The short answer
Applying for birth certificates can be complicated. You may need help.
The whole question
I am a Zimbabwean lady with three children with a South African man. We are not married. How can we apply for birth certificates for our children?
The long answer
Thank you for your email asking how you can apply for birth certificates for your three children with a South African man that you are not married to.
If you just needed copies of their birth certificates, you would fill in Form B1-154 at Home Affairs and pay a R75.00 fee for each application.
But if they have never had birth certificates, this is how it works:
All children born in South Africa must be registered within 30 days of their birth in terms of the Births and Deaths Registration Act of 1992.
The parents are then issued with an unabridged birth certificate which contains the full details of the child and its parents.
If a child is registered after 30 days but before 1 year, you must complete and submit Form B1-24 to Home Affairs along with written reasons why the birth was not registered.
This will be sent to the Home Affairs Head Office to get an ID number and to keep a record of it.
It gets a lot more complicated if a child is registered after 1 year but before 15 years.
In that case, you will need to complete and submit Form B1-24/1 along with written reasons why the birth wasn’t notified in the 30-day period.
You will also have to submit as many of the following documents as possible to confirm the child’s identity and status:
* 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 register of the first school attended by the child. Again the confirmation must be on the school’s official letterhead, signed by the principal with the official school stamp on it.
* The child’s baptismal certificate
* Sworn affidavits by you and the child’s father
* A clinic card
* School reports and any other documents that help to prove your child’s identity.
They will interview you (and / or the father?) and your fingerprints will be verified against the national database.
If successful, the application will be forwarded to the Home Affairs Head office to allocate an ID number and keep a record of it.
If one of the children is over 15 years, they must apply for an ID (Form B1-9) as well as their birth application.
Forms DHA-24, DHA-24/A x 2 and DHA -288 must be completed to register the birth.
You must also submit supporting documents (as listed above) as well as written reasons for not registering the birth within 30 days.
As all the requirements above are complex and demanding, and dealing with Home Affairs is never easy, you may want to take advice from one of the following organisations:
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
Johannesburg Office and law clinic
Tel: 011 339 1960
Published originally on GroundUp.
© 2019 GroundUp.
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