Answer to a question from a reader

Can I apply for my newborn's birth certificate if I am still waiting for Home Affairs to verify my fingerprints?

The short answer

Probably not. You can ask Home Affairs if they can expedite your fingerprint verification.

The long answer

The Western Cape government website gives the following list of requirements for registering the birth of a child within 30 days:

  • complete and submit Form BI-24 at a Department of Home Affairs (DHA) office  

  • bring your ID along, and 

  • bring a copy of your marriage certificate (if you have one). 

  • Remember that your fingerprints will be used as part of the registration process. (my emphasis - see below)

  • The palm, foot or fingerprint of the child whose birth is being registered is required. Records will be archived.

  • Births reported after 30 days have additional requirements and you may need to pay a required fee for the application.

As your fingerprints will be used to register the child’s birth, I don’t think you will be able to register the birth until Home Affairs has verified your fingerprints. But you could contact Home Affairs and ask if there is some way that they can assist you to get your fingerprints verified quickly, so that you can register the birth within the required thirty days.

Home Affairs has a specific hotline for enquiries about birth certificates and also a dedicated email address:

The Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town points out that if you as the parent of a child do not have a valid document yourself, you will not be able to get a birth certificate for the child until you have a valid document yourself.

They explain that if you are unable to register the birth within the required 30 days of birth, you would have to apply for a “Late Registration of Birth”. To do this, you would have to go to the office of Home Affairs closest to where the child was born, and tell them that you need to apply for Late Registration of Birth (LRB) for the child. You would have to fill out form DHA 24/LRB, a form proving the child’s birth and an affidavit explaining why you are late. Home Affairs will go to the hospital to verify the birth and they will also ask you to attend an interview with them. As there is a large backlog of LRB applications, this could take up to a year. 

You can contact the Scalabrini Advocacy WhatsApp line on 078 260 3536 for more information and advice.

You can also contact the Black Sash for gives free paralegal advice:

Wishing you the best,

Answered on May 24, 2024, 1:06 p.m.

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