National Identification Number – [An OASC Guide]

Creating a comprehensive guide to South Africa’s National ID number involves covering its structure, purpose, application process, and addressing frequently asked questions. The South African ID number is a unique identifier assigned to citizens and permanent residents, carrying significant importance for legal and administrative processes. Let’s break down the key aspects:

Overview of South Africa’s National ID Number

The South African National ID number is a 13-digit code assigned to every citizen and permanent resident at birth or upon gaining permanent residency. It’s used extensively for identification in government, financial, and commercial transactions.

Structure and Meaning

  1. First 6 digits: Date of Birth (YYMMDD).
  2. Next 4 digits: Gender. Females are assigned numbers ranging from 0000 to 4999, and males from 5000 to 9999.
  3. Next 3 digits: Citizenship status. South African citizens have numbers ranging from 000 to 499. Permanent residents have numbers from 500 to 999.
  4. Last digit: Checksum for error detection.

Where can I find my ID number in national ID?

How do I verify my SA ID number?

How to check a name with ID number South Africa online?

How can I check my ID status at Home Affairs?

Can I get a copy of my ID online in South Africa?

Application Process

  1. Birth Registration: Automatically done when a birth is registered in South Africa.
  2. Permanent Residents: Apply through the Department of Home Affairs by providing necessary documents, including a valid foreign passport and proof of permanent residency.

Uses and Importance

  • Identification: The primary use is for identification in all legal and government transactions.
  • Voting: Required for registration and participation in national elections.
  • Banking and Finance: Necessary for opening bank accounts and conducting financial transactions.
  • Employment: Employers require an ID number to register employees with the tax authority.

How to Apply for a National ID Card

Applying for an Identity book / Identity document for the first time

First time applicants must submit the following documentation to their nearest Department of Home Affairs office or South African mission or consulate abroad:

  • Form BI-9, completed in black ink
  • A certified copy of your Birth certificate or reference book  or a copy of the old Transkei, Bophutatswana, Venda or Ciskei homelands identity or travel documents 
  • Two identical, colour photographs (NOT needed at smartcard offices as ID images are captured digitally however colour photographs are still needed for temporary IDs)
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Your fingerprints will be taken by a Home Affairs official and imprinted on Form DHA-9. 
 

If you are a naturalised citizen or a permanent residence permit holder you must attach the following to your application form:

  • your naturalisation certificate and a copy, which will be certified by Home Affairs
  • your permanent residency certificate and a copy, which will be certified by Home Affairs
  • your exemption certificate and a copy, which will be certified by Home Affairs
  • Form BI-1620, which must be  completed at a Home Affairs office

If the permanent residence permit or exemption certificate cannot be furnished, Form BI-829 must be completed for the issuing of a duplicate thereof. If the naturalization certificate cannot be furnished, you must apply for a duplicate prior to submitting the ID book application.

Correcting errors in the ID Document

If you get your ID book and there are errors in the personal information contained within, the Department of Home Affairs will replace your ID book free of charge.

To apply to correct information in your ID book, simply submit the following to any office of the Department of Home Affairs:

  • Forms BI-9 and BI-309 completed with the correct information
  • Proof  of the error, that shows the correct information e.g.  birth certificate
  • Two identical colour photographs (NOT needed at smartcard offices as ID images are captured digitally)

Re-issuing an ID book

You can apply to have your ID book re-issued:

  • If you are married and want to assume the surname of your spouse. You must submit a copy of your marriage certificate, a completed application Form BI-9 and a pay the required fee.
  • If you are a woman and want to apply for a new ID in the name of any of your previous surnames, then documentary proof showing you are entitled to use that surname must be provided (i.e. a birth certificate, a marriage certificate, etc) along with a completed Form BI-9. You will also be required to pay a fee for the re-issue.
  • If your ID book has been lost, stolen or damaged

You can apply for a replacement by:

  • Completing Form BI-9 as well if you have not previously submitted your fingerprints
  • Attaching additional documents as required (e.g. a marriage certificate if you are married)
  • Paying the required fee for the re-issue
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In the event you lose, damage or have your ID book stolen, you may request a Temporary Identification Certificate (TIC). This can be done at any office of the Department of Home Affairs and is subject to the verification of your fingerprints.

Replacing a Lost or Stolen ID

Report the loss to the police and apply for a replacement at the Department of Home Affairs, providing a police report and additional identification if available.

Top 20 Questions About South Africa’s National ID Number

  1. What is the South African National ID number used for?
  • Identification, legal, financial, and government transactions.
  1. How is the South African ID number structured?
  • Date of birth, gender, citizenship status, and a checksum.
  1. Can I apply for an ID number online?
  • As of my last update, applications must be made in person at the Department of Home Affairs.
  1. What documents do I need to apply for a South African ID?
  • Birth certificate or proof of permanent residency, and passport photos.
  1. How do I replace a lost or stolen South African ID?
  • Report the loss to the police and apply at the Department of Home Affairs with the report and ID photos.
  1. Is the ID number required for employment in South Africa?
  • Yes, for tax and legal employment procedures.
  1. How do permanent residents get a South African ID number?
  • Apply at the Department of Home Affairs with proof of permanent residency.
  1. What does the last digit of the ID number mean?
  • It’s a checksum for error detection.
  1. Can foreigners get a South African ID number?
  • Only permanent residents can obtain a non-citizen ID number.
  1. What is the difference between citizen and non-citizen ID numbers?
    • The citizenship status digits differ between the two.
  2. How long does it take to get a South African ID?
    • Processing times can vary; check with the Department of Home Affairs for current timelines.
  3. Can I vote without a South African ID number?
    • No, it’s required for voter registration and identification at the polls.
  4. Are South African ID numbers public record?
    • No, they are personal information protected by privacy laws.
  5. How do banks use the South African ID number?
    • For account opening, verification, and regulatory compliance.
  6. What age can you apply for a South African ID card?
    • Typically at 16 years old, when compulsory ID registration occurs.
  7. Does the gender digit in the ID number accommodate non-binary individuals?
    • As of my last update, the system uses a binary gender classification.
  8. Can I change my information in the ID number if there’s a mistake?
    • Yes, through the Department of Home Affairs with supporting documents.
  9. How is the South African ID number protected against fraud?
    • Through the checksum digit, biometric data, and secure processing.
  10. What happens to my ID number if I renounce my citizenship?
    • You would need to consult the
    Department of Home Affairs for the specific process and implications.
  11. Is the South African ID number required for all financial transactions?
    • It’s required for most formal financial activities, including loan applications and opening bank accounts.
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This guide aims to provide a thorough overview of South Africa’s National ID number, covering its purpose, application process, and addressing common questions. For the most current information and procedures, always consult the Department of Home Affairs or a legal expert in South Africa.