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How to Track a South African Passport Application

Updated April 17, 2017

Since 2007, the South African government has made it possible for citizens to track the status and delivery of not only their passport book, but applications for their official South African documents as well. Application status can be checked in two ways, by means of a text message or a visit to the proper Internet site.

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  1. Dial 32551 to send an SMS or text message query.

  2. Enter "P" without the quotation marks, followed by a space. Enter your ID or identity document number. The message should look like this: P 5001010050080

  3. Send the message. The cost of sending your message will be R1, or one African Rand.

  4. Read the displayed results.

  5. Visit the ID/passport book query web page.

  6. Enter your identity document number.

  7. Click on "Enquire."

  8. Read the displayed results.

  9. Tip

    Allow time for your passport book application to process. It is important that you do not make travel arrangements until the receipt of your South African passport book, as processing time typically takes six months. If you must make arrangements, it is important that you apply well in advance of any anticipated travel, allowing time not only for the six-month processing window, but the application and processing times of any visas you might require. At a minimum, the time to receive a tourist visa to your chosen destination can take a month. It can take longer if travelling there for employment, educational pursuits or for business. In the event that your travel date draws near and you've neither received your passport book nor a satisfactory answer via the passport query tool, look into getting a Temporary Passport or Emergency travel certificate, issued by South African missions abroad. The South African government has begun the process of phasing out temporary passports, and will only issue them in the case of emergencies. Emergency travel certificates are also limited in scope, and reserved for South Africans who have lost their passport and need to return home. The processing time for a temporary passport and emergency travel certificate is roughly three weeks. Not all countries accept these last-minute options, however, so it's important to research the policies of your anticipated destination beforehand.

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Things You'll Need

  • Identity document number

About the Author

Shewanda Pugh attended Alabama A&M University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in political science. She also holds a Master of Arts in writing from Nova Southeastern University. Pugh's work has been featured in several print publications, including the "Farquhar Forum," "Go!Riverwalk" and "Foreword Magazine."

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