What are Consular Services
Contact Details
  Current Issues
Deaths Abroad
Arrested Abroad
Consular Notarial Services (Legalisation of Official (Public) Documents)
End User Certificates
Service Delivery Charter
SA Representation Abroad
Foreign Representation in SA
SA Missions: Commissioner of Oaths


What are Consular Services?

Who we are and what we do / Assistance for South Africans Abroad /
What services can South African citizens expect from Consular Officers? / What services do Consular Officers not render to South African citizens? / Location and contacts

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.

Assistance for 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 free unless otherwise specified.

What services can South African citizens expect from Consular Officers?

In emergencies:

  • 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 custodial parent/guardian in matters of child abduction or child stealing. 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 Operations Room immediately. 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.
In detention:

Click here for more information.

Legal and Notary:
  • Facilitate the serving of legal summons on defendants abroad;

  • Convey requests for extradition, rogatory letters and evidence on commission between states.

  • Authenticate public documents for use between states.

  • Provide advice, guidance and support to the custodial parent/guardian, in collaboration with the Office of the Family Advocate where indicated, 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.

  • Provide a list of local lawyers and/or detail of local Law Commissions. (The Department cannot vouch for the competence of any lawyer and does not accept responsibility or liability for information provided in good faith).

  • Provide a list of local translators. (The Department cannot vouch for the competence of the translator(s) provided).
Other services:

  • Assist to replace lost, stolen, damaged or expired passports abroad (fees apply);

  • Under certain circumstances provide an emergency loan to a destitute citizen (subject to repayment with interest and only granted if requirements are met. This is done in consultation with the Department of Home Affairs);

  • 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 adoptions;

  • Provide assistance and guidance to foreign representatives regarding their nationals in South Africa;

What services 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 get South African nationals out of prison, on bail or an early trail;

  • Support a South African national financially whilst in prison;

  • Give 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, work or work permits 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.

Location and Contacts

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. 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 12) 351 1000

To add value and improve consular services to the public, this consular site is constantly under construction. For consular related services, information and enquiries you are not able to find on this site, please contact the Chief Directorate Consular Services or the Webmaster.

Last updated: 14 May 2014
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2003 Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of South Africa