Last Updated: Thursday, 24 July 2014, 13:56 GMT

Botswana: Birth certificates, national identity cards, electronic passports, and driver's licences and the names of the agencies that issue them

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Publication Date 5 April 2012
Citation / Document Symbol BWA104042.E
Related Document Botswana : information sur le certificat de naissance, la carte d'identité nationale, le passeport électronique et le permis de conduire, ainsi que sur le nom des organismes de délivrance
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Botswana: Birth certificates, national identity cards, electronic passports, and driver's licences and the names of the agencies that issue them, 5 April 2012, BWA104042.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4f9e34252.html [accessed 25 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Birth Certificates

According to the website of the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs, anyone who is born in Botswana can acquire a birth certificate (Botswana n.d.d). All birth certificates are issued by the service branches of the Department of Civil and National Registration (ibid.). The Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs indicates that, "it is mandatory to report a birth within 60 days of its occurrence" (ibid.). If the birth is registered after 60 days, a maximum late fee of 100 Botswana pula (BWP) [C$13.68 (XE 13 Mar. 2012)] may be charged (Botswana n.d.d). The registration should be completed by a parent or a guardian of the child (ibid.). He or she should submit to the service branch a notice of birth from the doctor or a notice of birth from a Kgosi (ibid.), a "hereditary traditional leader of a tribe or a village" (ibid. n.d.e). Thereafter, a birth certificate will be issued (ibid. n.d.d). The certificate can be collected only by a mother, father or legal guardian (ibid.). A copy of a birth certificate sent to the Research Directorate by the First Secretary of the Embassy of Botswana in Washington is attached to this Response.

According to a news release by the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs, on 6 June 2011, the government started issuing "new and more secure birth certificates" with enhanced security features that protect the identity of individuals (Botswana 19 Oct. 2011). Citizens are encouraged to replace their old birth certificate with the new one (ibid.). According to the news release, 28 percent of births in the country are not registered (ibid.).

National Identity (Omang) Cards

According to the website of the Embassy of the Republic of Botswana in Washington, a national identity (ID) card, also called omang, is issued to all citizens at the age of 16 (Botswana n.d.f).

Information on the physical appearance of the national ID card in this paragraph was provided by the Washington-based embassy's first secretary on 14 March 2012. The card displays the following information on the front: photograph of the card holder; nine-digit ID number (if the card holder is a man, the middle number is 1, and 2 if it is a woman); full name; date of birth (including day, month, and year); place of birth, and the card holder's signature. The back of the card displays the following information: nationality; thumbprint; gender; colour of the eyes; place of application, the issuing authority's signature and the bar code, which includes the card number and the card holder's last name. The card should be renewed every 10 years.

In order to obtain a new ID card or its replacement, citizens can submit their application to any branch of the Civil and National Registration office in Botswana (Botswana n.d.f). According to the website of the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs, applicants have to go in person with a birth registration certificate to the Registration office (ibid.). In case of a replacement, the old card should be surrendered to the Registration officer (ibid.).

Citizens abroad can submit their application to the nearest Botswanan mission (ibid. 14 Mar. 2012). The mission will then forward the application to the Civil and National Registration office in Botswana for processing (ibid.). There is no payment required from a 16 year old if he or she applies within 30 days of turning 16 (ibid. n.d.a). Once the child reaches 16 years of age, he or she must provide the following documents to the embassy:

  • The original plus a copy of the Birth Certificate
  • Copies of [the] parents' identity documents …
  • [One] recent black and white passport sized photograph (ibid.)

In the case of an expired ID card, an individual must submit to the embassy the following documents:

  • The old [ID] Card and a copy …
  • [One] recent black and white passport sized photograph
  • Police report if [the card was] stolen and if lost or damaged, an affidavit to that effect (ibid.)

The applicant may also be required to provide information or documents in addition to those listed on the embassy website (ibid.). The cost of replacing a lost, damaged, or stolen card, or for changing the name of the card holder, is US$17; it costs US$1 to replace an expired ID card (ibid.).

Electronic Passport

The Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs indicates that a new electronic passport (e-passport) with machine-readable features can be issued to any citizen of Botswana who wishes to travel abroad (Botswana n.d.c). A copy of an electronic passport sent to the Research Directorate by the First Secretary of the Embassy of Botswana in Washington is attached to this Response.

The website of the Embassy of Botswana in Washington states that, effective 31 December 2011, all Botswanan passports for travel abroad should be exchanged for the new e-passports (Botswana n.d.b). The passports are issued by "immigration offices around the country, except in Francistown, Maun, Selebi Phikwe and Kasane" (ibid. n.d.c). Individuals living abroad should apply for the e-passport at the nearest Botswanan mission (ibid.). According to the website, the embassy only processes applications for people with valid ID cards and, for those who are under 16 years of age, who have a valid birth certificate (ibid. n.d.b). The e-passports for individuals who are 16 years and older are valid for 10 years and for 5 years if they are under 16 (ibid.). In order to obtain a new e-passport, the following documents should be provided to the embassy:

For individuals over the age of 16:

  • Valid original ID card and a certified photocopy;
  • The ID numbers and place of birth or nationality of the applicant's parents (if still alive);
  • Citizenship certificate of the applicant or, if the parents were once "foreign nationals," naturalization certificates;
  • The old passport; and
  • An application fee of US$40 (ibid.).

For children under the age of 16:

  • Original birth certificate and certified copy …
  • Parent's/guardian original [ID card] or letter from the District Commissioner, Chief or Social Worker for proof of guardianship
  • Parent's/guardian certified copy of [ID card]
  • Citizenship/Naturalisation Certificates of parents and/or [applicant] if parents were once foreign nationals … (ibid.)
  • The application fee for children under 16 is also US$40 (ibid.).

Driver's Licences

According to the website of the Ministry of Transport and Communications, in order to obtain a driver's licence, an individual must take the following steps:

  • Complete an application form at the office of the Ministry of Transport and Communications;
  • Present an ID card or a passport;
  • Book a theory test and pay a fee of 40 BWP [C$5.44 (XE 15 Mar. 2012a)] (Botswana n.d.g).

Once the individual has passed the theory test, he or she must

  • take an eye exam, apply for a temporary learner's licence, and pay 30 BWP [C$4 (XE 15 Mar. 2012b)];
  • book a "yard test" for a fee of 40 BWP and, if successful, book a road test (ibid.).

When the road test is completed, the individual submits the results of the driving tests and eye exam to the Ministry of Transport and Communications and pays for the driver's licence, which is a fee of 70 BWP (Botswana n.d.g), or C$9.50 (XE 15 Mar. 2012c).

A copy of a driver's licence sent to the Research Directorate by the First Secretary of the Embassy of Botswana in Washington is attached to this Response.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Botswana. 14 March 2012. Embassy of the Republic of Botswana in Washington, DC. Telephone interview with an official.

_____. 19 October 2011. Government of Botswana. "Don't Let Your Child Be a Nobody." [Accessed 13 Mar. 2012]

_____. N.d.a. Embassy of the Republic of Botswana in Washington, DC. "Notice to Botswana Regarding E-passport and Omang Applications." [Accessed 6 Mar. 2012]

_____. N.d.b. Embassy of the Republic of Botswana in Washington, DC. "Notice to Botswana - Change of Passports to E-passport." [Accessed 8 Mar. 2012]

_____. N.d.c. Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs. "Electronic Passport Application." [Accessed 23 Feb. 2012]

_____. N.d.d. Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs. "Registration of Birth." [Accessed 23 Feb. 2012]

_____. N.d.e. Embassy of Botswana, Japan. "Tradition of Democracy and Consultation." [Accessed 13 Mar. 2012]

_____. N.d.f. Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs. "National Identity Card (Omang)." [Accessed 23 Feb. 2012]

_____. N.d.g. Ministry of Transport and Communications. "How to Obtain a Botswana Driving Licence?" [Accessed 23 Feb. 2012]

XE. 15 March 2012a. "Currency Converter Widget." [Accessed 15 Mar. 2012]

XE. 15 March 2012b. "Currency Converter Widget." [Accessed 15 Mar. 2012]

XE. 15 March 2012c. "Currency Converter Widget." [Accessed 15 Mar. 2012]

XE. 13 March 2012. "Currency Converter Widget." [Accessed 13 Mar. 2012]

Additional Sources Consulted

Internet sites, including: AlertNet, Amnesty International, Factiva, Freedom House, Human Rights Watch, International Crisis Group, Minority Rights Group International, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, United Nations ReliefWeb.

Attachments

1. Botswana. N.d. Copy of a Certificate of Birth. (Form CRB3) Sent to the Research Directorate by the First Secretary, Embassy of the Republic of Botswana in Washington, DC, 29 March 2012.

2. Botswana. N.d. Specimen of an electronic passport. Sent to the Research Directorate by the First Secretary, Embassy of the Republic of Botswana in Washington, DC, 29 March 2012.

3. Botswana. N.d. Copy of a driving licence. Sent to the Research Directorate by the First Secretary, Embassy of the Republic of Botswana in Washington, DC, 29 March 2012.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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