Cape Town), but for international travel, you require this official document.

Often for visas, overseas marriages and foreign citizenship applications, a South African would require the certificate. The document usually does not lapse or expire, although some jurisdictions and countries do require them to be within a certain validity or age.


How to apply for an unabridged birth certificate?

Here at, we specialise in helping our customers obtain all their legal documents like these and Letters of No Impediment. An application for an unabridged birth certificate is always lodged with the South African Department of Home Affairs, although they can also be processed at South African embassies, missions, or consulates.


To apply you will need to send us:

Mandatory: Your ID document in a clear PDF scan
Possibly: Copies of the IDs of both your biological parents in clear PDF scans
Mandatory: A completed form – filled in with black ink and PDF scanned to us. Download the DHA Unabridged Birth Certificate DHA-154 Form for us to assist you.


Timeframe for obtaining

The Department of Home Affairs does not store all the information, used to issue the certificate, digitally on their system. This means that to collect the information and issue the certificate, they first need to obtain the original birth certificate (called a vault Birth Certificate) in their rather messy archives. Therefore, after application, there is a search for the vault copy and thereafter your Unabridged Birth Certificate is actually typed out and printed for stamping and signature. During the typing, mistakes occasionally creep in and you would then have to re-apply (we can have it re-issued correctly far more easily).

Depending on how easily accessible your details are in the archives, our process generally takes less than 3-6 months.

How we can help you with unabridged birth certificates?

If you need to obtain an unabridged birth certificate but do not wish to stand in queues at Home Affairs, we can take the stress out of the situation. is a documentation agency in South Africa, specialising in legalised and verified SA document assistance. Securing the certificate is a streamlined process with the right guidance. simplifies this essential step in your travel or legal documentation journey, ensuring you receive your certificate promptly and without the hassle of dealing with bureaucratic processes

We handle everything on your behalf, remotely. We make the process of getting your certificates and passport applications from Home Affairs South Africa processed much faster and hassle-free.

Get in touch with our team of experts today to learn more about our services and how we can help you obtain your legal documents.