Abridged Birth Certificate:

An abridged birth certificate is a shortened version of the birth certificate that typically contains basic information about an individual's birth. This includes essential details such as the person's name, date of birth, place of birth, and registration number. However, it does not include additional information about the individual's parents or other detailed information that may be available on an unabridged birth certificate.

Unabridged Birth Certificate:

On the other hand, an unabridged birth certificate provides comprehensive information about an individual's birth and parentage. In addition to the basic details found on an abridged birth certificate, an unabridged certificate includes additional information such as the names and details of the individual's parents.


The purpose for which each type of birth certificate is required often determines which version is necessary. Abridged birth certificates may be sufficient for basic administrative purposes within a country or for certain transactions where detailed parentage information is not required. However, unabridged birth certificates are typically necessary for more formal or official purposes, especially those involving international travel, immigration, or legal matters where proving parentage is essential.

In summary, while both types of birth certificates serve to provide proof of birth, an unabridged birth certificate offers more detailed information about the individual's parentage and is often required for more formal or international purposes, whereas an abridged birth certificate provides basic information and may be sufficient for certain administrative purposes within a country.

Police clearances

South African police clearances certificates are processed at South African Police Services in Pretoria.

Finger prints can be taken at your local police station between 9am and 4pm weekdays only.

Once the application has been handed in at the South African police services, the applicant’s finger prints and identity number is loaded onto the SAPS system.

The South African Police service then uses the finger prints and ID number of the applicant to determine whether they have a criminal record, by running them through the South African Police Services various data bases.

Should no record be listed against the applicant’s name, the Police clearance certificate will be issued, stating that no convictions have been recorded for any crime on the Applicants name in South Africa.

Should convictions be discovered against the applicant’s name these convictions will be listed on the police clearance certificate, with the date of the conviction, nature of the conviction, the sentence, jail term and fine if any. One is able to have certain convictions expunged off their record if 10 years have passed since the date of conviction.

Police clearances certificates can be used for South African’s or foreigners that have lived in South Africa for more than 6 months. PCC’s are used to obtain or renew certain visas, working visas, for job applications or for immigration purposes in South Africa and abroad.

This application can only be processed in Pretoria.

The application can be sent via your local South African Police Station to Pretoria, this however can be a logistical nightmare as the Police Station will wait until they have accumulated enough applications to send in batches to and from Pretoria. The further away you are from PTA the longer it will take to process the application. The estimated time frame is between 6 to 8 weeks if there is a back log you can wait up to 6 months.

Most Police Stations in Cape Town will require you to make an appointment to have your finger prints taken which could also extend the time frame of the application.

People living abroad or in different provinces can also courier or post these application to the South African police services. However there are many instances where these applications get lost in the post, or get miss-placed once they have been delivered.  

There have been cases where the incorrect Police clearance certificate has been sent to applicants.

Application made by people living abroad who will not be able to pay for their applications at their local police station, must pay the application fee directly into the SAP’s bank account. Which can be costly to transfer such small amounts, from foreign bank accounts.


It is advisable to enlist the assistance of an agency who will offer the service of paying this amount on your behalf.

South African Unabridged birth certificates

Recently the department of home affairs and tourism South Africa announced their controversial visa laws in which they encouraged parents and guardians to apply for South African unabridged birth certificates for their children, even if they have no plans to travel out of the country in the future. It is a strict legal requirement for those

Who wish to send their child on a trip accompanied by someone other than a parent or guardian
Parents who are travelling with their child, but not their spouse
Or anyone who wants to travel from or to South Africa with a child under the age of 18.
These regulations apply to all south African and travelers on departure as well as arrivals.

What is an unabridged birth certificate?

All children born in South Africa after 14 March 2013, were issued a certificate known as the unabridged birth certificate from the government free of charge and automatically. It is a birth certificate document that reflects the details of both parents of the child.

All the children, who born before that, are required to comply with the new law and apply for the certificate. Whether they are travelling out of the country or not.

How to apply for Unabridged Birth Certificates

Following is the application process for all the parents or guardians who want to apply for the unabridged birth certificates:

Visit your nearby home affairs office and apply for the unabridged birth certificate.
You will require your child ID number along with your ID book.
The officials at home affairs will verify your biometric information
The process can take up to 8 TO 16 weeks from the date of application to acquire an unabridged birth certificate.

  Note: parents or guardians must provide all the documents with original or certified copies.

Currently, all the children travelling in and out of South Africa are liable to carry a valid passport and unabridged birth certificate at the airport. These new regulations aimed to improve the child protection and security from kidnapping, abduction and child trafficking. The department urged foreign nationals and citizens to comply with the regulations and apply for the certificates in order to avoid the delays to their travel plans.