Detailed Guide on Voter Registration in South Africa

Voter registration in South Africa is managed by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC). Registering to vote is a crucial step in participating in the democratic process. This guide provides a comprehensive overview of how to register to vote, including eligibility criteria, the registration process, required documents, and additional information.

Eligibility Criteria

To register to vote in South Africa, you must meet the following criteria:

  1. Citizenship: You must be a South African citizen.
  2. Age: You must be at least 16 years old to register, but you can only vote once you turn 18.
  3. ID Document: You must have a valid South African ID document, either a green barcoded ID book, a smart ID card, or a valid Temporary Identity Certificate (TIC).

Registration Process

1. Prepare the Required Documents

  • ID Document: Ensure you have a valid South African ID (green barcoded ID book, smart ID card, or Temporary Identity Certificate).

2. Find Your Local IEC Office or Registration Point

  • IEC Office: You can register at any local IEC office during office hours.
  • Registration Weekend: The IEC often holds special registration weekends ahead of elections where you can register at voting stations.

3. Go to the Registration Venue

  • Visit the nearest IEC office or designated registration point during the registration period.

4. Complete the REC 1 Form

  • At the registration venue, you will be asked to fill out the REC 1 form. This form captures your personal details and your physical address.

5. Verification and Capture

  • An IEC official will check your ID document and verify your details.
  • Your address will be captured to determine your voting district.

6. Receive Proof of Registration

  • After your details are captured, you will receive a small sticker in your ID document as proof of registration.

Registering Online (When Available)

While the IEC has been working towards online voter registration, it is best to check their official website for the latest updates on the availability of this service. If online registration is available, you would typically:

  1. Visit the IEC Website: Go to
  2. Navigate to Online Registration: Look for the online voter registration portal.
  3. Enter Your Details: Fill in your personal details and upload the required documents.
  4. Submit and Wait for Confirmation: Submit your application and wait for confirmation from the IEC.

Special Cases

Registering Abroad

South African citizens living abroad can also register to vote. The process involves visiting the nearest South African embassy, high commission, or consulate with your valid South African ID and passport. Registration periods for overseas voting are announced by the IEC ahead of elections.


If you have moved to a new address or changed your name, you need to re-register to ensure your details are up to date. Follow the same registration steps at your new location.

Checking Your Registration Status


  1. Visit the IEC Website: Go to
  2. Check Your Status: Use the “Check Your Registration Status” tool by entering your ID number.


  1. Compose an SMS: Type your ID number in a new message.
  2. Send to 32810: Send the SMS to 32810 (standard SMS rates apply).
  3. Receive Status: You will receive an SMS with your registration status.

Updating Your Details

If your personal details change (e.g., name, address), you need to update your voter registration. Visit your local IEC office with your ID document and proof of new address (if applicable) to update your details.

Important Dates and Deadlines

Stay informed about important dates, such as registration weekends, election dates, and deadlines for voter registration. These dates are typically announced on the IEC website and through public media channels.

Additional Resources

  • IEC Call Center: 0800 11 8000 (toll-free from a landline)
  • Email:
  • IEC Website:
  • Social Media: Follow the IEC on social media for updates and announcements.


Registering to vote is a simple yet essential process that allows you to participate in South Africa‚Äôs democratic process. By ensuring your voter registration is up to date, you can exercise your right to vote and have a say in the country’s governance. For more detailed information, visit the official IEC website or contact their support services.