Answer to a question from a reader

Where can I apply for an ID online?

The short answer

You can submit ID and passport applications and payments on the eHomeAffairs website.

The whole question

Dear Athalie

Where can I apply for my ID online? Furthermore, can I apply using a copy of my mother's ID? My mother left when I was still young. 

The long answer

To answer the first question: 

Home Affairs says you can apply for your ID using the online service at:

You can also book an appointment at some Home Affairs offices online using their Branch Appointment Booking System (BABS).  These are the offices that offer BABS services:

To book an appointment go to

The system only allows clients with valid South African ID numbers to make bookings. Currently, services offered on the booking system are for smart ID cards and passports.

The Home Affairs website says, “Citizens are encouraged to make use of the online booking system because in the near future, selected Home Affairs offices will process smart ID and passport applications only for clients who have booked an appointment through the Branch Appointment System.

There are three main steps to the booking system, the first of which is entering your South African ID number. After that, users are asked to enter their other personal details, including:

  • Full name and surname;

  • Cell phone number;

  • Email address (optional)”

To answer your second question: 

As you are 19 now, which means you are an adult, you could certainly try to apply for your ID without your mother accompanying you, but you would need a certified copy of her ID. 

For an ID you also need a certified copy of your birth certificate. Your ID number, which is key to getting a smart ID card, is on your birth certificate. You also need proof of your residential address, like a municipal bill. 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 you apply at a smart card office, you won’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.

If you don’t succeed with the Home Affairs online application, you can contact the Home Affairs Call Centre (HACC) at 0800 60 11 90, or email them at and ask for help.

If that doesn’t work, you could also ask one of the following organisations for help and advice:

  • The Black Sash


Helpline: 072 66 33 73

  • Scalabrini Centre (Cape Town):


Tel: 021 465 6433

  • Legal Resources Centre:


Tel: Cape Town: 021 481 3000

Tel: Johannesburg: 011 836 9831  

  • Lawyers for Human Rights:


Tel: Cape Town: 021 424 8561

Tel Johannesburg Office and law clinic: 011 339 1960

[Note by Grethen on 28/07/2023 – Many people struggle to book appointments on the eHomeAffairs website. An anecdotal tip that we received suggests the following: Wake up early in the morning and log in to your account. Under the booking tab, select the last possible day as the start and end of your date range. Some readers have reported that this gives them appointment options.]

Wishing you the best,

Answered on Dec. 7, 2022, 12:38 p.m.

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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.