If you have recently discovered that your South African driver’s licence card is about to expire, you might be wondering how you can renew it from outside of the country. The bad news is that this is not possible. You can, however, apply for a driver’s licence verification letter.
Here’s what the South African government’s website mentions:
“It is currently not possible to apply for the Credit Card Format (CCF) driver’s licence from abroad. You must renew your licence at a driving licence testing centre in South Africa. Information on how to renew your driver’s licence is available under the Services section of this website in all South African official languages.”
You can only apply to renew your driver’s licence card at a testing center in South Africa. But the good news is that you might not need to. Because although the card has a set validity period of 5 years, your actual South African driver’s licence never expires.
Unless it is revoked by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), you can provide proof that you do have a South African driver’s licence with the help of a Driver’s Licence Verification letter, which can also be used to convert your SA licence into a foreign driver’s licence.
What is a Driver’s Licence Verification Letter?
This letter is a certificate issued by the RTMC. It starts with the National Traffic Information System verifying your South African driver’s licence. This certificate serves as proof that you have a valid driver’s licence in South Africa. It also states the date upon which you were first issued with a licence.
With this certificate in hand, you can apply to have your SA licence converted in the country where you currently reside.
Even if your licence card is still valid, the driver’s licence verification letter is generally your safest bet if you’re traveling abroad. Why? Well, because some car rental companies will allow you to rent a vehicle once you present this certificate, even if your licence card has expired.
We advise you to apply for your certificate before traveling abroad. Failure to do so can cause costly delays in waiting once you are outside of South Africa. Many countries also do not accept South African driver’s licences, in which case you must apply for an International Driver’s Licence with the Automobile Association, and to complete this process, you’ll need the driver’s licence verification letter.
How do I apply for the driver’s licence verification certificate?
If you go at the process alone, it can be complicated. Although the process might seem straightforward, it is often the waiting time involved that can be an unforeseen burden.
The first step involves lodging a request with the Road Traffic Management Corporation for a Verification Certificate of your South African driver’s licence. Next, the RTMC authorities investigate your licence and print a copy of it along with a Verification Certificate.
Apostil.co.za can assist you in obtaining your Verification Certificate in between 4 and 6 weeks of applying (excluding courier time). We can also have it apostilled in a further 6 weeks (see our Pricing page for up-to-date information). Or if you need to have it authenticated and attested, we can assist with that as well.
The importance of a driver’s licence verification letter
Although your South African driver’s licence never expires, your licence card expires every five years. In some countries, such as Spain, it is not possible to convert your SA licence. This means you must go through the entire examination process to obtain a Spanish driver’s licence.
However, that new licence will not indicate the cumulative years of driving experience you have. This is because it is only valid from the date it was first issued. For obvious reasons like insurance and car rental processes, this can be burdensome.
In order to ensure authorities add your cumulative years of driving experience to your new foreign licence card, submitting your driver’s licence verification letter from South Africa is imperative.
Apostil.co.za cannot help with driver’s licence renewals from abroad
Please note that Apostil.co.za does not and cannot assist with driver’s licence renewal applications or collections. You also cannot renew your driver’s licence card from outside of South Africa. The applicant must appear in person when applying and collecting licence cards.
We can, however, help you with a range of other document services, including driver’s licence verification letters. See our pricing and get in touch with us today to learn more about our fast and effective document assistance service!