How can you get a birth certificate with no proof of birth or parent’s ID?

How can you get a birth certificate with no proof of birth or parent’s ID?

The short answer

You could make a sworn affidavit explaining your circumstances, but you may need legal help.

The whole question

Dear Athalie

How can my 19-year-old brother get a birth certificate when he has no proof of birth (he was born at home), his father’s whereabouts are unknown, our late mother did not have an ID? My mother’s death certificate is handwritten, and I used it to apply for birth certificates for my younger siblings but it is now being rejected by Home Affairs.

The long answer

Section 28 of the Constitution says that “Every child has the right to a name and a nationality from birth.” The problem is that a child needs a birth certificate to access these rights, and as you have applied successfully for birth certificates for your other siblings, using the handwritten death certificate, you should certainly not give up now.

It may be worthwhile to make a sworn affidavit. In it, you should say that as your stepfather’s whereabouts are unknown, and your mother is deceased, you are the next of kin who must apply for a birth certificate for your brother. Mention that the handwritten death certificate is your late mother’s death certificate, and that Home Affairs has accepted it as valid in previous applications for birth certificates for your siblings. You should name the dates when this was done and the Home Affairs offices where the applications were made, and the dates when the birth certificates were issued to your siblings. You could take this affidavit to the same office of Home Affairs where the death certificate was previously accepted.

To receive an official death certificate from Home Affairs, you would need to submit a notification of death (Form B1-1663) and the Death Report (Form B1-1680).

Form B1-1663 has to be completed by three parties: the person reporting the death, a medical practitioner and the Home Affairs official or, if unavailable, a police officer. One of the items on this form is the deceased person’s ID number, so that would be a problem as your late mother did not have an ID.

Form B1-1680 is issued after a death has been registered by traditional leaders, police offers or authorised undertakers.

If Home Affairs continues to reject the handwritten death certificate for your brother’s application for a birth certificate, it may be best to take your affidavit to one of the following organisations which have much experience in dealing with Home Affairs:


Tel: Musina: 015 534 2203, Durban: 031 301 0531, Pretoria: 012   3202943, Johannesburg: 011 339 1960.


Tel: 021 465 6433. You can also call the Legal Support Hotline on 066 076 8845. To get in touch with their Advocacy Programme, you can call 078 260 3536 or send a please-call-me. This is operational between 9am and 4pm, Monday to Friday.

  •  The Legal Resources Centre:


Tel: Johannesburg 011 836 9831, Cape Town 021 481 3000.

Wishing you the best,

Answered on Aug. 2, 2022, 11:31 a.m.

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