Death certificates are required for the settlement of an estate, claiming insurance benefits, paying pension claims, and closing an estate. 


The Department of Home Affairs will issue a Death Certificate following receipt of the Death Notification and the Death Report. The first copy is usually free of charge. 


The Department of Home Affairs accepts applications for Death Certificates at all of its offices. The family of a South African citizen who dies abroad should contact a South African embassy, consulate or mission.

Death Certificate Types


Abridged death certificates are computer prints that do not include all the relevant details of the death. Home Affairs needs the ID number as well as details about the death to register a death. The application will be processed in around one week. It is mandatory to provide all details about the death in addition to the ID number.


Unabridged death certificates give exclusive information about the deceased and the circumstances of their death. You can legalize or apostille a computer printout of this type of death certificate.


Doc Assist can only expedite death certificate applications that have already been submitted to a DHA office in South Africa.


You might need an unabridged Death Certificate for the following reasons:


  • Visa applications for certain countries  
  • Emigration purposes
  • Citizenship applications abroad


Depending on how easily records can be located in the archives, it may take 3 to 6 weeks to expedite the application. Both types of death certificates are subject to a fee based on the number of certificates needed.

Can You Find Death Certificates Online?

While the Department of Home Affairs maintains birth, marriage, and death records, the physical records are not available to the general public. A written request for information must be made to the Department of Home Affairs, giving specific information about the event.


There’s no way to apply for a death certificate online. Not if you want to apply directly to DHA. But, if you use a document agent like ourselves, you can send us the details via email, and we can expedite an existing application. 


South Africans can contact DocAssist for help with legal documents. You can obtain a copy of a birth certificate, marriage certificate or death certificate quickly and efficiently through us. Reach out to Doc Assist for more information or for assistance!


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