Guidance

Notarial and documentary services guide for South Africa

Information on notarial and documentary services for South Africa, and how to access informative letters relating to these services.

Overview

Our offices in South Africa are unable to carry out notarial acts under the Commissioner of Oaths Act 1889, and on instruction from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office in London.

This includes certifying documents as true copies of originals, administering oaths or taking affidavits. For these or other notarial acts, or the legalising of documents, please approach a Notary/Commissioner of Oaths, or request the issuing authority attest the validity of the documents.

Letters we provide

If you are trying to access a service from a local authority, and have been asked to obtain a certificate from the High Commission, you can print one of our letters confirming that we do not offer the service in Commonwealth Countries. Please click the links below to download our letters.

Letter confirming that we cannot provide notarial services or certificates

You can download a stamped and signed copy of this consular letter confirming that we cannot provide notarial services. Click the link below to download the letter.

Notarial Acts Letter

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology.

Request an accessible format.
If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email fcdo.correspondence@fcdo.gov.uk. Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

Occasionally, local authorities will be reluctant to accept a copy of the letter without a recent date stamp. If that is the case, you can book an appointment to collect a letter in person. We encourage you to try the downloaded letter in the first instance. If you are unable to come in person, a third person can come and collect the letter on your behalf. This is a free service and no consular fees are charged. It is not necessary to bring any form of documentation to collect the letter.

Book an appointment to collect this letter in: Cape Town Pretoria

Letter confirming that we cannot provide Certificates of Non-Impediment

You can download a stamped and signed copy of this consular letter confirming that we cannot issue a Certificate of Non-Impediment. Click the link below to download the letter.

Certificate of No Impediment

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology.

Request an accessible format.
If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email fcdo.correspondence@fcdo.gov.uk. Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

Occasionally, local authorities will be reluctant to accept a copy of the letter without a recent date stamp. If that is the case, you can book an appointment to collect a letter in person. We encourage you to try the downloaded letter in the first instance. If you are unable to come in person, a third person can come and collect the letter on your behalf. This is a free service and no consular fees are charged. It is not necessary to bring any form of documentation to collect the letter.

Book an appointment to collect this letter in: Cape Town Pretoria

Letter confirming the British government has no objection to dual nationality

The British High Commission (Pretoria) and Consulate General (Cape Town) perform citizenship ceremonies on behalf of the UK Home Office. This is the last step in the process of acquiring British nationality. If you wish to apply for British nationality, please apply directly to the UK Home Office. You should also contact the Home Office directly if you have any questions or concerns about your application. When your application for British citizenship is approved by the Home Office, you will receive an approval letter, and they will send your certificate of British citizenship to us. We will contact you to arrange your ceremony. Usually you must attend a citizenship ceremony within three months of receiving your approval letter from the Home Office. Because of coronavirus, this has been extended to six months. Whilst we will do our best to arrange your ceremony as soon as possible, the pandemic has led in some cases to longer waiting times. Please bear with us: we will contact you as soon as we can.

South African Citizenship law allows a South African Citizen to acquire the nationality of another country. However, if a person acquires citizenship of another country, they automatically lose his or her South African citizenship. If you wish to retain your South African citizenship, you will need to make application to the South African Department of Home Affairs and obtain a retention letter. You must do this before attending a citizenship ceremony. It is up to you to decide if you wish to retain your South African citizenship. You may need to visit more than one Department of Home Affairs office in order to acquire a retention letter, as not all of them are issuing during the national state of emergency.

Some offices of the Department of Home Affairs require a letter from the British High Commission confirming that the UK government has no objection to dual nationality (which it does not). You can download a copy of this here or schedule an appointment to collect a copy in Pretoria or Cape Town by using the same link. If you have not yet received your retention letter, but require one, please let us know by replying to your email invitation, so we can reschedule your citizenship ceremony.

The British government has no objection to British nationals obtaining the citizenship of another country or citizens of another country applying for British nationality. You can download a copy of our letter confirming this using the link below.

Dual Nationality Letter

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology.

Request an accessible format.
If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email fcdo.correspondence@fcdo.gov.uk. Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

Occasionally, local authorities will be reluctant to accept a copy of the letter without a recent date stamp. If that is the case, you can book an appointment to collect a letter in person. We encourage you to try the downloaded letter in the first instance. If you are unable to come in person, a third person can come and collect the letter on your behalf. This is a free service and no consular fees are charged. It is not necessary to bring any form of documentation to collect the letter.

Book an appointment to collect this letter in: Cape Town Pretoria

Services provided by other authorities

Confirmation of the validity of British driving licences

British citizens who need to verify their driving licenses can do so here. Our offices are unable to confirm the validity of British driving licenses. If you wish to convert your license in South Africa, you should contact the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA) in the UK directly from Monday to Friday, 8am to 7pm and Saturday from 8am to 2pm.

Telephone: +44 300 790 6801

Textphone: 18001 0300 123 1278

Fax from outside the United Kingdom: +44 (0)1792 786 369

Data protection

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office holds and uses data for purposes notified to the Information Commissioner under the Data Protection Act 1998. Such personal data may be disclosed to other UK government departments and public authorities.

Disclaimer

This information is provided as a general guide and is based upon information provided to the embassy by the relevant local authorities and may be subject to change at any time with little or no notice. Accordingly the FCDO and the British embassy will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information. British nationals wishing to obtain any further information must contact the relevant local authority.

Published 15 December 2014
Last updated 15 June 2021 + show all updates
  1. Addition of information about dual citizenship.

  2. Letters of services not provided have been updated.

  3. Update to information on notarial and documentary services for South Africa, and how to access informative letters relating to these services.

  4. A letter giving permission to travel during COVID-19 has been uploaded.

  5. First published.