On Saturday I went to apply for my new passport and it really was not as painful as I imagined it to be. We planned to be there at 7am to start queuing but it was freezing on Saturday morning so we only arrived at Home Affairs Cape Town at 8:20am. The queue was not as long as I thought it would be, we ended up being 57th in the queue. I have heard horror stories of the queue going around the building by that time. I have also heard from other people that they were in and out in 20 minutes, an hour etc. It took us two and a half hours to complete the whole process, which I think was pretty quick.
Here are a few things I learnt about Home Affairs this weekend and what you need to take with you when applying for anything there.
- Have the correct and all the documents with you that you need for what you are applying for. For ID documents click here and for passports click here. Have the correct amount of money with you for the application. ID documents cost R140, it’s free for first time applications. For passports its R400. I saw a card machine at the cashier, but I would take cash with me to be safe. If you don’t have the right documents with you then you’re going to have to come back and do the whole process again.
- All photographs are digital now so you don’t have to take photographs with you. Yay for saving money!
- Take with you something to do or someone to talk to. It helps with the waiting.
- Pack in some patience and a good mood. Nothing makes too much sense with the process. Some offices have a well planned queuing system and at others its chaos. Some offices make you pay last and at others you pay first. Just follow the chaos, the process being used and be patient. You will eventually get to the front of the queue and be able to leave.
- Pay attention to the numbers being called. They are not always called in number order, who know why but if you miss your number you look like a chop and people get really irritated with you for not going when they call you.
- Be ready and committed to spend more than 2 hours there, even a whole morning. This helps you stay happy and not get grumpy.
Another thing I have discovered is that when people find out you are going to Home Affairs they will tell you how it took them super quick to apply for their ID or passport. They never ever tell you what time they got there at or how long they queued outside for. People will also tell you to go early morning, lunch time or an hour before they close. I actually think the length of time you spend there comes down to the day you go and how many other people decide to go the same day you choose. I also think there are other things that affect your length of time there, such as speed of the computers and the network the administrators are working on, as well as people applying being awake and having all their documents with them.
I think that your experience at Home Affairs is also largely determined by the attitude you approach the building. If you already have negative thoughts about it all you are most likely going to get irritated and annoyed.