South Africa seems to have abounded the global standards of carrying a passport. And internationally it is not regarded as safe. Whereas other countries constantly improve the security features of its passports, SA seems to have given up completely.
The entire drama started in July 2009, when suddenly the United Kingdom required South Africans to apply for visas, mostly as a result of terrorism fears. Most importantly, that terrorists could obtain passports which allow them to travel into Europe.
And there are 2 elements to it, the passport itself as well as the control over its production system. Apparently many blank passports simply disappeared at the government printers.
Things have since improved, but not yet to the extend that South Africans can travel without having to apply for a visa in order to enter the UK and Europe. Effectively a visa is another (upfront) passport verification process.
South African ID Books are issued to South African citizens and Permanent Resident holders from the age of 16 years and onwards. If you are working for the South African government or one of its statutory bodies outside the Republic of South Africa, you are also eligible to receive a South African ID Book.
The green bar-coded identity book can be considered as a legal proof of identification in South Africa.
All ID Book applications are done at the respective Departments of Home Affairs or South African Missions or Consulates abroad.
The applications are then sent to the Department of Home Affairs head office in Pretoria where applications are processed and ID Books are generated.
If you are applying for a South African ID Book for the first time, this step by step process is worth a read. Continue reading
An identity document is important to get as soon as you are eligible (from 15 years of age) as it proves your identity. The green bar-coded Identity book (ID book) is also a legal form of identity when dealing with public and private institutions. There are many occasions when you will be requested to provide a copy of your ID book – for example for access to housing, education and healthcare services; to apply for a driver’s license for a job; when entering into business agreements and even when registering for the Unemployment Insurance Fund.
You will also need an ID book to apply for a passport, and visas to work, study or visit friends and family overseas. In addition you need your ID book to register to vote in the general and municipal elections. Continue reading