The Smart ID card was introduced by the Department of Home Affairs for South Africa in 2013. Before that, the legal identity document for South African citizens was the old Green ID. As of 2023, the old identification is still being phased out. Even so, the smart ID has several advantages when compared to the green card. Here is how to submit your smart ID application online.
Who Can Apply for the Smart ID?
In order to apply for the Smart ID, you must meet the following conditions:
- You must be 16 years old and above, and
- You must be a born citizen of South Africa.
The old green ID document, a driver’s license, passport, a government-issued foreign identification card, or passport and ID from a country of birth can be used as legal identification in specified instances for those who do not meet these criteria.
Which Documents Are Required in Your Application for a Smart ID?
For your application to get the new Smart ID to be successful, you must submit the following documents:
- Green Bar-coded ID if you have one;
- Birth certificate for new applicants who never got the green ID or alternatively travel or identity documents of the old Transkei, Bophutatswana, Venda, or Ciskei homelands;
- Copies of legal documentation verifying a legal guardian in case of adoption;
- Copies of your parents’ IDs or copies of death certificates for any or all deceased parents if any;
- Proof of address for every applicant;
- Permanent resident certificate for new applicants; and
- A sworn affidavit and police case number for those who lost any ID documents and wish to apply for a new smart ID.
How Much Does it Cost to Get the Smart ID?
Application for a Smart ID is done free for all 16-year-olds who are first-time applicants. Citizens who are above 16 years old, those who have a green ID, and those who need a replacement for their original Smart ID will pay R 140 together with their application.
Smart ID Online Application Process
There are two ways you can apply for a Smart ID online which involve two processes:
- On the Department of Home Affairs eHome website, click on the “Apply Online for Your Smart ID or Passport” badge with a green and white e HomeAffairs logo.
- In the “Register Section,” click on “Go to registration.”
- On the next page, fill in your details including your name, your ID number if you have one or passport number or birth certificate number, date of birth, email address, and cell phone number. Press Next when you are done.
- In the next section upload the required documents listed in the second sub-title above, then press next.
- The next section is the payment section, you can pay online using EFTs or visit a bank branch to physically make a deposit payment.
- Next, you will select a Home Affairs or supporting bank branch that is near you where you will go to provide your fingerprints and have your photograph taken.
- On the Department of Home Affairs eHome website, go to the Branch Appointment Booking System (BABS).
- There you will have to provide your ID number. Select your type of identification and key in your ID number in the information box provided. Click Next when you’re done.
- On the next page, you will be required to fill in a form with your full name, cell phone number, and email if you have one. Click Authenticate when you are done.
- After that, you will schedule an appointment with a station. On the page, click on “Schedule Appointment.”
- On the new page, select your Province and City using the drop-down menu buttons.
- Next, choose ID Application in the drop-down menu for Product Type.
- After that, select the date range for which period will be convenient for you. Click on Find Slots when you are done.
- On the next page, you will get a list of dates and times during which stations will be open for smart ID card registrations. Choose a convenient date and time and then check the Agree checkbox.
- The new page will show you your details and give you the option to edit or confirm them. If all your details are correct, press the Confirm button.
- You will receive an SMS on your phone with a date, time, and a reference number.
After visiting the selected branch, you will print a confirmation letter. When your smart ID is ready for collection, you will receive an SMS telling you to go pick it up. It might also be useful to know that Smart IDs are also easily accessible offline. To help those old people and residents of rural areas access the new smart ID, there have been government deployments in rural centers, in community halls, and in several schools.
Why Should You Apply for the New Smart ID?
- The Smart ID will store all your biometric information in a microchip. These include your fingerprint and your photograph. These biometrics paired up with your name, gender, status as a citizen, date of birth, and ID number make the new ID document difficult to forge. Consequently, you will be less vulnerable to insurance, finance, social grants, and driver’s license-related fraud.
- A Smart ID is more durable compared to the Green ID. While the green ID book was a small booklet, the new smart ID is an even smaller card similar to a credit or debit card. As a result, the card does not wear out on the edges from frequent handling and pocketing as fast as the booklet did.
- Citizens who have just turned 16 and don’t have any identification document should apply for the Smart ID in order to access services and exercise their rights as citizens. You will need an ID in order to apply for matric exams, register as a voter, open a bank account and apply for a passport or a driver’s license.
Smart IDs are Not An Assurance of Being Fraud Proof
While Smart IDs are more secure than the green IDs that are now being phased out, it is important to take additional measures to shield yourself from personal data-related fraud. In an Open Educational Resource publication for 2019 to 2020 on The Effectiveness of the South African Smart ID, it was found that cases of fraud have still increased despite the use of Smart IDs being increasingly adopted in South Africa.
To secure your accounts, family, and friends against fraud related to the theft of your personal data, there are measures you can take. These measures include
- Never give out your ID information unless you have verified that it is a legal requirement for whoever requests the information to have it in order to provide a service.
- Keep all personal information that comes in the form of documents at home. These include your ID document, passport, bank statements, and proof of residence.
- Be careful when giving out your banking details. Always verify using the official contact details you have if there is any request that has been made before giving out details.
- Dispose of any personal and financial documents by shredding or burning them.
- In case your ID or passport is stolen, report it immediately and register with Fraud Prevention Services.
- Do not give your credit card details to anyone claiming to be an employee or agent for South African Revenue Authority (SARS) because SARS does not require your credit card information for any process.
- Do not respond to emails or links that ask you to provide your personal information or passwords.
- Do not open .htm or .html attachments claiming to be from SARS, they also do not send those.
- Download and install security patches on your devices as soon as they are made available. Regularly updated devices use the manufacturer’s internet and on-device malware protection that informs you immediately your information or device is at risk. They are usually as capable as standard protection from third-party providers of virus and spam protection. However, you can opt for this extra protection if you feel you need it.
- Use strong passwords on your devices which you should change regularly.
- Use locks and passwords on your devices just in case they are stolen.
- Use two-factor authentication for apps and online services that allow it.
How Long Will You Wait for a Smart ID After Submitting Your Application?
According to the Department of Home Affairs, you should receive your Smart ID 14 working days after you submit your application.
A smart ID is better than the previously used green ID because it is more durable and provides extra layers of security against personal information-related fraud. Despite the improved security though, fraudsters have come up with clever ways to acquire and use your personal information. For this reason, you should look at the measures you can take to minimize your vulnerability to modern fraudsters. They have been suggested above.