How to apply for your new Smart ID card online

Update: Home Affairs has taken down its eChannel portal to finalise development.

The department emphasised that the system has not launched, and it will announce an official launch date.

Original article: The Department of Home Affairs has put its eChannel portal for Smart ID applications online, with registrations open to the public for brief periods.

Even though a link to the portal is available from the Home Affairs website, the department said it has not “officially launched” the portal.

Using the portal shows it is still under development, with the site giving security errors in Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox for Ubuntu.

Firefox on Windows and Mac also warns you that the site may not be properly secured. It is therefore not advisable that you use the system for the time being.

Despite the portal not being officially launched, a reader reported they were able to register and apply for their Smart ID online.

I was also able to apply online and visit my local bank, where my photo and fingerprints for my Smart ID were taken.

This is what the process looks like.

Update: Home Affairs told us that the process is currently only open to South African-born citizens in Gauteng that are between 30 and 35 years old.

Step 1: Create an account.

Smart ID eChannel Register

Step 2: Create a password and provide answers to security questions for account recovery.

Smart ID eChannel Register password

Step 3: Verify cellphone number and email address.

You will be sent a one-time PIN (OTP) and a verification email. You will need to click a link in the email, while the OTP must be entered into the page.

Smart ID eChannel Register confirm cellphone number

Application Step 1: Log in.

You will be sent another OTP to sign into the eChannel portal.

Smart ID eChannel Log On - OTP

Application Step 2: Create a new application.

You must have Adobe Flash Player installed to proceed.

Smart ID eChannel Home Page

Application Step 3: Configure the application.

The Home Affairs application form looks similar to and works much like the SARS eFiling form.

Smart ID eChannel Complete Form

Application Step 4: Fill in the application form.

Smart ID eChannel Complete Form

Application Step 5: Upload supporting documents as directed.

Smart ID eChannel Upload

Application Step 6: Make payment.

This section didn’t inspire much confidence, but it should be noted that the eChannel portal is still under construction.

Payment options are available for Absa, FNB, Nedbank, and Standard Bank. You can also skip the payment step and pay when you visit a branch.

Smart ID eChannel Payment FNB

Application Step 7: Book an appointment at a branch.

To complete your application, you must visit a branch where your fingerprints and photo will be taken.

You can either make an appointment at a branch that supports priority bookings, or visit your nearest branch within 60 days of submitting the online application.

Smart ID eChannel booking

Application Step 8: Branch selection.

Home Affairs offices and some bank branches were listed.

Smart ID eChannel BranchSelection

Application Step 9: Choose a time slot.

Smart ID eChannel TimeSlots

Application Step 10: Confirm your booking.

After confirming your booking, you will be able to download the confirmation.

Print it out and take it with you to your appointment.

Smart ID eChannel TimeSlots confirm

Go to your appointment.

Participating banks have marked Home Affairs offices inside the branch.

Smart ID eChannel Home Affairs in bank

If you skipped the payment step, you will have to pay at the branch.

Smart ID eChannel payment

Get your fingerprints and photo taken.

This all happens digitally. No ink, no photo printing costs.

Smart ID eChannel biometrics

Return in a week or two after receiving an SMS that your ID is ready.

Smart ID eChannel collection

ABSA now supports Smart ID applications

Smart ID online applications portal to open in April: report

Smart ID applications open to all in Gauteng

What it looks like when you apply for a Smart ID

How to get your Smart ID at banks

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How to apply for your new Smart ID card online