What does a birth certificate look like in South Africa?

In South Africa, a ‘Notice of Birth’ is issued when a child is born and certain documents (such as a medical witness to the birth) are provided. This is a prerequisite to being issued a birth certificate at the Department of Home Affairs. Recently, however, the Department of Home Affairs has set up ‘offices’ at major hospitals and clinics where birth certificates can be issued directly.

Previously, the South African government issued abridged (short) and unabridged (long) birth certificates. An Abridged/short birth certificate reflects only the individual’s date of birth, place of birth, name and identity number, if applicable. An unabridged/long birth certificate (which is the only type that is issued by the South African government since 2013) also provides the mother’s and father’s details – including their names, dates of birth and nationalities. The unabridged birth certificate can prove a claim to a child’s nationality.

As of March 2013, the Department of Home Affairs (the body responsible for issuing birth certificates in South Africa) stopped issuing abridged, or short birth certificates. Only unabridged birth certificates are issued since this date.

Children who are born to two non-South Africans, and who do not qualify for citizenship, are entitled to a birth certificate, as per the Births and Deaths Registration Act (BDRA). However, in these cases, the children are issued birth certificates that do not include an ID number and the child is not entered into the National Population Register.