A Smart ID is a form of identification that was introduced by the Department of Home Affairs in 2013 for a South African citizen to use. It is a biometric identification system that uses smart card technology to store an individual's personal and biometric information.
The Smart identity document card has several advantages over the previous green bar coded ID book. It is more secure and difficult to forge, as it contains a microchip with the cardholder's biometric information, including their fingerprints and a photograph.
Smart IDs also more durable and convenient to carry, as it is the size of a credit card and can fit easily into a wallet. The Smart ID card contains a photograph, fingerprints and a signature, and it is valid for ten years.
Smart ID cards are free for first-time applicants and takes approximately six to eight weeks to process. Renewals and re-issues of the card may incur a fee.
The Smart identity document is an important document for a South African citizen, as it serves as proof of identity (much like a birth certificate) and citizenship, and is required for many official transactions, such as opening a bank account or applying for a passport.
Luckily you are able to apply for a Smart identity card without having to go into a Home Affairs branch. If you're wanting to skip the queues and apply for your Smart ID online, keep reading to find out how.
How to apply for a Smart ID Card online
Step 1: Go on to the e-Home Affairs website and register. To register, you will need to:
- Complete personal details;
- Create a password, and;
- Answer various questions for security purposes.
Step 2: You will receive an OTP (one-time pin) to confirm your cellphone number. Enter it in, and click submit.
Step 3: You will receive another OTP to login to your profile.
Step 4: Complete your application form for a smart ID card.
Step 5: Upload the supporting documents.
Step 6: You can make an online payment or choose to pay at bank branches.
- The smart ID card costs R140.
Step 7: Did you know you can schedule appointments and avoid long queues? Make a booking at one of the Home Affairs enabled Bank Branches or book an appointment at Home Affairs through BABS. But remember:
- The barcoded confirmation Letter as well as your ID Book (if available) must to be “taken with
when going to the branch or bank office”.
- Appointments for bank branches and Home Affairs are made using two different websites.
A visit is mandatory to capture and\or verify your biometric details, i.e. photo, fingerprints and signature
Step 8: Print your confirmation letter if you are going to a bank branch.
Step 9: Show up at your bank branch/Home Affairs on the day of your appointment and take your biometrics.
Step 9: You will receive a SMS notifying when your new ID card is ready for collection.
Who Cannot Get A Smart ID Card?
Citizens and Permanent Residents who were born outside of South Africa are not able to get Smart ID cards.
What Other Services the Home Affairs Department Provides
The Home Affairs Department provides a variety of services that range from issuing proof of identity documents and residence permits, to helping facilitate the entry and exit of South African citizens. They provide help in applying for visas and citizenship, as well as assisting foreign nationals with immigration processes, not just South Africans.
The department of Home Affairs also helps individuals with family reunification requirements, registration of births/deaths, marriage registration and certification, change or correction of gender or name in ID documents, and offers assistance to victims of crime. This will not change your ID number.
To protect the constitutional rights of individuals, they actively combat illegal immigration, and implement strategies to ensure uniformity in the assessment of immigration matters.