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Our Services in Africa

  • Convert foreign driving
    licence
  • Register fishing vessel
  • Import certificate for liquor
  • Apply for SA citizenship

About converting your foreign driving licence

If you have been granted South African permanent residence, you must convert your foreign driving licence to a South African one within a year of receiving your permanent residence permit. If you fail to convert your licence within one year, it will be regarded as invalid. You can also apply to convert your driving licence to a South African one if you hold a diplomatic permit but don’t have a permanent residence permit. If your licence is not in one of the official languages of South Africa, you must get a letter of translation of the licence by a competent authority. Your foreign driving licence will be converted if the licence:
  • is valid
  • translated into one of the official South African languages
  • is accompanied by a letter of validity obtained from the relevant embassy and a translation if the licence is not in an official language of South Africa
  • has your photo and signature.

  • What you should do

    1. Go to the driving licence testing centre (DLTC) in the province where you obtained your permanent residence.
    2. Complete the Application for exchange of a driving licence form (DL1) at any driving licence testing centre.
    3. Complete the notification of change of address or particulars of person or organisation (NCP) form.
    4. You must submit the following:
      • An acceptable identification as required by South African legislation (e.g. identity document (ID), temporary ID, valid South African passport, or foreign passport with permanent residence permit)
      • Four black-and-white ID sized photographs
      • Current foreign driving licence
      • Proof of permanent residency in the Republic of South Africa
      • Proof that you were not a permanent resident of South Africa at the time the foreign licence was issued (for example, you can produce a passport, permanent residence permit or visa)
      • A letter of translation of the licence by a competent authority if the licence is not in one of the official languages of South Africa
      • Confirmation from a driving licence issuing authority that you have a valid driving licence (stating the codes and relevant categories of vehicle that the person is permitted to drive) that has not been cancelled or suspended
      • In case of an International Driving Permit (IDP), you must submit the driving licence on the authority of which the permit was issued
      • Proof of residential address e.g. utility account. If the utility bill is not in your name, the owner of the bill must make an affidavit declaring that you live at the address and the utility bill must be attached to the affidavit.
      • If you stay at an informal settlement, you must bring a letter with an official date stamp from the ward councillor confirming your residential address
    5. The driving licence testing centre will issue the driving licence if it is satisfied that:
      • you are the owner of the foreign driving licence
      • you hand over your foreign driving licence or driving permit when you receive your South African licence.
    You will not be required to undergo a driving licence examination but an eye test will be conducted on site before the exchange is finalised.

    How long does it take

    The time-frame for exchanging the licence varies from one testing centre to another due to internal auditing processes.

    How much does it cost

    Contact your local licensing office for the cost.

    About registering a fishing vessel

    To operate a fishing vessel in South Africa, you must take the vessel to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)(link is external) to test the vessel for sea-worthiness. Samsa will do an evaluation procedure and issue you with a Safety Certificate. Once you have the certificate, you must apply with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries in Cape Town for a fishing vessel licence. You also need a certified copy of a valid radio licence, reflecting the call sign. A fishing vessel is a boat or ship equipped or used for:
    • management
    • harvesting
    • exploitation
    • of living marine resources or in support of related activities. This includes any vessel aiding or assisting one or more vessels at sea in the performance of any permitted activity relating to fishing including, but not limited to preparation, supply, storage, refrigeration, transportation, or processing. You must have a fishing right and a permit to engage in fishing activities. No fishing vessel will be registered without a fishing right and a permit to engage in fishing activities.

      What you should do

      1. Arrange for the vessel to undergo a SAMSA sea-worthy evaluation procedure.
      2. Get the Application for a local, high seas and foreign fishing vessel licence form at the Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries Customer Service Centre in Cape Town on the Ground Floor, Foretrust Building, Martin Hammerschlag Way, Foreshore.
      3. Complete the form in print using capital letters only
      4. Attach:
        • Local
          • Completed application form
          • Valid SAMSA certificate
          • ICCASA certificate, if applicable
          • If you are a new owner of the vessel, certified copies  of the company registration documents or identity document
        • High Seas
          • Same as for local, but the SAMSA certificate should reflect that the vessel may fish on the high seas
        • Foreign
          • the name and details of the vessel owner (including ownership shares)
          • the length of the vessel
          • the horsepower and capacity of the vessel
          • the Flag of State under which the vessel is currently registered (if chartered from or jointly owned with non-South African citizens)
          • the duration and the fishing sector in which the vessel will be deployed
          • registration certificate from flag state
      5. Pay the prescribed fee according to the length of the vessel into the following account: Bank: First National Bank Account number: 62123256382 Account Type: Current Account Name: Marine Living Resources Fund Branch Name: Corporate Account Services Cape Town Branch Code: 204-109
      6. Call the customer service centre at tel. 086 000 3474 for a reference number. This will be provided only once the application was received by them.
      7. You can also pay cash or by means of an electronic fund transfer (EFT). Please note that if the EFT was not done from a FNB (First National Bank) then there will be a 24-hour delay.
      8. Fax your proof of payment to the Customer Service Centre and request from them to provide you with confirmation of payment.
      9. Submit the application to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries: Private Bag X2, Roggebaai, Cape Town, 8012 or hand deliver it to Foretrust Building, Martin Hammerschlag Way, Foreshore, Cape Town.

      How long does it take

      The application may take three working days or more, subject to proper lodging of the application.

      About importing liquor

      If you want to import liquor or liquor products in bulk or bottles (excluding beer) to South Africa you must have an import certificate before your liquor products can be released for delivery from the port of entry. You apply for the import certificate only once, whereafter the same import certificate number can be used provided that the composition, content, bottle size and label of the product does not change.

      What you should do

      1. Download the application form and fill it in.
      2. Submit the application form and a sample consisting of at least 750 ml of the product you want to import to the office of the Division Liquor Products by post to Private Bag X5015, Stellenbosch, 7599 or hand deliver it to Plant Quarantine Station, Food Safety and Quality Assurance (FSQA), Polkadraai Road, Stellenbosch.
      3. If you want to import liquor in bottles, you must submit a sample packaged in an original bottle which will be used when selling. The label on the bottle will be evaluated to ensure it complies with the requirements of the Liquor Products Act, 1989.
      4. If you are importing liquor in bulk you must submit a sample in an ordinary 750 ml bottle. It does not have to be the original bottle that will be used for sale because only the content of the liquor will be evaluated.
      5. Pay the prescribed fee (in cash only).
      6. Before you import the liquor products into South Africa, you must give 48 hours notice to the Division Quality Audit.
      7. At the port of entry, apply for permission to remove the liquor from the port of entry to where you want to sell it in South Africa.

      How long does it take

      There is no set time for this service.

      How much does it cost

      Tariffs for 2019/20

      Forms to complete

      Application for an import certificate

      You automatically qualify for South African citizenship if:
      • you are born in South Africa and at least one of your parents is a South African citizen or a SA permanent residency permit holder
      • if you are adopted by a South African citizen.


      • You can apply for South African citizenship by descent or naturalisation.

        You can also apply to retain your citizenship before you obtain citizenship of another country. Unless you have been granted retention of  citizenship before acquiring citizenship of another country, you will lose your SA citizenship automatically.

        You may apply to have your South African citizenship reinstated if you are a former citizen by birth or descent and you have returned to South Africa permanently.

        You may renounce your South African citizenship if you intend getting citizenship of another country.

        You may apply to be exempted from loss of citizenship if you acquired the citizen of another country before 6 October 1995.

        Find out more about citizenship or contact the Department of Home Affairs.

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