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marcjvr

Sa Passport Renewal

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Hi All

 

I am filling out the forms to mail to the SA consulate in New York to get a new SA passport (my current one expires in march next year). I am in Charlotte, NC.

 

On the BI-73 form it states:

 

"South African passports or other travel documents presently in the possession of the applicant must be submitted with this application"

 

Does that mean I have to send in my existing passport with my application, or just a notarized copy? It is not very clear.

 

I tried to phone the consulate, but got their answering machine.

 

Hoping someone who has gone through this recently, who knows for certain, and can clarify the requirement.

 

I have a deadline to meet to get my new passport, so want to get it right the first time.

 

Thanks for any help

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I believe you have to send in your existing passport with the other papers. We did that when we renewed ours recently.

 

Just a friendly word of caution if you have any travel plans within the next 12 months or so - we waited...waited... and then we waited some more before ours eventually arrived.

 

It took about six months for my wife's to be re-issued, but it took a full year for mine to be processed. I think we were just unlucky because some people claim to have waited for only three months. Who knows?

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They want your existing passport - and it's really scary to be without it.

We did not wait very long when we last renewed about 8 years ago but I have seen and heard that the wait can be quite a while now.

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I just renewed and it took five and half months to get my new passport. I submitted all my forms in January 2015 and received my passport mid June.

I applied in person at NYC consulate and took all my original docs, of which they made copies and handed them straight back, so I assume they would send your passport back(?), but maybe someone else can weigh in.

 

I did this about 2 years ago and it took 4 months, but I would take heed and plan at least 6 months ahead, per other members' experiences.

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Thanks for the heads up! I had not looked at my passport's expiry date in a while. I have 8 months before it expires. I had better start that process going soon.

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Excellent. Was doing the same research just last week in prep for my passport that expires in 2017.

 

Does anyone know (off the top of their head) what the travel restrictions are in the months leading up to taking up US citizenship and filing your N-400? I vaguely remember there being one of some sort.

 

My ZA passport is going to expire 6 months before we apply for our US citizenship and figured that if we can't travel during those months before hand, I might as well just wait until we get our U.S. passports before the PITA of renewing my ZA one...

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Couple of things here -

  1. There are no travel restrictions up to taking up your US citizenship - you can be in and out of the country as much and often as you need to be, providing that you still meet the physical prescence test (i.e. you must have been in the country at least 30 months in the 5 years preceding your application for citizenship.
  2. Logistically, it may be tricky, as once you lodge your application, there are still 3 physical appointments to attend, which you must be in the US for, and attend - and these appointments are not at times/dates of your choosing. First, the biometrics appointment, then the interview, then the citizenship ceremony itself.
  3. On the day you become a US citizen and from then on - it is only legal to travel out of the USA on a US passport - so you in fact do have a short window AFTER you become a citizen when you cannot travel - i.e. until you are in receipt of your US passport. These are issued quite quickly and you can pay to expedite too.
  4. If you are willing to let your SA passport expire - I imagine you are not going to apply to retain your SA citizenship - i.e. it will automatically be revoked on the day you become a US citizen? If you are going to retain it, remember you will need a valid passport to enter and leave SA.
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Thanks, Malamute!

 

We have every intention of keeping our SA citizenship, I just (for some reason) thought that travel outside the U.S. just before the citizenship process was prohibited. Looking at your response, I see now that I had it slightly backwards and remember now the whole having to leave the U.S. on that passport and the potential gap after the naturalization ceremony. Probably what go me thinking that in the first place.

 

I'll just suck it up and apply for my new passport early in 2016 so if it does take a stupid amount of time, at worst I'll still have my new one before the old one expires.

 

Thanks for jogging my memory.

 

On a slightly different topic, our little baby daughter was born just three weeks ago right here in Arizona! So we now officially have our first U.S. Citizen in the family. Yaaaaaaaay! We're probably going to register her birth via the SA Consulate in L.A. so that she'll have the option later in life of seeking out her parents' homeland and visiting her grandparents should she ever feel the urge. If we did proceed with registering her birth in SA, would she also need to enter SA on a SA passport as an infant travelling with us, or would her U.S. one (and unabridged birth certificate) suffice while she is still a minor?

Edited by JumpingJasonFlash

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COGRATULATIONS - a little citizen in the family now!

 

So, right now, she is not a SA citizen, but she does have the right to apply for it by descent. So, if you do nothing now, then she travels in/out of SA on her USA passport as she is a US citizen only. However, once you have applied, and citizenship is granted, she is subject to the same 'rules' about entering SA on her SA passport as you are - i.e. you will need to have a SA passport for her in hand for her to travel into South Africa.

 

Don't forget, also, the new rules that came into effect on 01 June this year for minors travelling into or out of South Africa - i.e. in addition to the passport, you need to travel with her birth certificate showing both parents names - and if both parents are not travelling with her, then additional documentation is required. This applies whether she is on a SA or a USA passport.

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Excellent! Thanks, Malamute.

 

I figured that was the case, I just wanted to run it by you to be sure. We'll more than likely be following up with her birth registration with the consulate and ultimately apply for both her U.S. and S.A. passports then. Like I said before, we intend to keep our S.A. citizenship and would like her to have her's too should she ever feel the pull of Africa. Her only remaining grandparents are visiting us soon, but they are also expecting a visit or two to S.A. in the coming years from their one and only grandchild, so we'd best get our A into G.

 

Thanks again for your, as always, invaluable advice!

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JumpingJason - also factor in a few months to apply for your retention of SA citizenship. You'll need that when you renew your SA passport.

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Applying for the Retention letter is suprisingly fast (you fall under the LA consulate if you are in AZ) - they are very efficient and fast - and for this, they don't have to wait on Home Affairs in SA. Once you have the correct paperwork to them, with the fee etc, you should receive the letter in just a week or two. Pleasant suprise. Getting the paperwork together is a minor pain, with signed affidavits, notarized copies of various documents, cashier's check etc.

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JumpingJason - also factor in a few months to apply for your retention of SA citizenship. You'll need that when you renew your SA passport.

Applying for the Retention letter is suprisingly fast (you fall under the LA consulate if you are in AZ) - they are very efficient and fast - and for this, they don't have to wait on Home Affairs in SA. Once you have the correct paperwork to them, with the fee etc, you should receive the letter in just a week or two. Pleasant suprise. Getting the paperwork together is a minor pain, with signed affidavits, notarized copies of various documents, cashier's check etc.

Thanks for the reminder peeps!

 

Am I right in thinking that I can apply for retention of SA citizenship up to year before applying for my US citizenship? Figured I might just do that around the same time as my passport renewal, next year, as I'll already have my paperwork in order and notarized etc. for that anyway.

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Yes, you can absolutely apply then - or at any time - as long as you have it in hand before you actually take the oath and become an American Citizen. There is no expiry date on it - valid forever. Some on this board have done it a couple of years before citizenship - just one less thing to have to do later on.

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