Answer to a question from a reader

What can I do if my mother ripped up my birth certificate before I could get an ID?

The short answer

It would be best if you can get another trusted adult to go with you, but sometimes these processes at Home Affairs prove difficult.

The whole question

Dear Athalie

My mother ripped up my birth certificate and won't come with me to make a new one or apply for an ID even though I am 19 now.

The long answer

Home Affairs says that to get additional copies of a birth certificate you must “complete Form BI-154 and submit it to the nearest office of the Department of Home Affairs”.

They say it takes 6 to 8 weeks and there is a fee, though it’s very difficult to ascertain from Home Affairs what exactly the current fee is. It is likely to be around R140.

As you are an adult now (being over 18 years of age) you should be able to apply for a replacement birth certificate from Home Affairs yourself. If it proves difficult, perhaps you could ask a responsible adult who knows you well and can vouch that you are who you say you are, to go with you to Home Affairs and help you. You need a birth certificate to apply for an ID. 

You are supposed to be accompanied by your parent/s or guardian when you first apply for an ID. If your mother refuses to go with you to apply for the ID, again you could call on a responsible adult person who knows you to go with you and explain that they are standing in for your mother, as your mother refuses to help you make the ID application.

The Home Affairs website itself does not mention the rule that you must be accompanied by a parent or parents for a first-time application. But in any case, you do need to have a certified copy of your parent’s ID.

If it is possible for your father to accompany you instead of your mother, he would need to bring a certified copy of his ID. 

For the ID application, you also need a certified copy of your birth certificate and proof of your residential address. You have to fill in Form BI-9, which you can get at Home Affairs, in black ink. You also need two identical colour photos, but if the office you go to is a smart card office, you don’t need the photos as they will capture your image digitally. You can find out if you need photos or not by emailing or phoning your local Home Affairs office.

It's generally a long and tiring business dealing with Home Affairs, but don’t give up! You need that birth certificate to get your ID.

Wishing you the best,

Answered on Oct. 4, 2022, 3:05 p.m.

See more questions and answers

Please note. We are not lawyers or financial advisors. We do our best to make the answers accurate, but we cannot accept any legal liability if there are errors.