When you can apply for your Smart ID card online

South Africans eligible for a new Smart ID card will be able to apply for one online from 7 April 2016, said Home Affairs.

Applicants can apply via the new e-Channel portal on the Home Affairs website.

Home Affairs revealed the e-Channel portal in 2015, saying it planned to trial the system with banks.

According to the department, the portal lets citizens:

  • Submit application forms online
  • Upload supporting documents
  • Make online payments
  • Schedule Home Affairs branch visits

Around 140 Home Affairs offices are set up to issue Smart IDs.

While the portal will allow citizens to submit applications online, a visit to a Home Affairs office is needed to submit photos and fingerprints.

The department promised it is also making long queues at its offices a thing of the past.

Big bugs had to be squashed

Our tests of the e-Channel portal in March revealed it still had a few bugs.

One time PINs sent to the cellphone number you specified when you registered took a while to deliver.

It also didn’t work in Google’s Chrome browser or on Firefox in Ubuntu, both of which gave a “secure connection cannot be established” error.

“This site uses an unsupported protocol or cipher suite. This is likely to be caused when the server needs RC4, which is no longer considered secure,” stated the error.

Firefox for Windows and Mac did not give the error, but warned that the connection to the e-Channel portal was potentially unsecured.

Launch date

The Department of Home Affairs e-Channel launch event is set for 7 April 2016. The department has not confirmed the time of the e-Channel portal launch.

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When you can apply for your Smart ID card online