Department of Home Affairs documents

What are civic certificates or DHA documents?

DHA stands for the Department of Home Affairs. In any country, civic services involve issuing important civic certificates or documents, such as birth, marriage, and death certificates (both unabridged and abridged), letters of no impediment, divorce decrees, and other similar documents.

On this page, we will explore how you can have birth certificates, death certificates, marriage certificates, and letters of no impediment legalised for use abroad.

Legalising documents for international use

If you plan on travelling abroad to work or study, you will need to have various documents legalised for use in your destination country. Depending on whether the country is a member of the Hague Convention, you will either need to get your documents apostilled or authenticated if the country is not a member.

Birth certificates, death certificates, and marriage certificates

Evergration can assist you in obtaining birth, marriage, and death certificates remotely from abroad.

Our services include:

  • Letter of No Impediment
  • Unabridged Birth Certificate
  • Unabridged Marriage Certificate (for marriages recorded after 2000, a copy of your DHA-30 form is required)
  • Unabridged Death Certificate

Before these documents can be legalised for use abroad, they must be apostilled or notarised by a Public Notary. The specific process depends on the requirements of the authority to which you are submitting the document. For apostille, DIRCO requires the original document. For notarisation, a Notary Public will certify a copy of the original document, verifying its authenticity with a signature, stamp, and seal. This can also be authenticated at the high court for attestation purposes (e.g., for Vietnam).

Authentication and apostille process

After notarisation, documents must be taken to the Registrar of the High Court of South Africa or DIRCO for further authentication. The Registrar verifies the signature and seal of the Notary Public. If the documents are to be used in a Hague Convention member country, they will be apostilled. For non-signatory countries, they will be authenticated.

Once authenticated or apostilled by the High Court, the documents must be submitted to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s Legalisation Section for final authentication. If the country is a signatory to the Apostille Convention, the High Court will issue an Apostille Certificate, which is the only formality required to establish the origin of the public document.

Document submission

Official documents signed by the relevant issuing authority must be submitted for authentication. Copies of birth and death certificates are not accepted; only original unabridged or full certificates can be used. Abridged certificates are not acceptable for apostille or authentication purposes.

ID documents, passport copies, and driver’s licences

For copies of these documents, notarisation and apostille are possible through our services. Simply specify your requirements, and we will handle the process. Typically, copies of identity documents or passports must first be notarised and then apostilled. Sometimes, the entire set of documents may need to be translated by a sworn translator.

For a driver’s licence, a stamped and signed confirmation letter from the Department of Transport – Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) is required for authentication. However, we cannot assist with the application process for driver’s licences, ID documents, or passports, as these require the applicant to be physically present for biometrics or testing.

Divorce decrees

Divorce decrees and related documents must be obtained from the High Court where the divorce was granted. These documents can be challenging to obtain due to the need for a case number and the often inefficient court processes. However, many countries accept a notarised copy of the divorce decree, which can then be apostilled or authenticated at the high court. We can assist with this process.

Letter of No Impediment

A Letter of No Impediment is required to prove you are not currently married, especially for those who were previously married. This letter can be legalised if it is an original, official Home Affairs letterhead, signed and stamped by an authorised Home Affairs official. These letters are valid for six months from the issue date, though some countries may have shorter validity periods.

Processing times

Obtaining birth and marriage certificates from South African embassies abroad can take 6 to 8 months, and at least two months within South Africa. Divorce-related documents also take time, particularly if your status needs to be updated in the Home Affairs system. Using a professional service can expedite this process. Evergration can have your civic certificates ready in less than 3 to 6 months, depending on the document and service timing chosen.

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