The Department of Home Affairs has gazetted new fees for travel documents in South Africa, which will increase the cost of getting a standard passport by 50%.

Standard passports have cost R400 since 2011, but under the new regulations, this will be increased to R600.

One of the biggest increases comes for the larger passport books – known as a maxi passport with 48 pages – the cost of this document has now doubled from R600 before to R1,200.

Crew certificates, which previously cost R350, have also been hiked by 71.4% to R600. Diplomatic passports and official passports will now also carry a fee of R600, with the latter being free, previously.

As with previous prices, the fees payable for the replacement of lost, stolen or damaged passports and documents will carry a 100% premium on the price – so citizens will have to pay double to replace these documents.

If the documents were lost, stolen or damaged through no fault of the applicant, the premium would be waived, and only the normal fee would apply, the department said.

For South Africans applying for documentation while outside the republic, the fees also carry a 100% premium, with passports costing R1,200, and maxi documents costing R2,400 at South Africa’s embassies, consulates and missions.

Emergency travel certificates remain unchanged at R140.

The prices come into effect on 1 November 2022.

The table below outlines the main changes:

Document Old price New price Change
Standard Adult Passport (32 pages) R400 R600 50%
Maxi Adult Passport (48 pages) R600 R1 200 100%
Child Passport R400 R600 50%
Crew Member Certificate R350 R600 71.4%
Emergency Travel Certificate R140 R140 0%

South Africa’s passports and processes for acquiring them are currently undergoing a security overhaul after incidents where home affairs officials were arrested for fraudulently processing illegal immigrants and foreigners were caught using false documents abroad.

In August, home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi said that his department would rescind some “luxuries” afforded to South Africans to tighten up passport security.

This includes removing the ability for anyone to pick up a passport on an applicant’s behalf or having passports shipped for collection to other parts of the country. Other changes include:

  • A passport can only be collected strictly from the office where it was applied for, whereas previously, you could collect it from any office in the country.
  • Only the person who applied for that passport can come and collect it by activating it through a fingerprint.
  • For minor children, their parents or guardians who helped them to apply for that passport will be the only ones allowed to come and collect it and activate using their own fingerprints.

Additional security measures in place include:

  • The Director-General of the Department of Home Affairs signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Interpol on 29 July 2022 on reporting lost and stolen passports.
  • South Africa is a signatory to the Convention on International Civil Aviation Origination (ICAO) and is subjected to regular audits, including on how it handles lost and stolen passports.
  • The Department has also revised its Standard Operating Procedures, Manuals and Policies regarding lost and stolen passports, and these are being implemented.

The minister said that these measures are part of the first phase in a three-phase process. The second and third phases are still to take place, with the second only being publicly announced once the required technologies and systems are in place. According to the minister, the third phase will remain secret to prevent fraudsters from exploiting it.

Read: Home Affairs nails 500 fake South African passports