[UPDATE: The online system unfortunately did not launch in December as planned. We got in touch with the Department of Home Affairs to find out when we might expect its debut, though it couldn’t give an exact date, the department said it’s coming “soon”.]

The online ID and passports application portal that was first unveiled by the Department of Home Affairs back in September will begin operating in early December, the department announced at a media briefing today.

Home Affairs director-general, Mkuseli Apleni, said at a media briefing today that 140 offices using the digital Live Capture System will be offline to make way for upgrades from the 27th November to 2nd December. You can see which ones these are by clicking here.

Operations will resume on the 3rd of December.

Piloting the new online application system is part of the upgrades that will be done. It’s expected to be implemented in all Home Affairs offices across the country in early 2016.

Back at the public unveiling of the of the Smart ID and passport centres at the FNB and Standard Bank headquarters in September, Home Affairs spokespeople told htxt.africa that the portal will allow residents to start the application process by submitting all of their details and paying for it via EFT.

Thereafter, the department will set an appointment for you to come into any of its offices and complete the process, which will involve taking a photo in the available office booth and having your fingerprints scanned.

Once that process has been complete, you’ll be called to fetch your new ID or passport within ten working days.

A new ID will cost you R140, while a passport is R400.