Passport Application of a Minor Child and Consent – Department of Home Affairs

Passport Applications for a Minor Child - Parent Refusing Consent and to Co-operate

Passport Applications for minor children: What you need to know – Department of Home Affairs – Questions  and Answers

Should you require any advice on an application for a passport of a minor, where the co-parent refuses to consent or co-operate;  feel free to set up a consultation with us. You may call 0211110090 or click here to do it online.

advice-child-maintenance-child-custody-divorceLeaving South Africa, and visiting another country is something many people do on a daily basis. The reason, therefore, could either be for a holiday, business, a death in the family, and so on. Or it might be to relocate to another country to start a new life, either alone, or with your spouse or children. Whatever the reason is, you require a passport when leaving South Africa. For an adult, all you need to do is visit your nearest Department of Home Affairs Offices, with proof of identity, and the prescribed fees, and take your picture, fingerprints, etc. However, if you are a minor child, under the age of 18, it is not that simple. You would need to go with both your parents, and they need to provide their consent.

Parental Consent and Co-operation for a Passport Application of a Minor child

According to Section 18 (3) of the Children’s Act, both parent’s consent is required for a minor’s application for a passport. This is why we refer to consent and co-operation. Co-operation in the sense of going with to the Department of Home Affairs and giving the consent. Now, this can cause a problem should a parent not agree to the application for a passport. Therefore, one of two things could happen in practice should there be children involved. Either the parent would have to go overseas without the children, or not at all. Before we deal with such a scenario in detail, a bit later, let’s look at the law in a bit more detail.

A child’s Constitutional right to a Passport

Our Constitution, Act 108 of 1996 is the supreme law of the Country. All laws and practices should be in line with it. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to find out what it says. Section 21(4) of our Constitution states the following: “Every citizen has the right to a passport.” This is a fundamental right. The question would then be asked, if that is a fundamental right, why would you still require both parents’ consent as stated in the Children’s Act? A possible reason for the writers of the Children’s Act to state that you require both parents’ consent is to ensure that there is no undue removal of children from the Country. Both parents should, therefore, consent to the passport, which is a key to leaving South Africa.

What if a parent refuses to consent and cooperate for the application of a passport for a minor child?

Notwithstanding what section 18(3) of the Children’s Act states, section 18(5) of the same Act says that a Court can order otherwise. What this means is that if a parent does not want to consent for the Application of a passport, then the Court can Order that his or her consent is not required or dispensed with. For this, you would have to file an Application at the High Court and ask for such an Order. The powers the High Court would exercise is that of the upper guardian of all minor children within its jurisdiction. So, there it is, if consent is refused, you can approach a lawyer, who would make the necessary Application to the appropriate Court. Such an application can be expensive, especially if it is opposed. Therefore, it is best that it is avoided, by resolving issues with the other parent beforehand. But if the other parent is unreasonable, approach the Court.

What does the Department of Home Affairs say?

advice-child-maintenance-child-custody-divorceThe following are extracts from the Department of Home Affairs’ Website:

“You must also note that:

  • All documents required for passport applications should be completed in black ink
  • Husband, wife and children must all complete separate application forms.  Both parents and the children concerned must be present when applying for passports for children. See exceptions under Tourist Passports: persons under 16
  • Passports are issued in accordance with your names as they appear in the National Population Register (NPR) at the time of your application.  Any changes to your names must be applied for, finalised and recorded in the NPR before you submit your passport application”

Applying for Tourist  Passports: Persons under 16 years

These passports are issued to SA citizens who are 15 years or younger.  The passports are valid for 5 years and are not renewable.  Once the validity period of a passport expires you will have to submit a new application for a passport.

To apply for the passport you must submit the following documents:

  • A duly completed passport application Form DHA-73
    • If the parents are married, the passport application form must be signed by both parents and the child and both parents should be in attendance when the application is submitted.
    • Please note that the child and both parents should be in attendance when the application is submitted to the nearest Home Affairs office or SA Mission/Consulate. If a parent cannot be in attendance, a letter of consent and copy of ID will no longer be accepted.
    • If divorced and sole parental rights and responsibilities in regard to guardianship have not been granted to one parent, the child and both parents should be in attendance when the application is submitted and both must sign the application form.
    • If a parent is deceased, his or her death certificate and a copy thereof must accompany the application for the passport
    • In the case of minors born out of wedlock, the biological father ’s consent will also be required if any of the circumstances as outlined in section 21 of the Children’s Act, 1995, are applicable, the child and both parents should be in attendance when the application is submitted.
    • If the applicant is in the care of a guardian other than the parents, proof of the High Court’s appointment must accompany the application.
    • If a parent cannot be located or refuses to consent, or a dispute concerning consent arises, the matter should be referred to the Children’s Court. The Court’s decision must be submitted with the application for the passport.
  • The child’s South African birth certificate and a copy thereof
  • Two colour passport photographs that comply with the Passport and ID Photograph Specifications (NOT needed at smartcard offices as ID images are captured digitally)
  • Payment of the prescribed passport fee”

advice-child-maintenance-child-custody-divorceIn summary, on minor children application for a passport

Before moving onto question and answers on passport applications for minor children below. this article can be summarised as follows:

  • Every child has a right to a Passport;
  • Both parents must visit the Department of Home Affairs when applying for the minor child’s passport. The process is outlined above; and
  • If a parent refuses and does not want to co-operate for the passport application, then the High Court may be approached to dispense with that requirement.

Popular relocation countries for South Africans

If you wish to emigrate from South Africa, there are many places in this world to consider. Some would be more ideal than others. But it all depends on the reason for the relocation. Here is a list of the top countries South Africans and emigrating to:

  • United Kingdom (UK)

  • Australia

  • United States of America (USA)

  • New Zealand

  • Canada

  • Angola

  • Botswana

  • Chile

  • Zimbabwe

  • Germany

  • Netherlands

  • Swaziland

  • Israel

  • Portugal

  • Mozambique

  • Ireland

  • Malawi

  • Switzerland

  • Namibia

  • Greece

What follows are questions and answers regarding Applications for Passports for Adults and Children

If you still have questions after reading the article above, and the questions and answers below, feel free to leave a comment hereunder.

Can I get my child a passport without the father’s permission?

If the father is a guardian of the child, his consent is required. That is according to the Children’s Act.

Do you need both parents to get a passport for a child?

Yes. As the law currently stands, you need both parent’s consent.

Can a child get a passport with one parent?

No, you need both parents present when applying for a passport for a minor child.

What documents are needed to renew South African passports?

Visit the Department of Home Affairs Website. Here is the link.

Do both parents need to be present for a child to get a passport?

Yes, they do. Unless only one parent is a guardian.

What documents required for minor’s passport?

Visit the Department of Home Affairs Website. Here is the link.

Do both parents need to be present to get a passport for a child?

Yes, they do. That is the law.

Do you need both parents to get a passport for a 17-year-old?

As you are still a minor at the age of 17, you require both your parents to consent to your passport application. Bot parents should also be at the Department of Home Affairs when making the Application.

Can the noncustodial parent get a passport for the child?

Yes, if the parent is a guardian as well. If there is another parent too, both parents must give consent at the Department of Home Affairs.

How do you get full custody of your child?

You would have to approach the Court for such an Order. The Court would have to determine whether it is in the child’s best interests. We advise you speak to a lawyer.

Do you need both parents to get a passport for a 16-year-old?

As you are still a minor at the age of 16, you require both your parents to consent to your passport application. Both parents should also be at the Department of Home Affairs when making the Application.

What is the validity of a minor’s passport?

Visit the Department of Home Affairs Website. Here is the link.

Can I apply for a passport without a birth certificate?

Visit the Department of Home Affairs Website. Here is the link.

How do you apply for a passport online?

Visit the Department of Home Affairs Website. Here is the link.

Can a passport application be printed in black and white?

Visit the Department of Home Affairs Website. Here is the link.

Can you travel with a passport that expires in 2 months?

Visit the Department of Home Affairs Website. Here is the link.

advice-child-maintenance-child-custody-divorceWhich documents are required for a passport after marriage?

Visit the Department of Home Affairs Website. Here is the link.

What kind of pen do you use to sign a passport?

Visit the Department of Home Affairs Website. Here is the link.

How fast can you get a passport?

Visit the Department of Home Affairs Website. Here is the link.

How old do you have to be to get a passport without parents?

You need to be 18 years old. If you are younger, you require both your parents’ consent.

Can a child leave the country without a parent?

Yes, you can, but you require their consent.

Can I get my child a passport without the father’s permission?

No, you cannot. Unless he is not a guardian.

Do you need both parents to get a passport for a child?

Yes, you do.

Do both parents need to be present for a child to get a passport?

Yes, both parents have to be present.

Do both parents have to sign for a passport for a child?

Yes, both parents have to be presented. This is the legal requirement.

Can a single parent get a passport for their child?

Only in the case if the parent is the sole guardian. If not both parents must apply and consent.

Do both parents need to be present to get a passport for a child?

Yes, they both do.

Can a divorced parent get a passport for a child?

Yes, the parent can. However, if the other parent is also a guardian, his or her consent is also required.

How much is a passport for a kid?

Visit the Department of Home Affairs Website. Here is the link.

Is it illegal to have two passports from different countries?

Dual Citizenship is not illegal.

Do dual citizens have two passports?

Yes, they do.

Can I get my child a passport without the father’s permission?

If the father is a co-guardian, then his consent is required.

About the Author

Advocate South Africa

Legal Advisor for Our Lawyer (Pty) Ltd
Call 0211110090
For appointments: https://www.ourlawyer.co.za/advice

70 thoughts on “Passport Application of a Minor Child and Consent – Department of Home Affairs

  1. Good evening,
    I hope that you can assist us with guidance and some clarity.
    My husband is in Scotland currently, we will be immigrating by the end of this year as we have become the legal guardians for my father in law who was diagnosed with Dementia.

    My husband was going to return to SA to assist with applying for our children’s passports but due to a lack of available care workers to take care of my father in law, he is forced to remain there.

    We have contacted the SA Consulate in London on numerous occasions and they keep telling us that they cannot assist us with the parental consent for passport applications. They told us to contact the department who is now dealing with passports, but could not tell us who it is or give us any contact information, we were told to Google for more answers!

    Home Affairs keep telling us that my husband should complete forms at the SA Consulate and the Consulate keeps telling us that they cannot help us.

    What are we to do?? Our family have been seperated for 6 months already and the children and myself desperately want to go over on visitor visas.

    Kindest regards,

  2. Hi there,

    I want to get a passport for my son, but his dad lives in a different province. He doesn’t mind giving consent but he won’t be able to travel between provinces… is there a way to get a passport with two parents that give consent in different provinces?

  3. Good day my son,s passport expires in June ,he turns 18 in Aug, we are missionary in Africa, and can’t afford flight tickets for 3 people, is it possible if the passport can be renewed,with a concend letter from his dad, or will it possible that he can renew it 2 months before his 18 th birthday himself?

  4. I applied for my daughter’s passport and when I received it the Parent Info on the back of the passport showed my name and maiden surname, although when I applied I gave her birth certificate with my married name. My daughter was born out of wedlock and registered on my maiden surname, but when I married her father, her birth certificate was updated and her surname is my married surname. We’re traveling in Jan 2025 and am worried that it will be a problem if her passport shows my information with my maiden surname. I phoned home affairs but they weren’t much help

  5. Good day. my daughter has a son out of wedlock. the fathers name is recorded on the birth certificate but the child is registered with my daughters maiden surname. The father resides in the UK and is the services of the UK Army. As a family we would like to go to Mozambique on holiday , what would be the process to obtain a minors passort for my grandson.

  6. Am Malawian having twins ( 14years in June )born out of wedlock with South African woman.She registered the children with her surname but included my surname as their other names ( both their birth certificates and passports ).I have lived with my boys with my other partner.The mother has consented to me being recognised as the natural father and that i may also be given legal parental rights,custody/guardianship. Now my partner is on a working Visa-Uk and included us as her dependents because of the family bond we’ve enjoyed over the years. Now if i go ahead with the natural father of child born out of wedlock application as a foreigner won’t my kids lose their South African nationality as i want to move with them also abroad.The mother has no problem giving consent to me and/both with my partner.Can this be done via the children’s court only.We all in agreement including the children.The motivation from the mother is because of poor her health lately.i have supporting documents of my financial obligation i have done for the boys,their investments, etc were am the custodian etc.Will the children’s court declaration suffice on entry to UK.

  7. Good Day,
    My son turned 16 in October. He already has a minor passport that has not been expired yet. Can he travel on that passport in Dec or does he need to apply for new passport? Kindly guide

  8. What is the procedure for a foster care parent to apply for a passport for a child in their care? No one can seem to give me a proper answer. Please help!

  9. How do you renew a passport for minor children living in South Africa if one of the parents lives abroad?

  10. Good day

    We want to adopt my cousins baby. He is 2 years old, but we live in Canada. We want to bring him to Canada on a visitors visa. He will stay with us for the maximum time allowed on his visa.

    We can’t locate his mother, but the father will give consent to get his passport and to travel to Canada. Will he be able to get a passport with only the father and we be able to get into canada with his passport and visitors visa. We will apply for his permanent residency when the adoption is finalized.

  11. Hi There
    We are currently living in Cayman Islands and I will be visiting SA for the birth of our baby. My husband is not able to come to SA with me due to work/ isolation/ civic. Am I able to apply for the babies passport on my own in order for us to return to the island?

  12. Hi, my sister is currently 17 years old and her child passport is expiring soon. she will be 18 in May 2021 and we need a passport for her. We share a mother who is currently taking care of her, unfortunately her father stays in the UK. Do we need a specific letter for his consent and his ID Copy for her passport ?

    Thank you

    1. Good day. Generally, you would require the father’s consent. It would be best to check with the Department of Home Affairs. They may deal with the matter differently seeing that the father is overseas.

  13. Hi
    My daugther was born illegitimately and the father has been on and off but mostly off when it comes to her upbringing, he only contributed for 1,5years towards maintenance. My daughter is now 8 years of age. He exercises his visitational rights when it suits him and I had reported numerous times in the family court that he does not adhere to the parental plan but nothing happens.

    He laid a charge against me for contravening the parental plan because he was demanding to see the child when it was not even his turn, I had to go through trial and face the charge but luckily it was withdrawn on the basis that there was not sufficient evidence to support him. I had to pay a lawyer a lot of money for the case and he doesn’t even pay maintenance for the child.

    I remarried and I think he is spiteful and bitter and in turn makes our lives hell, whenever the child visited him she would have to share a bedroom with him, his partner and other child which is not a conducive environment to raise a child especially because with us she has her own room and all necessary facilities.
    The recent order states that he takes the child on a Friday and returns her on a monday morning at 06:15am so that she makes it in time for her lessons since he said he is too busy on a sunday to return the child and the child was unhappy about the arrangement when I told her as he lives 45min away from me and the poor child has to travel that distance early in the morning.

    Anyways, since the order was made he has not fetched the child and there are no telephonic communications whatsoever.

    I’ve asked him time and time again to get the child a passport and he never responds. My husband has been taking full responsibility for my daughter and I don’t know what to do now as we would like to travel with her. Please help

  14. Hi,
    The father is staying in Cape Town and had contact with child 4 years ago and werent married. Need to apply for passport for the child and he consented to it. Must he be at the same home afairs as the child or not? Will only the consent be enough to get the passport? Or better to go to CT to get the passport?

  15. I am a single parent, and my daughter’s father and I were not married when she was born. He has never contributed financially, and 2 years ago he got married and moved to Germany.
    How do I get my daughter a passport if he is not present to give consent.
    He does not have a problem giving consent and will write a letter attesting to that.
    I have emailed the Children’s Court and was told that I need to contact Home Affairs. I emailed them as well. Still no response.
    I would like to apply for the passports this month or next month so that we can travel to Ireland around mid- to end- 2020.
    What is the best way to approach this?

  16. My son is 14 ,I have full custody, do I require the mothers consent for the passport

  17. Hi. I am divorced with three children, one of which is a minor of 14 years old. I have custody of the children and the father has visitation and was supposed to pay maintenance. However over the years he has not made use of his visitation and neither has he paid maintenance. I now have an opportunity to relocate to Canada. Will I still need his consent to apply for a passport for the 14 year old?

  18. im A single parent to a child born from artificial insemination. I do not know who my child’s father is. What do I require when trying to obtain a passport for her.

    1. You would need to chat with the Department of Home Affairs to verify everything. But basically, it would be the child’s birth certificate and identification for you.

  19. I am a divorced father who’s ex wife lives overseas. My daughter (15yr) has a passport about to expire and wants to go back to visit her mother. Her mother has given me a certified letter of consent as well as s certified copy of her passport to renew the passport. Will this be acceptable as her mother has no intention of returning ever.

  20. Hi good day.

    I’m legally divorced. On final divorce decree it stated that children stay with my mother.

    My mother has been taking care of them during divorce procedures and it took almost 2 years for divorce to be finalized.

    Year after divorce oldest boy gets in trouble at school by getting bullied a lot and his school grades goes down.
    My mother ops for him to come stay by me coz that what he tells her every time.
    He gets here but now I’m in Johannesburg and she in cape town.
    Long story very short.
    Both kids ended up staying.
    They excelling in their school doing better then ever.

    Problem now is….
    Oldest boy now 12 Got himself on a rugby tour out of the country. His 1st ever tournament his 1st ever everything to say to do with the sport.
    Now I can’t find their mother and I need a passport for him asap.
    I got all details from the tour and all the paperwork for the tour where when what they going to do.

    What can or may I do as this is beneficial for his education and future in the sport that he loves.

    I’m going to need to sign it alone maybe at the end of the day if we can’t find her.

    Help please

    1. Good day
      Both guardian’s consent is required for a minor child to apply for a passport and leave the country. Your option is to obtain a court order stating that the mother’s consent is not required. If you are interested, please set up a meeting with a lawyer to discuss the issues and advise you, and if you so decide, assist in getting an order. Makes use of the link http://www.ourlawyer.co.za/advice .

  21. The father of my children is on their birth certificate but isn’t an active part of their lives. We have not seen him in 3 years no do we know where he is. How do I get them passports when I can’t even ask him to consent?
    Am I able to strike his name off of the birth certificate then, or am I forced to take out thousands of Rands for a lawyer?

    1. That is an issue you need to resolve with the Home Affairs. They may provide the passport under the circumstances. If however they refused, then you would need to approach the court.

  22. Good day,

    My nephew is 14 years and my sister passed away in 2013. She wasn’t married. I’ve been taking care of him but I’m not a legal guardian.
    Can I apply for a passport for him?
    I know his father but he’s not in the birth certificate and is using a different surname.
    We are using the same surname.

    1. Good day

      Please follow up with the Department of Home Affairs. If they know the father is around, they may insist on his consent as he is the sole guardian. The birt certificate is not proof of guardianship.

  23. Good day,
    What documents would I need to take my child (One Month) across the border to Zambia? The father is currently in Zambia waiting for us.
    We have applied for the passport together.

    1. Good day
      Please contact the Department of Home Affairs to get an accurate answer to your question. We do not want to take the risk of not giving you the 100% correct answer.

  24. Me, my husband and two children are planning to immigrate to NZ. My oldest son is 11 and was born out of wedlock. His biological father has not been involved since he was 1 years old and he never from day 1 paid any support. In fact, my son does not even know about him. His biological father gave concent a few year ago agreeing to “write him off”. With this concent i managed to change my son’s surname at home affairs, to the surname of my husband who is his stepfather. Will we have any problems getting a passport for him ?

    1. You would need to verify the issue at Home Affairs. Our understanding is that if the father’s name is on the birth certificate, they require his consent. Please check with Home Affairs.

  25. We are looking at immigrating – Does your child need an unabridged birth certificate if they have a passport?

  26. After a 3 year battle i finally got divorced in October 2018. I have custody of our children age 14 and 16. My partner is Australian and he has invited us to ho over and visit. My ex husband is refusing to co operate in assisting to apply for passports. My funds are depleted after the divorce battle. Is an application to the high court the only option?

    1. Good day.

      You may try contacting the children’s court and see what they have to say. Maybe they can call the father in and try to resolve the issue. Otherwise the application will have to be made in the High Court.

      You may even enlist the services of an attorney to contact your ex-husband.


    1. You would need to verify with the Department of Home Affairs what they require from you. Best to visit their offices and confirm. The Consent letter makes sense, but there is no need for a court order.

  28. Hi
    I am a single mother who wants to apply for a passport for my 1 year old son. The biological father is not on the birth certificate at all, I don’t know how to locate him as it was sort of a one time thing. Can I sign for my son’s passport? His not on the picture at all since I fell pregnant.

    1. This sounds like a case where the father’s consent is not required. However, the Department of Home Affairs may insist you obtain it or obtain a court order. In that case, you would need to apply to the High Court.

  29. Good day,

    I have a 8yr old daughter born from my marriage. Divorced now for 4 years, she resides with me and sees her father every second weekend and Wednesday afternoon, I also have a 2 year old born out of wedlock, birth certificate states father unknown ( chose to not be part of her life) – Will I need his signature/consent when applying for her passport ?
    My 8 year old daughters father will fight me on immigrating with her, but he can not look after her financially at all, what will his chances be on keeping her in SA ?
    We are planning on moving to Canada (fiancé, myself and the kiddies)

    Your help will really be appreciated

    1. Good day
      On these types of matter, we advise that you consult with a legal advisor. It seems that the Department of Home Affairs would require all the fathers’ consent. Regarding your chances, we do not want to guess. The Court would look at what is best for the child.

  30. Good day
    I am in the process of getting a divorce – the father of my children does not live close by and I need to apply for passports for my children as we will be travelling to the UK at the end of the year. If I have the consent form as well as a certified copy of his ID does he still need to be present when we apply for the passports?

    1. Good day
      That is an issue you need to discuss with the Department of Home Affairs. However, based on our experience, you both parents need to be present.

  31. My friend went ahead to New Zealand to secure a job while his wife stayed behind to give birth. They want to now apply for the childs passport but they aren’t both in SA. How can they do this and what forms please?

  32. Hi there, my son and his mother have moved to New Zealand and I had to give his mother full custody in order for them to obtain residency in New Zealand. The plan was that they would come and visit over Christmas and we only realized this week that his passport expires early in January, so if he comes to SA, he will not be able to go back to NZ. If his mother applies for his passport in New Zealand, it takes much longer to get it than if I just apply in SA and speed courier it to her when I get it. The reason for the rush is that once she has the new passport, she has to submit it to the residency authorities in New Zealand due to their residency and apparently this can take up to 8 weeks. Can I apply for my sons passport in SA, if I gave full custody to his mother, but if she sends me an affidavit in which she gives me permission to do the application as well as a certified copy of her passport and whatever else may be needed?

    1. Good day. The organisation to speak to about this would be the Department of Home Affairs. However according to our understanding the Department of Home Affairs requires both parents to be present when an application for a passport is made. Therefore, in our view even if the mother provides you with the necessary documentation they would still require both parents to be at the offices. Moving forward considering the facts in your message we advise that the moment the mother returns to South Africa the application for a passport should be made.

  33. My granddaughter of 10 has never seen her biological father and he has never made any contact with her or paid any maintenance as per the divorce decree and court order. My daughter has remarried and her husband has raised the child as his own for the past 8 years.
    They have been able to contact the biological father to ask consent to change the child’s surname to that of the stepfather’s and also mentioned that they want to apply for a passport for her. He refused and has now sued my daughter for visitation of the child.
    My daughter has counter-sued for the outstanding maintenance which is on-going.
    In the meantime my daughter and her husband would like to visit my son who is residing in Australia and need a passport for the child.

    1. Good day
      The Court has the authority to override the father’s consent when it comes to departing from South Africa. We advise that you daughter makes a Court Application. If you require specific advice on this issue, feel free to contact us for a consultation or set one up online.

  34. Hi,can my son 17 years used his pasport an birth certificate to go to mozambique…must he apply for his id?

    1. Good day
      This may be an issue best to discuss with the Department of Home Affairs. However, in our view, he only needs his passport and both parent’s consent.

  35. Good day
    The father of my child agrees to the relocation. However, he does not want to pay child maintenance. Can I still claim when I am overseas?

    1. Good day
      It depends on the country you will be living in. Some countries have an agreement with South Africa where maintenance is concerned. Google REMO.

  36. Hi. I am immigrated to the UK with my 12 year old son. I am Divorced and the father has given consent. We completed the Home Affairs consent form and the father has written and signed an affivadit at a police station. Having these documents in hand, would I be allowed to take our son out of SA.? my son qualifies for a British passport.

    Thank you in advance

    1. Good day

      The documents you mentioned sounds in order for you not to have any hassles. However, we advise you obtain final confirmation from Home Affairs if possible. Best wishes for your immigration.

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