Assistance for South Africans abroad

For assistance when abroad contact the nearest South African Representative or the Department, Chief Directorate: Consular Services in Pretoria.

Depending on the service required a valid form of identification may be requested. You may wish to first call to determine the processes / documents that will be required.

Consular Services are of an advisory and non-financial nature and are provided free of charge, unless otherwise specified.

What services can South African citizens expect from Consular Officers?

In Emergencies:

  • Non-Financial Humanitarian assistance in emergencies (i.e. situations involving destitution or distress of South African nationals abroad). This includes, providing a support service in hostage cases as well as assistance rendered to South African nationals abroad in cases of political turmoil or natural disasters.
  • In the event of an emergency, we communicate on behalf of South African nationals abroad with the next of kin and/or friends in South Africa.
  • Non-financial assistance for South African nationals who are in hospital abroad, e.g. who may need to be repatriated to SA for urgent medical or professional attention.
  • Communication with the next-of-kin in the event of, e.g. reported death or life threatening illness or injury. We also provide limited logistical assistance with the importation of mortal remains (including import permit applications) or burials of South African nationals abroad. We do not provide financial assistance arising from the death of a South African national abroad.
  • Provide guidance to next-of-kin and liaison with relevant stakeholders in the search for missing persons abroad and/or determination of the whereabouts of South African nationals abroad under certain circumstances.
  • Advice, guidance and support to a parent/guardian in matters of child abduction in collaboration with the Office of the Chief Family Advocate where required, 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 a priority. DIRCO is not in a position to guarantee the return of the child. 
  • Abduction and kidnapping covers forcible restrictions on the freedom of movement of persons for different outcomes. All instances of kidnapping outside of South Africa should be reported to the DIRCO Operations Room immediately (+27-12-351-1000). We provide advice and guidance to the next of kin of the victim.
  • Assistance and guidance to foreign representatives regarding their nationals in South Africa who need Consular assistance.

In detention:

Click here for more information.

Assistance provided:

  • Facilitate the service of process on defendants abroad;
  • Convey requests for extradition, rogatory letters and evidence on commission between states.
  • Authenticate public documents for use in different countries.
  • Since DIRCO and its Missions are not in a position to provide South African nationals with legal advice, it will endeavour to provide information on local lawyers. (The Department cannot guarantee the nature and/or the quality the legal advice provided and does not accept any responsibility or liability in this respect).
  • Diplomatic Missions will provide a list of local translators where available. (The Department cannot vouch for the competence of the translator(s) provided).

Other services provided on behalf of other Departments:

  • At South African Diplomatic Missions abroad: Assist to replace lost, stolen, damaged or expired passports abroad and South African Identity documents (the service is performed on behalf of the Department of Home Affairs, and DHA prescribed fees apply); Please note: all enquiries must be directed directly to the Mission where applications were launched or to the Department of Home Affairs in South Africa directly with reference numbers received upon submission of the applications. DIRCO has no control over the time it takes to issue a new passport or other civic documents.

(DHA Contact details: +27 12 395 4307 (from abroad) or 0800 60 11 90 within South Africa or the Home Affairs Contact Centre via e-mail on [email protected]

  • Request foreign 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 inter-country adoptions;

What services do Consular Officers NOT render to South African citizens?

  • Institute court proceedings or obtain legal advice on behalf of South African nationals locally and abroad.
  • Secure a release from prison/detention of South African nationals, to secure bail or an early trial (in foreign countries);
  • Intervene in court and legal proceedings (in foreign countries);
  • To secure the release of South African Nationals from prison, to secure bail or early trial;
  • Support a South African national financially whilst in prison;
  • Render any form of legal advice;
  • Assist with the transfer of funds to a national who is not in distress;
  • 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;
  • Return a child that has been abducted by a parent / family member.
  • 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, visas-, study-, work permits or work 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.

Location and Contacts

Contact the Chief Directorate: Consular Services:

a) In person during official working hours by appointment only. The physical address is:

Department International Relations and Cooperation
Consular Services, NE2A-Ground Floor
OR Tambo Building,
460 Soutpansberg Road,
Rietondale,
Pretoria

b) By mail. The postal address is:

Chief Directorate: Consular Services,
Department of International Relations and Cooperation,
Private Bag X152,
Pretoria, 0001;

c) Telephonically, by fax or e-mail.

Telephone number: +27 (0)12 351 1000
Fax number (Consular): +27 (0)12 329 1752
Fax number (Legalisation): +27 (0)12 329 1018

d) General Consular enquiries: E-mail: [email protected]

Please note: all enquiries relating to applications submitted for visas, work/residence permits, SA Passports, SA Birth-, Marriage-, Death certificates at SA Diplomatic Missions abroad, must be referred to the SA Diplomatic Mission where applications were submitted.

In South Africa the mandated Department dealing with the above mentioned Civic and Immigration enquiries is the Department of Home Affairs and can be contacted at: +27 12 395 4307 (from abroad) or 0800 60 11 90 within South Africa or the Department of Home Affairs Contact Centre via e-mail on [email protected]

e) Enquiries regarding Legalisation Services in South Africa: E-mail: [email protected]
(Legalisation enquiries i.e. Authentications, Apostilles and End-User Certificates)

f) In case of an after-hours emergency, kindly contact the Department’s Opsroom at:

Tel: +27 (0)12 351 1000.

For the contact details click here.

Contact SA Representatives abroad.

Contact the Department’s Operations Room in case of an emergency after hours:

From South Africa: (012) 351 1000

Outside South Africa: +27 (0)12 351 1000