When the dreaded time comes to renew your driver’s licence, it usually means standing for hours in a queue at the local licencing department, but this isn’t so much the case in recent times.

As we discovered when we went to renew in Gauteng at the end of 2018, the licencing department will simply refuse to serve you if you get to the front of the line after waiting for hours. Instead, an appointment is needed.

This appointment can only be scheduled in one way: online. While that may sound terrible for some without reliable internet access, the process of making a booking is relatively painless but does have its share of problems we’ll discuss below.

To make a booking simply head on over to the governmental website online.natis.gov.za. You’ll see four purple buttons for the initial driver’s licence test, a learner’s licence test, professional driving permit (PrDP) renewal and the one we’re interested in – driver’s licence renewal which is labelled as “BOOK NOW FOR DL CARD RENEWAL”.

From here you will be taken to a page where you need to fill in your particulars: what kind of identity document you have, your ID number, surname and initials. You will also need to fill in the Captcha “I’m not a robot” test.

Click “Next” and you will receive a warning about needing to bring an eye test from an optometrist. You can ignore this for now as the licencing department can perform this test on site when you visit, but we will explain this in the future with a full guide to renewing your licence. Simply click on “Dismiss” when this message appears.

On the next page you will need to fill out your contact details before going to the next page by again clicking on “Next”.

Finally you will land on a page where you can choose your province and the testing / licencing department you would like to visit. This is where some people may be stuck as, at certain times, there are absolutely no appointment slots available, or the slots are only open at departments which are hours away.

Here your only choices are to try the process again in a few hours or a few days and hope that a spot becomes available. Alternatively you will have to select one which is out of the way, which is what we had to do. Driving 90 minutes to renew a licence isn’t ideal, but it’s sometimes necessary and it’s made up a bit by the fact that you won’t need to stand in line as long as you would do normally.

Once you’ve selected a department, date and time (on the next page) you may click on the purple “Make Booking” button. You should then be taken to a page that will allow you to download a copy of the form you need to submit when you arrive at the department, and a confirmation of the booking.

You can now head on over to the allocated licencing department and go through the process of having your licence renewed. Once completed you can periodically check on the progress of the renewal by using an SMS service.

Please note that the details on this page are correct at the time of writing, but may be different in the future or if you live in a different province. It worked for us here in Gauteng, but that doesn’t mean it will work for you elsewhere.