South African banks will soon let you apply for and collect your passport from one of their branches, said the Department of Home Affairs.
This follows the recent launch of the Department’s Smart ID card pilot project with FNB and Standard Bank.
Home Affairs offices have been set up at Standard Bank and FNB, and groups of employees are being invited to get their Smart IDs as part of an application system test.
From November, the banks will initiate phase 2 of the trial which will test the e-channel for the ID application process.
The e-channel website will be the first step in applying for your new ID. After completing the online application, you will go into the branch where your photo and fingerprints will be captured digitally.
Once the application has been completed, you will receive an SMS “within days” to collect your new ID at the branch where you applied.
The passport application will follow a similar system, with South Africans applying for and collecting their documents from the same bank branch.
You will have to apply for your Smart ID or passport at a bank where you are a client.
However, passports do not form part of the pilot. Only after the Smart ID pilot is completed and the service becomes available to the public will the passport application system be rolled out.
Home Affairs has not specified how long the Smart ID pilot will run for.
The Department has signed memoranda of understanding with FNB, Standard Bank, ABSA, and Nedbank, and is working on expanding the pilot to other banks once the technical issues holding it up have been sorted out.