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South Africa’s New Online System Streamlines ID and Passport Applications

Tackling the issue of long queues at Home Affairs offices, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has rolled out an online booking platform known as the Branch Appointment Booking System (BABS). The system aims to make it easier for South Africans to schedule appointments for processing smart ID cards and passports at selected branches.

The Drive Behind BABS

The DHA launched BABS to improve administrative processes and to fight corruption. As the system gains traction, some Home Affairs branches will no longer accept walk-ins for passports and smart IDs. Instead, they will require appointments made through BABS.

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How to Book through BABS

Booking an appointment is straightforward. First, create an account on the BABS website. Then, you’ll need to provide your South African ID number. Next, choose the province, city, and branch where you want to schedule your appointment. Finally, pick an available time slot and confirm your appointment.

Who Can Apply?

You might wonder who qualifies for this service. You need to be at least 16 years old and a South African citizen by birth. Additionally, you must have a copy of your birth certificate. If applicable, you’ll also need copies of your parents’ ID cards or a death certificate if a parent has passed away.

Full Online Process

For those who prefer not to visit a Home Affairs office, the DHA offers a complete online process for smart ID applications. Upload your documents and, if required, make a payment online. However, first-time applicants don’t have to pay. Once you finish the online steps, you’ll need to schedule a biometrics session at a Home Affairs office or approved bank branch. It usually takes about 14 days for your smart ID to be ready.

Tracking Your Application

Wondering about the status of your application? The DHA provides a simple SMS-based system for that. Send an SMS to 32551, starting with the letters ID, followed by a space and your ID number. An online tracking option is also available.

The BABS system marks an effort by the DHA to enhance its services and make life easier for South African citizens. While the move toward online bookings may limit walk-in options, it offers a convenient alternative for those who adapt to the digital transition.

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