READ: Home affairs makes provisions to ID books and birth certificates

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Here’s what you need to know about changing your personal information with home affairs.

Home affairs has made an announcement regarding certain rectifications, amplifications, and amendments of personal information of individuals in South Africa.

If South African citizens need to have their ID books and birth certificates re-registered and changed with new information, they have the right to do so as stated by the Births and Deaths Registration Act, 1992 (Act No. 51 of 1992) read with the Identification Act, 1997 (Act No. 68 of 1997).

Here are some of the provisions for the amendment, according to Caxton Central:

1. Re-registering a child born out of wedlock

A child registered as born out of wedlock, whose parents later marry after the birth has been registered, may be re-registered as born within wedlock. Form BI-59 must be completed and submitted with proof of the marriage to any Home Affairs domestic office. Both parents must sign said form in the presence of a Commissioner of Oaths.

Applications for the insertion of a forename or surname in a birth register of a person registered without a forename or surname must be done with a BI-795 form.

2. Inserting the biological father’s particulars in the birth register of a child born out of wedlock

Both parents must complete the BI-1682 form and submit it to any domestic Home Affairs office. If the mother refuses her consent to the insertion, the father may apply to a High Court for exemption of the mother’s consent.

3. Altering a forename (Section 24 of Births and Deaths Registration Act)

The BI-85 form must be completed in order to change a forename(s). Tariffs vary for majors and for persons who have not entered into a legal marriage or who have not been declared as majors in terms of the Age of Majority Act.

4. Altering the surname of a minor (section 25 of Births and Deaths Registration Act)

You can change the surname of a minor:

  • If a child is born out of wedlock and the mother marries a person other than the child’s biological father and wishes to change the child’s surname to that of her husband.
  • If a mother, after her divorce from or the death of her husband (father of the child), wishes to change the child’s surname to her maiden surname or to another surname she bore legally; or if she has remarried, to the surname of her new husband.
  • If a child is born out of wedlock but registered under the biological father’s surname and the mother wishes to change the child’s surname to hers.
  • If a minor is under the care of a guardian and the guardian wishes to change the child’s surname to his/hers.
  • Other situations not mentioned above where a good and sufficient reason for the change exists.

Applications must be on a completed BI-193 form.


  • The natural father’s written consent, unless waived by a competent court, is a statutory requirement in the case where the child was born in wedlock.
  • The mother’s husband, whose surname the child is to assume, must also give his written consent to the assumption.
  • Both the natural parents’ written consent is required as well as a good and sufficient reason, in writing, for the change.

4. Assuming a different surname (Section 26 of Births and Deaths Registration Act, 1992)

A woman may assume her husband’s surname, or revert to her maiden surname or a prior surname she legally bore, and since 1997 a woman may also join her surname with that of her husband’s as a double-barrelled surname.

No application to the department of home affairs is necessary for these instances, but to enable the department to update the Population Register, women should notify the department of such changes in writing.

Applications must be made with a BI-196 form and a good and sufficient reason, in writing, for the change, must be made.

5. Changing gender

In terms of section 27(A) read with the provisions of the Alteration of Sex Description and Sex Status Act, 2003 (Act No.49 of 2003).

Applications can be made by:

Persons who have undergone a sex-change operation or medical treatment resulting in their gender reassignment. In such cases two medical reports are required:

  1. One by the medical practitioner who applied the procedure or medical treatment or by a medical practitioner who has experience in such procedures or treatments, and
  2. A report by a second medical practitioner who has independently examined the application to established his/her gender.

6. Intersexed persons

In this category, the applicant must submit:

  • a report by a medical practitioner corroborating that the applicant is intersexed, as well as
  • a report by a qualified psychologist or social worker corroborating that the applicant is living and has lived stably and satisfactorily, for an unbroken period of at least two years in the gender role corresponding to the sex description under which he or she seeks to be registered

Applications must be on a BI-526 form or a written request, accompanied by the required medical reports

7. Rectifying the date of birth, gender, or place of birth in the birth register

Should any information contained within a document issued by the department of home affairs be incorrect as a result of a departmental error, the error will be corrected free of charge.

However, if the mistake was on the part of the applicant, correction of the information will have to be applied for by completing the BI-526 form and the prescribed fee must be paid. Submission of proof of the correct information is a prerequisite in such instances.

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