People are often unaware of how to register a death or obtain a death certificate in South Africa. Losing a loved one can be tough enough. The last thing you need is to deal with stressful legal processes to resolve family matters.


A South African citizen’s death is subject to specific requirements and procedures according to the SA Births and Deaths Registration Act 51 of 1992. If a person dies outside of the country, the death must be reported to the Department of Home Affairs, the South African Police Service, or the South African Consulates, Embassies or Missions.


The person reporting the death, usually a medical practitioner, a member of the South African Police Service or a Home Affairs official, has to fill out the Notification of Death. The DHA issues a report after you register a death. Once the death report is issued, you can obtain a burial order. An abridged death certificate will be provided as well. Additional fees and processing times apply if you require an unabridged death certificate.


But, what happens when a South African citizen dies abroad? The nearest South African embassy or mission must be informed of a South African citizen’s death abroad. An official death certificate must then be issued by the country where the death occurred. After which, a copy of the foreign certificate goes to a South African mission or embassy to report the death.


What is the processing time for a copy of a South African death certificate? Death certificates may take months to obtain, depending on how easy it is to find the records in the archives. The safekeeping of death certificates and all documents associated with a death report is therefore imperative. The original documents are not always easy to obtain.


How Can I Get a Copy of Death Certificate South Africa?

Obtaining a copy of an unabridged or abridged death certificate or applying for a South African death certificate requires following the steps outlined above. A new death certificate must include a Notification of Death form and a Death Report Form. You can use an agency like Doc Assist to apply for an unabridged death certificate if you already have an abridged one.


We encourage you to submit supporting documents to make the process faster and easier. ID documents, as well as paperwork pertaining to the deceased and the cause of death, should be included.


Doc Assist can help you apply for a copy of an unabridged death certificate in a matter of weeks. We can also expedite an existing application to speed up the process. 


Get in touch with us today to have your South African legal documents like death certificates, marriage certificates and birth certificates processed in no time!


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