It is important to follow up on South African passport applications diligently because the turnaround time involved can mean the difference between travelling or staying at home. It can take six months or longer from the time of application to actually get a South African passport, although temporary passports and emergency travel certificates are issued at South African missions abroad and take three weeks to finalise. Although South African passports are only issued in Pretoria, passport applications are submitted to the relevant embassy, consulate or representative office--the initial point of contact for following up on passport applications.
Track delivery of the passport application using the tracking number issued by the courier company to ensure that the application was delivered to the relevant department. Keep a record of the date of delivery.
Call the relevant department to follow up on the passport application and to establish contact names of people at that location four weeks after date of delivery. Residents in areas under New York's jurisdiction may check the list of passports ready for release on the New York Consulate General website. If the new passport is ready, send the current passport to that office for cancellation--it will be returned with the new passport.
Follow up with an e-mail to the representative office, referring to the telephone enquiry. In addition, either e-mail the Department of Home Affairs in Pretoria with full name and 13-digit ID number, or text the letters "PP" space followed by the ID number to 32551. Additionally, you can call the customer service department to follow up on the South African passport application.
Be sure to send a prepaid envelope with applicant's name and address indicated as both the sender (return address) and receiver (addressee) on the envelope when applying for the passport. Wait at least four weeks after submitting the application to the relevant embassy or consulate before following up on South African passport applications because there could be delays with the diplomatic bag mail between missions and Pretoria. Call before noon, as consular services are not open in the afternoon.
The onus is on the applicant to keep track of the application. There could be errors or omissions in the passport application that require rectifying, and the authorities may not immediately convey this information to the applicant.