Apply for International Social Services 

About applying for International Social Services

Inter-country assistance is offered to foreign nationals who experience personal or social problems as a result of international migration or displacement.

The Department of Social Development renders inter-country social services in collaboration with the International Social Service (ISS).

The ISS is an international not-for-profit organisation which pays particular attention to vulnerable expatriate children. It is active in around 140 countries through a network of national branches, social workers, affiliated bureaus and correspondents.

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What you should do

  1. If you are a foreign national living in South Africa:
    • Apply at your nearest social worker’s office.
    • Compile a case summary according to the format prescribed by the ISS. This case summary will set out the circumstances and the request for services needed from the foreign country.
    • Forward the completed case summary to the provincial representative of the ISS at the head office of the provincial department of social development.
    • The provincial representative will forward your request to the ISS of South Africa (ISS SA) which is situated within the national Department of Social Development.
  2. If you are a South African citizen living outside South Africa:
    • Apply at the ISS Affiliated Bureau or correspondent in the foreign country where you live.
    • The bureau will send your request to ISS SA.
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How long does it take

  • The provincial department of social development deals with requests on receipt. On receiving a referral from a provincial department, ISS SA will refer the request for services to the ISS Affiliated Bureau or correspondent in the foreign country. Their response will depend on their local circumstances.
  • When it receives a referral from a foreign country, ISS SA refers the matter to the local provincial representative who will arrange with a local social worker to investigate the matter and provide a report to the provincial department. Once received, the report is forwarded to ISS SA, which studies and forwards the report to the stakeholders, together with comments, questions and/or queries.
  • The level of service quality is ensured by the local and provincial social workers as well as by the social worker responsible for the matter at the office of ISS SA. Government employees follow the protocol procedures prescribed by the ISS: General Secretariat.
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How much does it cost

The services are free in South Africa but in some countries, you may be required to pay for certain services. These fees vary among countries.

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Forms to complete

There are no forms to complete.

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Last modified
20 Feb 2014