Consular services for South Africans

A handy guide for both South African and international travellers looking for consulate services. 

The South African High Commission in London, England. This consulate offers a variety of services for South African abroad, including remote voting services and travel information. (Image: Wikipedia)

Where to go for consular services

If you’re in South Africa

Contact the Department of Foreign Affairs’ head office in Pretoria.

Postal Address
Chief Directorate: Consular Services
Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152

Physical Address
Tulbagh Park Office Complex
Eikendal Building
1234 Church Street (corner Duncan)
Colbyn, Pretoria

Note: those wanting to visit the consular offices in person must first make an appointment.

The Department’s Operations Room runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week:

For foreign countries’ representative offices in South Africa, see “FOREIGN OFFICES IN SA” in the box on the right.

If you’re abroad

Contact the South African embassy, high commission or consulate in the country you’re living or travelling in, or nearest to the country you’re living or travelling in. (In countries where South Africa does not have resident representatives, consular services are offered through honorary consuls or through consular sharing agreements with missions in nearby countries.)

All permanent South African missions can be contacted by telephone, fax or e-mail. Check the full alphabetical list by country under “SA OFFICES ABROAD” in the box on the right.

What CAN be done for you:

In emergencies:

    • Assistance in evacuation planning of South African citizens abroad in cases of political turmoil, natural or manmade disasters. The nature of the event (e.g. a nuclear disaster) and considerations of safety could influence the ability to respond. (Note that evacuation from a location abroad is not a right that can be claimed from the State).
    • In the event of an emergency, communicate on behalf of South African citizens abroad with family and/or friends in South Africa.
    • Provide non-financial assistance for repatriation and urgently needed medical or professional attention.
    • Liaise with the local authorities to search for missing persons and/or determine the whereabouts of South African citizens abroad.
    • Assist families under certain circumstances by facilitating the transfer of funds to family members in distress abroad.
    • Provide support services and advice in cases of hostage taking, kidnapping or abduction.
    • Provide certain level of assistance if you are arrested or jailed abroad. For more information, visit the Consular Services website.

Legal and Notary:

    • Facilitate the serving of legal summons on defendants abroad.
    • Convey requests for extradition, rogatory letters and evidence on commission between states.
    • Authenticate public documents for use between states.
    • Provide non-financial assistance to victims of crime.
    • Provide advice, guidance and support to the custodial parent/guardian, in collaboration with the Office of the Family Advocate where indicated, in cases of abduction of South African children to foreign countries. Where there is evidence that the health and safety of the child is in jeopardy the matter is treated as an emergency.
    • Provide a list of local lawyers and/or detail of local Law Commissions. (The Department of Foreign Affairs cannot vouch for the competence of any lawyer and does not accept responsibility or liability for information provided in good faith).
    • Provide a list of local translators. (The Department of Foreign Affairs cannot vouch for the competence of the translator(s) provided).

Other services:

    • Assist to replace lost, stolen, damaged or expired passports abroad (fees apply).
    • Under certain circumstances provide an emergency loan to a destitute citizen (subject to repayment with interest and only granted if requirements are met. This is done in consultation with the Department of Home Affairs).
    • Notify next of kin in the event of death or life threatening illness or injury of a South African citizen abroad.
    • Provide non-financial assistance and advice regarding the disposal of mortal remains of South Africans who died abroad.
    • Request the local authorities to investigate suspicious deaths of and crimes against South African citizens.
    • Provide guidance in collaboration with the Department of Social Development on matters relating to adoptions.
    • Provide assistance and guidance to foreign representatives regarding their nationals in South Africa.

What CANNOT be done for you:

    • Secure a release from prison/detention.
    • Intervene in court and legal proceedings (in foreign countries).
    • Give legal advice.
    • Interfere in or initiate court or legal proceedings on behalf of South African citizens and body corporate.
    • Request local authorities to give preferential treatment to South Africans.
    • Investigate crimes or deaths.
    • Obtain a criminal record check on your behalf.
    • Pay for cremations, burials or the repatriation of mortal remains to South Africa.
    • Enforce a South African custody agreement abroad or compel a country to decide a custody case.
    • Pay hotel, legal, medical or any other bills.
    • Pay travelling expenses.
    • Undertake work done by travel agents, airlines, banks, etc.
    • Obtain accommodation, work or work permits on your behalf.
    • Intervene on your behalf in disputes between employer and employee.
    • Store personal effects or search for lost items.
    • Accept personal mail and parcels.
    • Issue pensions and social security benefits.
    • Formally assist dual nationals in the country of their second nationality.

Source: Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO)

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