At times, you might need to obtain the vault copy of your legal documents, such as birth certificates, from the South African Department of Home Affairs. On this page, we will explain the importance of these documents, why they are needed, and how our document assistance services can help you obtain vault copies.
What exactly is a vault copy?
When a person is born, the birth is registered with the Department of Home Affairs and the paperwork is sent to the Head Office of the DHA, located in Pretoria. All citizens of South Africa have vault copies of their birth certificates, which are stored in the “vault”. As the name implies, a vault copy is an authentic copy of the original birth registration form. The “vault” is merely the name for the archives where these documents are stored. One can have vault copies for a number of documents, but usually only birth or marriage certificates are required by South African citizens.
Who needs a vault copy of their birth certificates?
Since vault copies contain essential information, they might be requested by foreign passport and visa issuing authorities, in addition to the unabridged birth certificate for travel or immigration purposes. Vault copies are used as protective measures against fraud as it is believed that the computer-generated South African unabridged birth certificates are vulnerable to forgery. In order to prove one’s lineage, you will often need to provide a vault copy of your birth certificate.
You can learn more about the importance of vault copies here.
Unfortunately, obtaining these vault copies is not simple and can take many months, if ever. This is due to the fact that the archives are all quite messy and a search can take very long.
What information is contained in a vault copy at Home Affairs?
When taking the example of a birth certificate into account, when a birth is registered, a vault copy thereof is written by hand and contains the following information:
• Name and surname of the child
• Date of birth
• Place of birth
• Marital status of the biological parents
• Names and surnames of both biological parents
• Birthplace of both biological parents
How long does it take to obtain a vault copy from Home Affairs?
Locating the original file to make a copy of the birth registration form can be a lengthy process. When applying for these documents on your own, it can take a few months to obtain vault copies, and in rare cases, even years. The process is further delayed by the fact that courier bags need to be filled up before they are dispatched to various branches of Home Affairs.
How our services can help you obtain your vault copies
Here at Apostil.co.za, our team of document experts can help you obtain your vault copies in a matter of weeks. We are a document assistance service that specialises in helping our clients apply for and obtain their legal, personal and official documents, hassle-free. Explore our range of pricing and options today to find a solution that meets your needs.
In order to help you obtain your vault copies, you will need to send us the following:
• Your ID document, scanned in a clear PDF format
• A completed application form, completed with black ink, scanned in clear PDF format (find them on this page: Civic certificates (Birth, marriage, divorce, death certificates)
• If possible, copies of both your parents’ ID documents, scanned in clear PDF format
There are also vault copies of marriage certificates, which you can find out more about here: Vault Copy Marriage Certificate.