South African Drivers license renewal from abroad

South African drivers license; Renewing an expired South African license

Is it possible to renew your South African drivers license from abroad?

My South African drivers license expired more than two years ago and I wanted to renew it from abroad. After a lot of investigation I found out that this was not possible. The following information appears on the South African Government Site:

It is currently not possible to apply for the Credit Card Format (CCF) licence from abroad. You must renew your licence at Driving Licence Testing Centres. However, the Department of Transport will not charge you a penalty fee if you have proof that you were abroad during the conversion period.

I was concerned that my actual drivers license expired but that is not the case. It is only the card that expires. Your license will remain valid until it is revoked by the Department of Transport.

South African drivers license; Renewing an expired South African license
South African drivers license renewal

How to renew your South African drivers license?

Luckily for me I had a trip planned to South Africa and decided to renew my South African drivers license in Vanderbijlpark. You are not required to take a driving test when renewing your drivers license. I arrived early at the Driving License Testing Centre because I was told there are long waiting queues. There were no clear instructions or signs telling me where to go to or what to do. I decided to go to the Information counter. After explaining that I don’t live in South Africa and that my license expired, I was handed the forms to complete.

I was handed a DL1 form: Application for renewal of driving licence card. The form has to be completed in black ink. To save time, the form can be printed from their website and completed at home. Also, take your own pen. They do not have pens available inside.

After I completed the form I was directed to another queue. There was only one person on duty. He tested my eyes and checked all the paperwork that I submitted.You can have your eyes tested by an optometrist and submit the form to the official. Please note that they only accept eye tests done in South Africa. They did not want to accept mine that was done in Argentina.I was asked to present my South African Identity Document, My expired Drivers license card and two passport photos. He also requested a copy of my I.D. document. Digital thumbprints were taken and the forms were then handed back to me for payment.

I applied for a Temporary driver’s license (R72-00) at the same time and needed two more photos. This was done at another counter after I have made payment.  I cannot remember how much the renewal fee was but it was not more than R300-00.

The system is not user friendly and you basically feel your way in the dark. Staff were friendly and helpful especially when you spoke nicely to them. I was out of there in a record time.

When will the new drivers license be ready?

It takes between 4 and 6 weeks for the new card to be ready. If you are unable to collect your card then it is advisable to appoint somebody to collect the card on your behalf. There is a special form that needs to be completed and certified by the Police or a Commissioner of Oaths. The form is called a “Permission for the collection of a driving license card – Card Holder Regulation 112”. Also remember that you have to hand your old card in when collecting the new one.

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  1. Hi I am also working abroad and need to renew my Driver’s License when going back to visit. On the gov website it states that one of the documentary requirements needed is a proof of residential address. Currently I don’t have a fixed residence in SA as I don’t own a house. Is this document really needed. I see you didn’t mention it in your post. Thanks

    1. Hello, I was not required to submit proof of my residential address. I told them that I was living abroad and had proof of that in case they needed it. I remember using my father´s address in Vanderbijlpark and they had no problem with it. Hopefully you will be able to work around this. Groete.

  2. Hello. I have questions.
    I live in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. My driving licence expires in August 2017. I am going to south africa in beginning of June 2017. Can I renew my driving licence? How long will I wait? And, can my daughter collect it on my behalf?
    I’m desperate for the correct answers to my questions.
    Highly appreciated
    Kind regards

    1. Hi Helen, yes you can renew it in person. I paid extra for a temporary driver’s license that is valid for 6 months. My permanent license was ready in 4 weeks. My brother collected it on my behalf and couriered it to me in Argentina. Kind regards, Nelieta.

  3. Hi,

    I’m worried about my license which expires in a few days and will not be making a trip back to SA for the foreseeable future. Will I be able to renew my driver’s license, even after the card has expired, when I do eventually go back for a visit? I will most likely go back in around a year’s time from now, which would mean the license would have been expired for a year or so…

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    1. Hi Matt, I understand your concern. Please remember that your license does not expire. It is only the card that expires which means if caught in SA, you will get a fine for an expired license card. Your license can only expire if revoked by the authorities. I had an expired license card for 2 years before I could go to SA to have it renewed.

  4. Hi Nelieta,
    I have a South African drivers license which is due to expire soon. I’m living in Indonesia, but understand that I must make a special trip to South Africa to do the eye tests/finger prints and make the renewal. I am, however, British. I therefore don’t have any kind of South African Identity documents or ID card etc. I do have a British passport – not sure if this will do? and I can also use a friend’s SA address to have the card delivered locally, but if I need to show documents that make it look like I live in SA – I can’t do this because I don’t!

    (I would just get an Indonesian license but I don’t qualify as I am not a resident. Also, I can’t get a UK license because I was banned 18 years ago when I was 17 and therefore would need to take an extended test in the U.K. and this process could take months as I would have to begin the process from scratch!)

    Do you know if it would be possible for me to fly to SA to extend?

    Please help!

    1. Hi Richard, yes you will have to apply for the renewal in person. I am not familiar with the process if you are not a South African citizen but I presume if you have been issued with a valid driver’s license in SA, then the process will be the same. The card expires but the license not unless it has been revoked by authorities. I do not have an SA address and used the one of my brother. It did not cause any problems or raised any questions. I found the people at the Vanderbijlpark office to be very friendly and helpful. I hope the information is helpful and if you do manage to renew your license, please post an update here to help other people. Nelieta

  5. Hey Nelieta I just want to know that it is possible to drive in USA with your SA license and again My international drivers in expired in November should I renew in SA

    1. Hello,

      You can drive in the US with a valid driver’s license from South Africa. In addition, some states may require an International Driving Permit (IDP) from foreign nationals. Unfortunately, I am unable to tell you which states require an IDP. I am not quite sure where your International Driver’s license was issued but as I understand it should be renewed there.

      I hope the information helps.


  6. Hi Nelieta, I live in Thailand and my SA licence expires in May 2018. I will be in SA in December 2017, can I apply earlier for a new drivers license? Do I have to go to my nearest Licensing department or can I go to another one that is less busy? Thank you.

Thank you for visiting. Have a fabulous day!

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