New Full Birth Certificates Issued by DHA

Effective 1 December 2016, South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs (DHA) issues a new type of birth certificate known as a “full” birth record. This adds to their Unabridged, Abridged and Vault copy of birth certificates issued.

This new birth certificate offering serves to eliminate the backlog of duplicate requests for birth certificates by offering quicker processing speeds.

Birth registrations in South Africa were previously issued an Abridged birth certificate by the DHA as standard practice. The Abridged certificate can be seen as a shortened version of birth record that only serves to confirm that the applicant has had their birth records captured and registered.

The Abridged certificate would therefore only evidence the applicants recorded place of birth, date of birth and the applicants full registered name.

For visa and travel purposes, this limited information does not disclose who the applicants registered biological parents are. Therefore, especially in cases where minors are looking to travel abroad, the Abridged birth certificate does not serve as means to confirm who the minors registered parents are. Making the Abridged birth useless for international travel purposes.

Cleverly the new system will issue a full birth record for new registered births going forward from here. This will eventually eliminate the need to request separate certificates, with more details, to be issued.

Attached below are examples of the new “Full birth certificate” and the old “Unabridged birth certificate” for reference purposes:

Example of New “Full SA Birth Certificate”.Example of Old “Unabridged Birth Certificate”.

Please note that for British passport applications, even with the new bio-metric capturing data that the DHA has implemented, Her Majesties Passport Office still insists upon Vault copies of birth certificates (preferred over the Unabridged or Full birth certificate records). Further information can be found on our “UK birth rights explained” page.

Further details of our product offerings relating to UK birth rights can be found below:

UK Ancestry Work Visa (Adopted Minor Dependent)


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UK Ancestry Work Visa (Shared Biological Minor Dependent)


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24 thoughts on “New Full Birth Certificates Issued by DHA

  1. Dan says:

    Hi, Thanks for the above information.. I have a difficult situation. Hope you have any solution. I was abandoned by my parents, the lady who raised me never new my mother’s official name on the ID book. She only told me that my Mother was a Street hustler and never stayed in one place for too long and because I used to get FITS (SEIZURES)as a child my Mother felt that I was possessed and she did not wanna deal with a sick child so she abandoned me and I have never seen her in my life growing up.
    I never needed a full birth certificate before. I have always used my abridged birth certificate. I am 43 years old and am doing a small business and barely make enough so now I am trying to get a job in OVERSEAS where I need a police clearance certificate and a full birth certificate. So what do I do now… Can an affidavit help me? Any guidance would be helpful.. if you know anyone in a similar situation who has experienced this please guide. Thanks

  2. Move Up Admin says:

    Hi Dan,

    Thanks for your query.

    I recommend you go into your local Home Affairs and request an Unabridged birth certificate. Your ID number should reflect on your Abridged birth certificate. With that, you can request the Unabridged birth certificate.

    Thanks for giving Move Up the opportunity to help.

    All the best.

  3. David Brown says:

    Hi Ryan.My Mother Gave me up for Adoption at 3 (My Surname Changed)I found Her & My Brother in the U.K after 30 years.I also Found my Grandmother in S.A (95) Whom I take care of Who was a British Citizen & came here after WW2.Is there a way for mr to Qualify for a British Passport (taking into consideration my Adopted Surname Change.

  4. Sainty says:

    Hi Ryan, i am a 52yo South African. My great grandmother was born in Scotland. Her daughter gave birth to my father when she was considered too young, as a result my father was raised by my Scottish granny. My father was also registered by her. Does this make a good case for me to get the UK Ancestry visa seeing that my great grandmother may have been my dads legal guardian by adopting him?



  5. Ryan Rennison says:

    Hi Sainty,

    Thanks for your query.

    From the British governments perspective, they need to see paper-based evidence of any claim.

    In the case you are presenting, you will not be able to evidence that your grandparent was born in the UK. Rather your birth records will only demonstrate that your great grandmother was born in the UK.

    Regardless of parental care given, birthrights are based on place of registered birth (and not given care).

    Trust this clarifies how the British government views these claims.

  6. Johan Prins says:

    Good day Ryan

    We are planning to go to Mozambique next month. Will the new Full birth Certificate the DHA issued be valid?



  7. Ryan Rennison says:

    Hi Johan,

    Thanks for your query.

    I don’t see why the Mozambique government would have a problem with the certificate. Shouldn’t be a problem.

    Enjoy Mozambique.

    Kind regards,


  8. Jillian says:

    Hi Ryan

    We will be applying for a visa for Dubai tomorrow and I have the new full birth certificate for my son. Would this be a problem?

    Thank s

  9. John Sonnekus says:

    Why do you need an unabridged birth certificate to travel, yet a school in south africa refuses to accept the same as a form of identification to write exams?
    Under 18 is classed as a minor and requires unabridged birth certificate. Yet over 16 is issued qwith ADULT passport. Please help.

  10. Ryan Rennison says:

    Hi John,

    Thanks for your query.

    The purpose of a birth certificate is to confirm who the registered parents are. It is the same as trying to use one’s SARS tax registration document (that references their ID number) as a proof of identity.

    Instead of proving their ID document exists (and that the applicant who they say they are), it proves that their ID number exists.

    I trust this helps.

  11. Estelle Momberg says:

    I applied for a unabridged birth certificate for adult my son, I received one that only says birth certificate, and was told that since 2016 they issue them just stating birth certificate… Is this the real thing?

  12. Belinda Bantjes says:

    Hi Ryan,

    I have received news that my unabridge birth certificate could not be obtained as they could not find any record for it. I am currently residing in NZ and was wondering what you recommend my next action should be to get this sorted asap.

    Thank you,

  13. Ryan Rennison says:

    Hi Belinda, I recommend that you consider using a third-party agency to apply on your behalf. What you are experiencing is what I refer to as the “Home Affairs waltz”. They tell you they can’t access it, you leave their office. You then realize that Home Affairs needs to issue you an official statement to declare that they have lost your record. You then request this written confirmation and they then suddenly find the record. We come across this “lost record” excuse often.

  14. Richard Fruin says:

    Hi Ryan,

    I hope that you are well.

    I am in the process of sorting out a few documents for my wedding in June 2020. I have been advised that I will be required to provide the below documents to be issued AFTER 01.04.2020.
    1. Full Birth certificate
    2. Single status certificate with no impediment document
    3. ALL the above to be issued within 3 months of the wedding date
    4. And all the documents MUST BE verified by the ministry of foreign affairs South African Republic followed by the verification of Croatian embassy in the South African Republic

    Do you have any suggestions or referrals as to who may be able to help with this? I am currently living in the UK, making this almost impossible for me to do.

  15. Peter says:

    Home affairs lost our daughters original vault copies. They subsequently recreated vault copies, will the HM passport office in the UK accept these?

  16. Ryan Rennison says:

    HI Richard,

    Thanks for your query,

    The nature of your question is unclear. I am not sure why the Croatian government needs to get involved.

    The British government will acknowledge the SA Marriage certificate.

    The only time the Croatian government would need approval is when you are dealing with requests to enter Croatia.

  17. Nozipho Nkuna says:

    Hi Ryan

    My daughter’s full birt certificate reflects only my name (mother) and not the father. Is this still considered an unabridged birth certificate or only an abridged certificate? Do I need to go to DHA and specifically apply for unabridged?

  18. Ryan Rennison says:

    Hi Nozipho,

    A birth certificate that lists registered parent(s) is known as a full birth certificate. Factors such as the applicants’ date of birth, the date that the certificate was issued and the listed details that the certificate reflects will impact how the certificate is defined.

    For recent births, as per this article, the UK government acknowledges these new full birth certificates formats.

  19. Paula Cardoso says:

    Hi Ryan
    My daughter has a South African full birth certificate which was issued in 1994, the year she was born. Please can you explain if there is any difference between a Full birth certificate and an unabridged birth certificate. Thank you.
    Warm regards

  20. Ryan Rennison says:

    Hi Paula,

    You will find that the full birth certificate issued in 1994 will state “Unabridged” on it. Assuming you do not have a handwritten version. If it’s handwritten with a pink Home Affairs stamp, that’s the vault.

    Birth certificates issued from 2016 are now all full versions (stating parents’ details) however they do not state the word “Unabridged” on it. That’s the only difference.

    You are welcome to send scanned emails to my team and free of charge, they can conduct an assessment on its recognition.

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