Voter Registration Abroad

Voter registration for South African citizens living abroad will take place during office hours at South Africa’s 120 foreign missions, including high commissions, embassies and consulates worldwide. A full list of South Africa’s missions is available on the website of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) at www.dirco.gov.za/webmissions/index.html.

The finalisation of international voter registration follows the signing of a cooperation agreement with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) on registration and voting at diplomatic missions abroad.

The agreement gives effect to the Electoral Act 73 of 1998 which provides for all eligible South African citizens to register and vote in national elections. DIRCO has assisted the Electoral Commission with the registration and voting of citizens abroad since 1999.

All South Africa citizens aged 16 and older and in possession of an official South African identity document (either a green barcoded ID book, a smartcard ID or a temporary ID certificate) are eligible to register as voters.

Citizens who live abroad must present themselves in person at their nearest South African mission in order to register as voters. In order to apply for registration they will require their South African identity document as well as a valid South African passport.

Citizens living abroad who are already registered to vote – either on the national or international segment of the voters’ roll – need not re-register but will be required to inform the Electoral Commission of their intention to vote outside of the country.

They do so by completing an online form (Notification and Application to CEO for Special Votes Abroad) indicating the mission at which they intend voting. This form will be available on the website at www.elections.org.za from the date the 2019 national election is proclaimed for a 15-day period.

The Electoral Commission will issue a notice to this effect after proclamation. For updates on the process to apply to vote abroad please follow the Electoral Commission on social media (@IECSouthAfrica on Twitter and Facebook) or visit the website www.elections.org.za.


MORE ABOUT VOTER REGISTRATION ABROAD

Who needs to register to vote abroad?
To vote in South Africa’s elections, you must be registered as a voter. First-time voters who are not currently on South Africa’s voters’ roll must apply for registration at their nearest South African embassy, high commission or consulate-general. Voters who live abroad, but were previously registered in South Africa, are still registered to vote and are not required to re-register.

What do I need to register to vote abroad?

You must:
  • Be a South African citizen
  • Be at least 16 years old
  • Have a valid South African ID – either the green barcoded ID book OR smart ID card or Temporary ID Certificate 
  • Have a valid South African passport.


Where can I register abroad?
You must apply in person for registration at your nearest South African embassy, high commission or consulate-general (visit http://www.dirco.gov.za/webmissions/index.html for locations and contact info) during their normal office hours before proclamation of the 2019 elections. Please note that it is not possible to register or vote at honorary consuls’ offices.

How can I check if I’m already registered?
Visit the My Voter Registration Details page at www.elections.org.za/content/For-voters/My-voter-registration-details/ on the Electoral Commission’s website and submit your ID number. Should you visit South Africa before the 2019 elections, you can also SMS your ID Number to 32810 (R1.00 per SMS sent or received) for your registration status and voting station details. (This SMS facility is only available if you are in the Republic of South Africa.)

What documentation do I need to take with me to register?
Please take BOTH your South African ID (green, bar-coded South African ID book, smart ID card, or valid Temporary Identity Certificate) AND your valid South African passport. Both documents are essential. Only original documents can be accepted – no copies.

What if my ID and passport have different surnames, for example, one still has my maiden name. Do I need to re-register?
You do not need to re-register. The Electoral Commission uses your identity number and checks it against the National Population Register (NPR). We then get your name as it’s reflected on the NPR (the Department of Home Affairs automatically changes your name when you get married), and that is the name that appears on the voters’ roll. You can apply for a new ID/passport reflecting your changed name if you want to. These new documents can be applied for at any South African mission abroad or at the Department of Home Affairs in South Africa.

I am already a registered voter, but my given address is in South Africa. Do I need to provide the IEC with my new address where I live abroad?
Yes. By law the Electoral Commission is obliged to have an up-to-date and complete address recorded for each voter. Please email the Electoral Commission at info@elections.org.za and provide us with your ID number, full names, and new address so that your information can be updated on the voters’ roll. Please note that to be eligible to vote out-of-country, voters will still need to inform the Chief Electoral Officer of the Electoral Commission via the completion of an online “Notification and application to CEO for special votes abroad” form (formerly the VEC10 form) – to be available at www.elections.org.za – of their intention to vote, and by indicating the mission at which they will be voting, once the 2019 national election is proclaimed.

When are the 2019 elections going to be held?
The date for the 2019 national and provincial elections is expected to be announced by the President in early 2019. In terms of the Constitution the elections must be held within 90 days of the expiry of the current term of the National Assembly and provincial legislatures. Their term expires on 6 May 2019, and the 90 day period ends on 5 August 2019, so the elections must take place between these dates. The President has indicated his intention to call an election before the end of May 2019.