Smart ID cards in SA: what you need to know

The department of home affairs has released a Q&A looking at the most frequently asked questions about its new smart IDs which it is set to roll out on 18 July 2013.

The new ID card will replace the current green ID book, and include fingerprint biometrics and biographic data security features, embedded on the 80 kilobytes card chip.

The rollout of the smart ID cards is expected to take as much as 6 to 8 years to complete.

  • Where will I be able to get a Smart ID Card?

You will be able to get a Smart ID Card at three (3) offices in each of the nine (9) provinces. The number of offices at which you can get a Smart ID Card will be increased to 70 by the end of March 2014.

The list will also be published on the website

  • When will I be able to get a Smart ID Card?

You will be able to get a Smart ID Card at any of the 27 offices listed above from July 2013.

  • Who is going to get a Smart Card ID?

When the Department begins to roll out the Smart ID Card, it will be issued to 16 year olds who apply for IDs and to pensioners. It will also be issued to South Africans who re-apply for their IDs.

We will thereafter be issuing IDs to South Africans by the year of their birth. This will ensure that we are able to issue IDs to all South Africans without putting extreme pressure on our offices or systems.

  • What form of ID will the rest of us receive?

The remaining Home Affairs offices will issue green ID books to clients.

  • How much will the Smart ID Card cost?

Your first Smart ID Card will be issued to you for free.

South Africans who will replace their current green ID books will pay R140 to get the Smart ID Card.

  • How long will it take to get it?

It is envisaged that the new smartcard process will take only three days, whereas the turnaround time on the old green barcoded ID was about 54 days after application.

The Department of Home Affairs has said that it is likely to be able to produce three million ID cards a year.

  • How long is the card supposed to last?

The Department has chosen the technology and material to ensure that the card will last for at least 10 years.

  • What is the benefit of the Smart ID Card?

It can be conveniently carried in your wallet or purse because of its size and shape. It is the same size and shape as your other cards – bank cards, SASSA card, credit card etc.

Your personal information is stored in a computer chip in the card. The chip cannot be stolen from your card therefore your information will be safe.

Your fingerprints will also be stored in the computer chip in the card. The information contained in the Smart ID card cannot be easily stolen or duplicated

  • What do I need to apply for a Smart ID Card?

You need a birth certificate to apply for a Smart ID Card.

  • What can I do while I wait for my Smart ID Card?

Make sure that your case is resolved if you have been informed you have a duplicate ID, and make sure you have your birth certificate. You can apply to have your birth registered through the late registration of birth process at any Home Affairs office.

You cannot receive a Smart ID Card without a birth certificate.

  • What will happen if I lose my Smart ID Card?

You must report it to the police and then re-apply for your Smart ID Card. You will be required to pay the fee for a re-issue of the Smart ID Card.

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Smart ID cards in SA: what you need to know