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Financial Intelligence Centre Act, 2001 (Act No. 38 of 2001)


Guidance Note 3

Guidance for Banks on Customer Identification and Verification and Related Matters

Establishing and Verifying Identities

Natural Persons - South African Citizens and Residents

6. Clarification of an official identity document


The Regulations define "identification document" in respect of a natural person who is a citizen of, or resident in, the Republic of South Africa, as an official identity document. The Department of Home Affairs describes an official identity document as a green bar-coded identity document. Therefore, old identity documents may not be construed as official identity documents.


Regulation 4 of the Regulations, however, provides for exceptional cases in which a person is unable to produce an official identity document. In such instances, the bank must be satisfied that the client has an acceptable reason for being unable to produce an official identity document. This reason should be noted in the records of the bank. The note should also reflect the details of the staff member who recorded the information. The bank may then accept an alternative valid, meaning current and unexpired, document, which contains the person's:

full names or initials and surname;
date of birth; and
identity number,


The following are examples of documents that may be accepted in such exceptional circumstances as an alternative form of verification:

valid South African driver's licence; or
valid South African passport.


Decisions concerning the reasons for being unable to produce an official identity document, which may be accepted by a bank, and the documents that may be regarded as acceptable alternatives, should be based on a bank's risk framework referred to in paragraph 2 above.