Answer to a question from a reader

How can I get a death certificate for my parent so that I can apply for my ID?

The short answer

You can apply for a replacement copy or a full death certificate at any Home Affairs office.

The whole question

Dear Athalie

One of my parents was born in Mozambique but had South African citizenship. I need their death certificate so that I can apply for my ID.

The long answer

The Department of Home Affairs will issue a death certificate when they receive a notification of death (Form BI-1663) and the death report (Form BI-1680, which is also issued by Home Affairs). If you need a replacement copy or a full death certificate, you can apply for these at your nearest Home Affairs office by completing form BI-132.

If you were not born in South Africa but one of your parents was a South African citizen, you can claim South African citizenship by descent as long as your birth was registered under the Births and Deaths Registration Act.  

Home Affairs held that both parents had to register a child’s birth, but in the 2018 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” when registering a birth.

If your parent’s ID number is on your birth certificate, Home Affairs will have their ID on their system and you should be able to get them to make you a copy that you can have certified for your ID application. You only need the certified ID of one of your parents for your ID application.

If your parent was not a citizen or permanent resident at the time of your birth, you qualify to be a South African citizen by birth if you have not lived anywhere else but South Africa, and if your birth has been registered under the  Births and Deaths Registration Act (BDRA) of 1992. In that case, you can apply for South African citizenship when you are eighteen. 

If you encounter difficulties with Home Affairs, you could ask one of the following organisations for help and advice:


Tel: 021 465 6433


          Tel: Musina 015 534 2203

Durban: 031 301 0531

Pretoria: 012 320 2943

Johannesburg: 011 339 1960

Cape Town: 021 424 8561


Tel: Johannesburg: 011 836 9831

Cape Town: 021 481 3000.

  • The Black Sash


Helpline: 072 66 33 73

Wishing you the best,

Answered on Oct. 31, 2023, 1:16 p.m.

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