South African DHA Revises Guidance on Issuance of Personal Identification Documents

Last Updated: July 16, 2021

This notice supersedes the Office of Children’s Issues South Africa adoption notice entitled “South Africa: Continued Delays and Uncertainties” from October 19, 2020.  

The Department of Homeland Affairs (DHA) recently revised its internal guidance to expedite the issuance of personal documents within six working days after the completion of an intercountry adoption from South Africa. Prior to April 28, 2021 families that completed adoptions had been unable to emigrate for several months as they waited for these documents. However, this new guidance enables adopted children to depart South Africa prior to the finalization of name change applications and thereby reduces the lengthy historical delays for families seeking to emigrate after the completion of their adoption.  

While we expect that this new guidance will reduce the previous delays, the Department recommends that U.S. families continue to seek information from their ASP about the risks associated with unknown delays related to emigration from South Africa to understand how it may impact them, before accepting a referral of a child available for intercountry adoption from South Africa and/or before traveling to South Africa to finalize your adoption. 

Please continue to monitor for information. For questions about this notice, please email the Office of Children’s Issues at