are Consular Services?
Who we are and what
we do / Assistance for South Africans Abroad /
services can South African citizens expect from Consular Officers? / What
services do Consular Officers not render to South African citizens? / Location
Who we are
& what we do
The Chief Directorate: Consular Services works in close collaboration with the Consular Sections of the South African Diplomatic Missions (Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates-General) abroad and the services listed are often performed through or in conjunction with our Diplomatic Missions abroad. If you need Consular assistance whilst abroad, you can contact the Consular Section of the South African Diplomatic Mission in the country directly. Alternatively you could obtain the information via the DIRCO's switchboard in Pretoria at (012) 351-1000 during office hours (08:00 – 16:30).
Emergency Consular services are available on a 24-hour basis. For emergency services you may contact the Chief Directorate: Consular Services during office hours and the DIRCO's Operations Room in Pretoria at telephone number (012) 351-1000/0035 after-hours. Officials at our Operations Room will liaise with the Chief Directorate: Consular Services, which will be available to provide specialised guidance and assistance after hours and over weekends.
South Africans abroad
For assistance when abroad contact the nearest South African Representative or the Department, Chief Directorate: Consular Services in Pretoria.
Depending on the service required a valid form of identification may be requested. If in doubt and when possible an initial telephonic enquiry may save time later.
Consular Services are of an advisory and non-financial nature and are provided free of charge, unless otherwise specified.
services can South African citizens expect from Consular Officers?
- Humanitarian assistance in emergencies (i.e. situations involving destitution or distress of South African nationals abroad). This includes, providing a support service in hostage cases as well as assistance rendered to South African nationals abroad in cases of political turmoil or natural disasters.
- In the event of an emergency, we communicate on behalf of South African nationals abroad with the next of kin and/or friends in South Africa.
- Logistical support and non-financial assistance for South African nationals who are in hospital abroad or who may need to be repatriated to SA for urgent medical or professional attention.
- Communication with the next-of-kin in the event of reported death or life threatening illness or injury. We also provide logistical assistance with the importation of mortal remains (including import permit applications) or burials of South African nationals abroad. We do not provide financial assistance arising from the death of a South African national abroad.
- Provide guidance to next-of-kin and liaison with relevant stakeholders in the search for missing persons abroad and/or determination of the whereabouts of South African nationals abroad under certain circumstances.
- Assistance to families under certain circumstances in facilitating the transfer of funds to family members in distress/destitute abroad where commercial means is non-existent or limited or where levels of destitution dictate. The family member in South Africa must deposit the funds at a regional office of the Department of Home Affairs.
- Advice, guidance and support to a parent/guardian in matters of child abduction. Where there is evidence that the health and safety of the child is in jeopardy, the matter is treated as an emergency.
- Abduction and kidnapping covers forcible restrictions on the freedom of movement of persons for different outcomes. All instances of kidnapping outside of South Africa should be reported to the DIRCO Operations Room immediately (+27-12-351-1000). We provide advice and guidance to the next of kin of affected nationals.
- Assistance and guidance to foreign representatives regarding their nationals in South Africa who need Consular assistance.
Click here for more information.
Assistance of a legal nature:
- Facilitate the service of process on defendants abroad;
- Convey requests for extradition, rogatory letters and evidence on commission between states.
- Authenticate public documents for use in different states.
- Provide advice, guidance and support to a parent/guardian, in collaboration with the Office of the Chief Family Advocate where required, in cases of abduction of South African children to foreign countries. Where there is evidence that the health and safety of the child is in jeopardy the matter is treated as an emergency.
- Since DIRCO and its Missions are not in a position to provide South African nationals with legal advice, it will be able to refer them to local institutions (e.g. law societies) to obtain information on where and how to brief local lawyers. (The Department cannot guarantee the nature and/or the quality the legal advice provided and does not accept any responsibility or liability in this respect).
- Diplomatic Missions will provide a list of local translators. (The Department cannot vouch for the competence of the translator(s) provided).
- Assist to replace lost, stolen, damaged or expired passports abroad and South African Identity documents (the service is performed on behalf of the Department of Home Affairs, and prescribed fees apply);
- Request the local authorities to investigate suspicious deaths of and crimes against South African citizens;
- Provide guidance in collaboration with the Department of Social Development on matters relating to intercountry adoptions;
- Provide assistance and guidance to foreign representatives regarding their nationals in South Africa.
do Consular Officers NOT render to South African citizens?
- Institute court proceedings or obtain legal advice on behalf of South African nationals locally and abroad.
- Secure a release from prison/detention;
- Intervene in court and legal proceedings (in foreign countries); to secure the release of South African nationals from prison, to secure bail or an early trail;
- Support a South African national financially whilst in prison;
- Render any form of legal advice;
- Assist with the transfer of funds to a national who is not in distress;
- Interfere in or initiate court or legal proceedings on behalf of South African citizens and body corporate;
- Request local authorities to give preferential treatment to South Africans;
- Investigate crimes or deaths;
- Return a child that has been abducted by a parent / family member.
- Obtain a criminal record check on your behalf;
- Pay for cremations, burials or the repatriation of mortal remains to South Africa;
- Enforce a South African custody agreement abroad or compel a country to decide a custody case;
- Pay hotel, legal, medical or any other bills;
- Pay travelling expenses;
- Undertake work done by travel agents, airlines, banks, etc.;
- Obtain accommodation, visas-, study-, work permits or work on your behalf;
- Intervene on your behalf in disputes between employer and employee;
- Store personal effects or search for lost items;
- Accept personal mail and parcels;
- Issue pensions and social security benefits;
- Formally assist dual nationals in the country of their second nationality.
Contact the Chief Directorate: Consular Services:
a) In person during official working hours by appointment only. The physical address is:
Department International Relations and Cooperation
Consular Services, NE2A-Ground Floor
OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road
b) By mail. The postal address is Chief Directorate: Consular Services, Department of International Relations and Cooperation, Private Bag X152, Pretoria, 0001;
c) Telephonically, by fax or e-mail.
Fax number (Consular): +27 (0)12 329 1752
Fax number (Legalisation): +27 (0)12 329 1018
Telephone number: +27 (0)12 351 1000
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (Consular enquiries)
E-mail: email@example.com (Legalisation enquiries i.e. Authentications and Apostilles)
In case of an after-hours emergency, kindly contact the Department's Opsroom at:
Tel: +27 (0)12 351 1000.
For the contact details click here.
Contact SA Representatives abroad.
Contact the Department’s Operations Room in case of an emergency after hours:
a) From South Africa: (012) 351 1000
b) Outside South Africa: +27 (0)12 351 1000