Answer to a question from a reader

How can I apply for the late registration of a birth certificate?

The short answer

It depends during which stage of lockdown the baby was born.

The whole question

How do you go about applying for the late registration of a birth certificate, either with or without both parents involved? 

The long answer

First, if the baby was born during level 5 of the lockdown when births could not be registered, the parents will not have to provide the additional documents that are required for late registration of birth. Home Affairs spokesman Siya Qoza said, “Parents whose children were born from February 26, 2020 are allowed to register their children without the requirements of additional documents. We are not penalising parents whose children were born during the lockdown.”

Under Level 3 lockdown, a person had to make an appointment with Home Affairs to apply for late registration of birth. As no new announcement has been made by Home Affairs since Level 2 started, it is likely that you still have to make an appointment.

All birth registration is regulated by the Births and Deaths Registration Act of 1992. Late birth registration is split into 3 categories:

1. After 30 days but before 1 year.

2. After 1 year but before 15 years.

3. After 15 years.


1.  After 30 days but before 1 year, you will need to present the following documents to Home Affairs:

  • A proof of birth, completed by a medical practitioner who attended the birth and examined the mother after the birth. (DHA 24/PB);

  • An affidavit giving reasons for late registration of birth (DHA 288/A);

  • Biometrics (palm, foot or fingerprint) of the child to be registered;

  • Fingerprints of parents;

  • Certified copies of the parents’ ID documents (and where one or both parents are not South African, certified copies of valid passports, visas or asylum documents);

  • If parents are married, a marriage certificate;

  • If a parent has died, a death certificate;

  • Proof of payment of an application fee (this amount changes so you would need to check with Home Affairs what the fee is now).

Home Affairs may decide that the parents must be interviewed by a panel, and if one of the parents is not South African and not married, they may ask for a DNA test.

2.  After 1 year but before 15 years:

  • A completed Form B1-24/1, together with written reasons why the birth wasn’t notified, and as many as possible of the following documents to confirm the child’s identity;

  • A certificate from the hospital or maternity home where the child was born. The certificate must be signed by the person in charge, and contain the institution's official stamp;

  • Official confirmation of the child's personal details, extracted from the school register of the first school attended by the child. The confirmation must be on the school's official letterhead, be signed by the principal, and contain the school's official stamp;

  • The child's baptismal certificate;

  • Sworn affidavits by the parents;

  • A clinic card;

  • School reports.

3. After 15 years:

If you're older than 15 and haven't been registered, your birth registration application must accompany your application for an ID (Form BI-9). You’ll need:

  • Application for an ID (Form B1-9);

  • Completed Forms DHA-24, DHA-24/A x 2 and DHA-288 for the registration of birth;

  • Supporting documentation, as well as written reasons why the birth was not registered within 30 days of birth; and

  • You must be a South African citizen or permanent residence permit holder, with a valid South African ID.

Home Affairs says that both parents must do the notification of birth. But in 2018 in the Naki case, the Eastern Cape High Court ruled that if one parent did not have the required legal documents to be in South Africa, the Births and Deaths Registration Act should be read to mean that both parents’ documents must be presented “where possible.” This means that even if you can’t produce all these documents and one parent cannot be there, your application must still be accepted and considered by Home Affairs.

One of the problems with Home Affairs is that officials are not always aware of court rulings and may not always comply with them. If you have difficulties dealing with Home Affairs, the following organisations have had a lot of experience with them and may be able to assist you: 

Answered on June 10, 2022, 4:02 p.m.

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