What are Consular Services
Contact Details
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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 in the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, in close collaboration with the Consular Sections of South African Representatives abroad provides consular services to South African citizens who work, live and travel abroad.

Consular Services operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. On weekends and after hours, assistance is rendered in co-operation with the Department's Operations Room in Pretoria. The Operations Room supports our 113 Representatives in 100 countries affording services that cover the entire world.

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:

  • Assistance in evacuation planning of South African citizens abroad in cases of political turmoil, natural or manmade disasters. The nature of the event (e.g. a nuclear disaster) and considerations of safety could influence the ability to respond. (Note that evacuation from a location abroad is not a right that can be claimed from the State);

  • In the event of an emergency, communicate on behalf of South African citizens abroad with family and/or friends in South Africa;

  • Provide non-financial assistance for repatriation and urgently needed medical or professional attention;

  • Liaise with the local authorities to search for missing persons and/or determine the whereabouts of South African citizens abroad;

  • Assist families under certain circumstances by facilitating the transfer of funds to family members in distress abroad;

  • Provide support services and advice in cases of hostage taking, kidnapping or abduction.

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 non-financial assistance to victims of crime.

  • 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);

  • Notify next of kin in the event of death or life threatening illness or injury of a South African citizen abroad.

  • Provide non-financial assistance and advice regarding the disposal of mortal remains of South Africans who died abroad;

  • 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?

  • Secure a release from prison/detention;

  • Intervene in court and legal proceedings (in foreign countries);

  • Give legal advice;

  • 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;

  • 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
Legalisation Section NE2A-Ground Floor
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: 10 November 2009
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2003 Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of South Africa