The death of a person must be reported to the following individuals in accordance with the Births and Deaths Registration Act:


  • Department of Home Affairs specific officers.
  • Members of the South African Police Service, especially in rural areas where the DHA has no offices.
  • Consulate or embassy of South Africa, if the death occurred overseas.
  • Legally authorised funeral directors.


You must fill out Form BI-1663 (Notification of death or stillbirth). Different sections need to be completed by different people:


  • The person who reported the death.
  • Medical practitioners (or traditional leaders in rural areas if no medical practitioner is available to assist).
  • Officials from the Department of Home Affairs can complete the form. Whenever an official from the DHA is unavailable, members of the SAPS can do so.


After a death has been registered, a Death Report (Form BI-1680) will be issued. A burial order (Form BI-14) may also be issued by these individuals. Burials cannot take place without a burial order.


Upon receipt of notification of death, the Department of Home Affairs will issue a death certificate. You must verify the death certificate’s details, such as the ID number, name and surname spellings, and marital status of the deceased. Corrections to the certificate must be made at Home Affairs if there are errors. You should notify the following people:


  • All family members and friends should be notified of the death.
  • The employer should be notified.
  • An individual’s Will should contain information about his or her wishes, and anyone named in the Will should be contacted in accordance with the Will. 

Can You Register a Death over the Phone

There’s no way to register a death over the phone in South Africa. You need to visit the Department of Home Affairs and fill in a notification of death.

What if a Death Occurs Outside of South Africa?

If a South African citizen or permanent resident permits holder passes away outside South Africa, it should be reported by their family at the nearest South African embassy abroad. When a death is reported, a copy of the death certificate should be received by the South African Embassy or Mission in the country of the deceased. 


Assisting with the paperwork and arrangements regarding the transportation of the body to South Africa is the responsibility of the embassy or mission if the deceased will be buried in their home country.


Once the family returns to their home country (outside of South Africa), it can be challenging to obtain a death certificate, especially an unabridged death certificate. Should you need to apply for a death certificate for a loved one from abroad, we can help. For more information, get in touch with DocAssist today. 


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