How do I renew my South African passport when living in the US?

When you renew your South African passport while living in the US, the first thing to know is that South Africa has an embassy and two consulates in the US. Your first step is to find out which office will handle your passport renewal application.

Texas falls under the jurisdiction of the SA Embassy in Washington, DC. Although you get the necessary forms and information from the Consulate in New York, you have to submit your application to the Embassy in Washington, DC. You have to work through the embassy, i.e. you’re not allowed to send your renewal application directly to Pretoria.

Contact the SA Embassy at 3051 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20008. Tel: (202) 232-4400. Fax: (202) 265-1607.

To get the application forms and all other relevant information, go to the Home Affairs section of the Consulate in New York. Here you can find all you need for a regular tourist passport and for a child passport. (When obtaining the forms, take note that the form for fingerprints, BI-9, is not downloadable. You have to request one by mail and send in a self-addressed stamped envelope along with the request.)

Make sure you send in the correct fees. You also have to send in two copies of the application and supporting documentation, i.e. fill it out and then make a copy of everything.

Processing of a new passport application can take 6 months or more. If your travel to South Africa will take place within the next 6 months, apply for a temporary passport as well. Keep in mind, however, that temporary passports are being phased out and will only be issued in cases of real emergencies, e.g. death or illness (vacations don’t count). Temporary passports are processed at the Consulate or Embassy in the US, and processing time is 3 weeks.

This whole process of renewing your South African passport is cumbersome and time-consuming. It is probably a good idea to keep an eye on your passport’s expiration date and start the process of obtaining all the forms about 9 months before expiration of your current passport.


Please share this information...