The Extra Mile
My SA passport has expired, can I use my foreign passport to travel instead?
Our travel expert has the answer
Q. I have a valid British passport and an expired South African passport. I intend travelling to the UK next year. Must I renew my South African passport to exit and enter SA or can I use my British passport? - Kevin Morgan
A. If you are a South African citizen and resident in the country, using your British passport to exit SA is illegal.
The issue is simple: if you were to present your British passport at the immigration desk at any South African port of departure, the official would assume either that you were a departing tourist - and would check the date you arrived in the country - or that you had a valid residence permit for SA. The residence permit, if you had one, would be in your British passport.
That's even if you got that far. Airline staff are becoming ever more vigilant about checking whether their passengers have all the correct documentation before allowing them through check-in. Largely, this is because the airlines face hefty fines if they deliver passengers to places without the correct paperwork. They also have to foot the bill of returning the person to their country of origin.
You'd be wise to play it safe and renew your SA passport. The good news is that the process has been greatly simplified.
The first thing you have to do is create a profile on the Home Affairs portal and book an appointment to supply your biometric data.
I recently renewed my SA passport through the home affairs office at Standard Bank's Killarney branch, and it took less than a week. Either way, start the process well before you travel.
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