courier South African documents

You can safely courier South African documents, but not post them!

One of the most frequently asked questions and fears from clients is this: “Can I safely courier South African documents and will they get lost?” Of course, this is an understandable fear – losing these documents would be very detrimental and when one thinks of courier companies, even a small mistake could cause the loss of your package.

Also, courier tend to be more expensive and one considers this in the light of already-existing expenses with immigration agents or lawyers, and an apostille or document firm such as ourselves.

But the truth is that, after sending thousands (1,000s!) of documents from our offices, we have never seen one get lost. Once or twice it has been delayed, or delivered to an address next door (and handed over to the owner later), but other than that, the process has been perfectly safe. There is only one thing to remember, though.

Don’t post, only courier!

The only real focus when you courier South African documents should be exactly that – COURIER them! We only notice issues arising when people send documents by post across borders, for a few reasons:

  • The documents take longer to arrive, both from the host country and in South Africa
  • South Africa’s postal system is a horrible mess and documents take weeks, months, or get lost
  • Delivery means only delivery to a post office and not to a person or company
  • Fetching the document requires travel and waiting in a queue
  • If the sender has given a value to the documents in the package, customs duty will be charged

For the above reasons, we expressly ask all clients to NEVER POST DOCUMENTS, yet unfortunately this still occurs, with gravely negative effects for both us and the client, as mentioned in the points above.

DHL tracking number for couriering South African documents

A DHL tracking page for couriering South African documents.

Which courier companies can one use?

Courier companies are those that deliver all the way to a door, into a person’s hand. The tracking number (called a waybill number) will show up online as delivered and include the person’s name on the tracking page (see image). We have used DHL mostly and never once had any issues, even to very remote countries and islands on all sides of the globe. Within South Africa, we usually use PostNet’s courier service or THE COURIER GUY, however there are a few couriers in SA worth using.

Sending documents with EMS, NZ Post, Royal Mail, U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and other postal companies, even if choosing the courier option, does NOT guarantee that the document will never enter South Africa’s postal system. You should NOT use these services to send or courier South African documents. EMS is especially slow and does not actually courier once it arrives in South Africa.

Couriering is safe – go ahead and use it!

To courier South African documents is easy, simply go to a courier company’s website and fill in the form to alert them to collect from you, or visit their physical store to send your documents safely. The cost will be well worth it as you can rest assured that your documentation will arrive quickly and effortlessly.

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