South Africa: Update on Issuance of Birth Certificates and Passports for Adoptees

Last Updated: August 20, 2019

The Department of State, Office of Children’s Issues, wishes to advise U.S. prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) and adoption service providers (ASPs) of possible long delays in the processing time to complete an adoption from South Africa. 

The South African Department of Home Affairs (DHA) recently changed its process for how Convention adoptions are noted on birth certificates. Adopted children must wait for the final noting in the DHA population registry as well as for the issuance of a new South African identification number and birth certificate before applying for a passport. This change has resulted in significant delays of eight to ten weeks (or possibly more) before adoptive parents receive a passport for their child to travel to the United States. 

DHA has advised the South African Central Authority and Consulate General Johannesburg that there will be no expedited service for intercountry adoption cases. 

We encourage PAPs to keep their travel plans flexible while they wait for birth certificates and passports. PAPs preparing to travel to South Africa soon to finalize adoptions and families currently in South Africa awaiting these documents should continue to work closely with their adoption service provider. 

Please note the Consulate General in Johannesburg and the South African Central Authority are aware of the significant delays and of the direct impact this has on families. Consulate General Johannesburg and the Office of Children’s Issues will continue to follow the situation.

Please continue to monitor for information. We will update this site as new information becomes available.  For questions about this notice, please email the Office of Children’s Issues at