Answer to a question from a reader

How can a foreign national replace stolen documents?

The short answer

You have to go to Home Affairs in person with whatever documents you have left, as well as a police complaint report of the theft

The whole question

Dear Athalie

My friend's boyfriend is a foreign national. They have been together for eight years and have two children together. The boyfriend was robbed recently and lost all his travel documents. What can they do?

The long answer

You don’t say what kind of papers your friend’s foreign boyfriend had. But in any case, if he has not already done so, he should report the theft of his papers to the police. He needs to have a police case number he can show to the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) when he goes to them to get replacement papers. He should make a sworn affidavit setting out the details of how he was robbed, the date, etc. and take that plus a certified copy of the police case number/details to DHA and ask them to issue him with replacement papers. 

The DHA website says that to replace stolen or lost documents, a person must submit the documents listed below, but does not say whether the list of required documents applies to foreigners as well as South Africans: 

  • Completely filled BI-73 form

  • Report of loss in BI-335E form

  • Original Identity document

  • Complaint Report of theft from any police station

  • Certified copy of old passport (if available)

Costs of replacing documents vary but to replace a South African passport would cost R600. 

The DHA would have copies of whatever documents your friend’s boyfriend was issued. If he had a foreign passport, he would have to go the embassy of his country and report the theft there and ask for a replacement.

If the DHA does not help him, he could approach one of the following organisations for assistance:

  • The Black Sash gives free paralegal advice


Helpline: 072 66 33 73, 072 633 3739 or 063 610 1865

  • The Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town takes a special interest in the rights of migrants and children

WhatsApp number: 078 260 3536


Johannesburg: 011 339 1960

 Musina 015 534 2203

 Durban: 031 301 0531

 Pretoria: 012 320 2943

 Cape Town: 021 424 8561


 Johannesburg: 011 836 9831

 Cape Town: 021 481 3000

 Durban: 031 301 7572

Wishing you the best,

Answered on March 27, 2024, 9:44 a.m.

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