Home English |  
Bilateral Relations
Trade and Industry

African Union (AU)

South African
Community (SADC

Trade and Investment South Africa (TISA)

Market Theatre

Voter registration for South African citizens living abroad in February 2019


Voter registration for South African citizens living abroad will take place at all South African foreign missions from 1 to 4 February 2019.

Registration will take place during office hours at South Africa’s 120 foreign missions, including high commissions, embassies and consulates worldwide. A full list of South Africa’s missions is available on the website of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) at http://www.dirco.gov.za/foreign/sa_abroad/index.htm.

The finalisation of international voter registration follows the signing of a cooperation agreement with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) on registration and voting at diplomatic missions abroad.

The agreement gives effect to the Electoral Act 73 of 1998 which provides for all eligible South African citizens to register and vote in national elections. DIRCO has assisted the Electoral Commission with the registration and voting of citizens abroad since 1999.

All South Africa citizens aged 16 years and older and in possession of an official South African identity document (either a blue barcoded ID book, a smartcard ID or a temporary ID certificate) are eligible to register as voters.

Citizens who live abroad must present themselves in person at their nearest South African mission in order to register as voters. In order to apply for registration they will require their South African identity document as well as a valid South African passport.

Citizens living abroad who are already registered to vote – either on the national or international segment of the voters’ roll – need not re-register but will be required to inform the Electoral Commission of their intention to vote outside of the country.

They do so by completing an online form (Notification and Application to CEO for Special Votes Abroad) indicating the mission at which they intend voting. This form will be available on the website at www.elections.org.za from the date the 2019 national election is proclaimed for a 15-day period.

The Electoral Commission will issue a notice to this effect after proclamation. For updates on the process to apply to vote abroad please follow the Electoral Commission on social media (@IECSouthAfrica on Twitter and Facebook) or visit the website www.elections.org.za.


Ensuring free, fair and credible elections

For media queries: Please contact Kate Bapela on 082 600 6386

For media interviews: Please email requests to spokesperson@elections.org.za

You can also find the IEC on –


Who needs to register to vote abroad?

To vote in South Africa’s elections, you must be registered as a voter. First-time voters who are not currently on South Africa’s voters’ roll must apply for registration at their nearest South African embassy, high commission or consulate-general. Voters who live abroad, but were previously registered in South Africa, are still registered to vote and are not required to re-register.

What do I need to register to vote abroad?

You must:

  • Be a South African citizen
  • Be at least 16 years old
  • Have a valid South African ID – either the green barcoded ID book OR smart ID card or Temporary ID Certificate
  • Have a valid South African passport.

Where can I register abroad?

You must apply in person for registration at your nearest South African embassy, high commission or consulate-general (visit http://www.dirco.gov.za/foreign/sa_abroad/index.htm for locations and contact info) during their normal office hours. Please note that it is not possible to register or vote at honorary consuls’ offices.

When can I register abroad?

The registration event will take place from 1 to 4 February 2019 for South African citizens abroad.

How can I check if I’m already registered?

Visit the My Voter Registration Details page at https://www.elections.org.za/content/For-voters/My-voter-registration-details/ on the Electoral Commission’s website and submit your ID number. Should you visit South Africa before the 2019 elections, you can also SMS your ID Number to 32810 (R1.00 per SMS sent or received) for your registration status and voting station details. (This SMS facility is only available if you are in the Republic of South Africa.)

What documentation do I need to take with me to register?

Please take BOTH your South African ID (green, bar-coded South African ID book, smart ID card, or valid Temporary Identity Certificate) AND your valid South African passport. Both documents are essential. Only original documents can be accepted – no copies.

What if my ID and passport have different surnames, for example, one still has my maiden name? Do I need to re-register?

You do not need to re-register. The Electoral Commission uses your identity number and checks it against the National Population Register (NPR). We then get your name as it’s reflected on the NPR (the Department of Home Affairs automatically changes your name when you get married), and that is the name that appears on the voters’ roll. You can apply for a new ID/passport reflecting your changed name if you want to. These new documents can be applied for at any South African mission abroad or at the Department of Home Affairs in South Africa.

I am already a registered voter, but my given address is in South Africa. Do I need to provide the Electoral Commission with my new address where I live abroad?

Yes. By law the Electoral Commission is obliged to have an up-to-date and complete address recorded for each voter. Please email the Electoral Commission at info@elections.org.za and provide us with your ID number, full names, and new address so that your information can be updated on the voters’ roll. Please note that to be eligible to vote out-of-country, voters will still need to inform the Chief Electoral Officer of the Electoral Commission via the completion of an online “Notification and application to CEO for special votes abroad” form (formerly the VEC10 form) – to be available at www.elections.org.za – of their intention to vote, and by indicating the mission at which they will be voting, once the 2019 national election is proclaimed.

When are the 2019 elections going to be held?

The date for the 2019 national and provincial elections is only expected to be announced by the President in early 2019. In terms of the Constitution the elections must be held within 90 days of the expiry of the current term of the National Assembly and provincial legislatures. Their term expires on 6 May 2019, and the 90 day period ends on 5 August 2019, so the elections must take place between these dates. The President has indicated his intention to call an election before the end of May 2019.

For general queries:


2019 - Out of country registration  for Presidential Elections

  • Registration out of country will take place at all Embassies, Consulates-General and High Commissions.
  • Citizens can check whether they are registered on the voters' roll via the website of the Electoral Commission (EC) at www.elections.org.za.

If registered inside South Africa then it is not necessary to register again abroad.

  • In order to be eligible to vote abroad, the voter will have to inform the Chief Electoral Officer via the completion of an online VEC10 of their intention to vote outside of the country. The online VEC10 will only be available on the website at www.elections.org.za  from the date that the NPE2019 election is proclaimed, for a 15 day period.

                Requirement for Registration

    • An ID document or Smart ID card or Valid Temporary ID Certificate (TIC) 
    • A valid passport.
    • Apply to register in person at an Embassy, Consulate-General or High Commission
    • Applicant to complete a REC1/OC form.

(It is not necessary to complete the Voting District at the bottom right of the form).

On 10 January 2018 Charge d'Affaires a.i. Mashudubele Mamabolo received 16 students from the Free State at the South African Embassy. They will study at the Agricultural University in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Acting CSM Ms Christine Johnson also attended.

The students were accompanied by Mr P Thabethe, Head of the Department: Agriculture and Rural Development, Free State Provincial Administration and by Ms Kamogelo Kitsa, official from the Free State Provincial Administration.

On 25 October 2017, Ambassador Calvert met with representatives of the newly formed Bulgaria-South Africa Friendship Group in the Bulgarian Parliament. The most effective ways to expand bilateral relations between South Africa and Bulgaria were discussed during the meeting.
In the picture

(L-R bottom): Aleksandar Ivanov, MP  (Chairman of the group), Ambassador Vanessa  Calvert.

(L-R top): Nikolay Aleksandrov, MP, Adlen Shevked, MP, Mr M Mamabolo, Counsellor: Bilateral Affairs, at the South African Embassy, Mr Spas Panchev, MP.
International Mandela Day
The South African Mission once again celebrated International Mandela Day by undertaking 67 minutes of community service on the former President's birthday, 18 July. The 67 minutes symbolise 67 years of uninterrupted and selfless service to the people of South Africa and the world since Mandela joined the African National Congress in 1942.

This year the Nelson Mandela International Day was observed under the theme Action Against Poverty and so the South African Embassy in Sofia used Mandela Day to intensify the fight against poverty. We requested the diplomatic missions in Sofia to observe Mandela's legacy by sending foodstuff to our Embassy, which we will donate to the poor region of Montana in Bulgaria.

Further to that, on Mandela Day, the staff of our Mission visited Father Ivan's orphanage in the village of Novi Han near Sofia. The orphanage shelters mainly young single mothers and their children who are homeless, jobless and have nowhere to go.

We were received by Father Ivan and about 20 children aged from 5 to 12 years. We shared beautiful moments with them by engaging in creative, educational activities. It was obvious that this interaction was not only enlightening for the children, but also brought them a lot of joy and excitement.

Our Mission's efforts to popularize Mandela Day in Bulgaria have borne fruit. It is with great pleasure that we came to know that a lady residing in the Bulgarian city of Rousse has launched an initiative to raise 8500 Bulgarian Leva within a period of 67 days for the purchase of a defibrillator for the Oncology clinic in Rousse.
Celebrating 25 years of diplomatic relations between South Africa and Bulgaria
The Embassy of the Republic of South Africa in Bulgaria in conjunction with  Sofia Municipality are exhibiting  "South Africa – Development, Culture, Economy, Nature" to celebrate 25 years of diplomatic relations between South Africa and Bulgaria.

The exhibition aims to display South Africa's natural beauty, its cultural diversity, its history, the development of South Africa's economy. We trust that the exhibition will help the Bulgarian public gain more understanding about the Rainbow Nation, about South Africa's rich culture and traditions and infrastructural development.

The exhibition includes 60 photos on display at the Lovers' Bridge near the National Palace of Culture (NDK) in the heart of Sofia. It was opened on 17 July and will be on display until 31 July 2017.
Initiative of Ambassador Calvert
On initiative of Ambassador Calvert, the city council in the Bulgarian capital city Sofia has named a street in the Lozenets residential area after anti-apartheid hero, Nobel Prize winner and late South African President Nelson Mandela.

The municipal decision, taken on 27 April, was celebrated at a ceremony at the South African embassy.

At the ceremony, attended by representatives of Sofia mayor Yordanka Fandukova, and by Lozenets mayor Lyubomir Drekov and a visiting South African delegation headed by Butana Komphela, MEC of Health in the Free State Province, a certificate of the street naming was handed to Ambassador Vanessa Calvert.

Representatives of the Diplomatic Corps were present amongst whom the Russian Ambassador, Ambassadors of the Africa Group, the Indonesian Ambassador, etc. Members of the South Africa-Bulgaria Friendship Forum and representatives of the Bulgarian mass media also attended the event.
H E Ms Vanessa Calvert
More Information
Statistics South Africa
South Africa Reserve Bank
South African Revenue Services
Johannesburg Stock Exchange
Government Online
South African Airways
South African Tourism
National Parks of South Africa
Wines of South Africa
South Africa Broadcasting Corporation
© South African Embassy Sofia, Bulgaria | Disclaimer