Answer to a question from a reader

How can my girlfriend can get a birth certificate so that we can get a birth certificate for our son?

The short answer

Your girlfriend will have to apply for a Late Birth Registration (LBR).

The whole question

Dear Athalie

How can my girlfriend can get a birth certificate so that we can get a birth certificate for our son?

The long answer

Your girlfriend will have to apply for a Late Birth Registration (LBR). This will involve an interview with Home Affairs (DHA) officials, as well as submitting the documents listed below.

If you're older than 15 and haven't been registered, your birth registration application must accompany your application for an ID (Form BI-9). You’ll need:

  • Application for an ID (Form B1-9);

  • Completed Forms DHA-24, DHA-24/A x 2 and DHA-288 for the registration of birth;

  • Supporting documentation like ID of parents, as well as written reasons why the birth was not registered within 30 days of birth; and

  • You must be a South African citizen or permanent residence permit holder with a valid South African ID.

It can take a very long time to get an appointment from Home Affairs for LBR interview, as they have a large backlog of applications for LBR interviews. 

It may be worthwhile consulting an organisation like the Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town or Lawyers for Human Rights, to get advice on how best to handle the process (see below). 

I have set out the requirements and the process for registering your son’s birth below:

A baby’s birth has to be registered at Home Affairs within 30 days of being born.

These are the documents you need to take to Home Affairs (DHA) to register the baby’s birth and get a birth certificate with the baby’s ID number on it:

  • If the baby was born at a health facility, the form DHA 24/PB (proof of birth completed by a medical practitioner who attended the birth and examined the mother after the birth);

  • If the baby was born at home, the form DHA 24/PBA (proof of birth affidavit).

After 30 days but before 1 year, you need to present the following documents to Home Affairs:

  • A proof of birth, completed by a medical practitioner who attended the birth and examined the mother after the birth. (DHA 24/PB);

  • An affidavit giving reasons for late registration of birth (DHA 288/A);

  • Biometrics (palm, foot or fingerprint) of the child to be registered;

  • Fingerprints of parents;

  • Certified copies of the parents’ ID documents (and where one or both parents are not South African, certified copies of valid passports, visas or asylum documents);

  • If parents are married, a marriage certificate;

  • If a parent has died, a death certificate;

  • Proof of payment of an application fee (this amount changes so you would need to check with Home Affairs what the fee is now).

Home Affairs may decide that the parents must be interviewed by a panel, and if one of the parents is not South African and not married, they may ask for a DNA test.

After 1 year but before 15 years:

  • A completed Form B1-24/1, together with written reasons why the birth wasn’t notified, and as many as possible of the following documents to confirm the child’s identity;

  • A certificate from the hospital or maternity home where the child was born. The certificate must be signed by the person in charge, and contain the institution's official stamp;

  • Official confirmation of the child's personal details, taken from the school register of the first school attended by the child. The confirmation must be on the school's official letterhead, be signed by the principal, and contain the school's official stamp;

  • The child's baptismal certificate;

  • Sworn affidavits by the parents;

  • A clinic card;

  • School reports.

Home Affairs says that both parents must be present to register the birth, but in 2018 in the Naki case, the Eastern Cape High Court ruled that if one parent did not have the required legal documents to be in South Africa, the Births and Deaths Registration Act should be read to mean that both parents’ documents must be presented “where possible.” This means that even if you can’t produce all these documents and one parent cannot be there, your application must still be accepted and considered by Home Affairs.

Although Home Affairs should know about the Naki case, their officials are not always up to date with the law. If you have difficulties with Home Affairs, you could consult one of the following organisations:


tel: 021 465 6433;


Tel: Musina: 015 534 2203, Durban: 031 301 0531, Pretoria: 012 3202943, Johannesburg: 011 339 1960, Cape Town: 021 424 8561;

  • Legal Resources Centre


Tel: Johannesburg: 011 836 9831

Cape Town: 021 481 3000.

Wishing you the best,

Answered on Feb. 9, 2023, 9:44 a.m.

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