New Travel Rules when Traveling with Children to/from South Africa
June 28, 2015
Since 1 June 2015 a new immigration law is in effect
Under the new law, all minors under the age of 18 years are required to produce, in addition to their passport, an Unabridged Birth Certificate (showing the particulars of both parents) when exiting and entering South African ports of entry.
This only affects travels to or from South Africa, not within South Africa. Most of you will have unabridged birth certificates as the Department of Home Affairs issues those automatically for babies born after March 2013.
Why is it happening? It is being done to curb human trafficking. According to the Department of Home Affairs, 30 000 minors are trafficked through South African borders every year. 50% of these minors are under the age of 14.
Children travelling with only one parent
When a child travels with only one parent, additional documents should include an affidavit in which the absent parent gives consent for the child to travel, a court order granting full parental responsibilities or legal guardianship of the child, or the death certificate of the absent parent. The affidavit should be no more than 3 months old from date of travel.
Children travelling without either parent
In the case of a child travelling with a person other than a parent, the Unabridged Birth Certificate must be supplemented by affidavits from the parents or legal guardians confirming that the child may travel with that person, copies of the ID documents or passports of the parents or legal guardian, and the contact details of the parents or legal guardian.
Similarly, a child travelling as an unaccompanied minor would have to produce not only the Unabridged Birth Certificate, but also proof of consent from both parents or legal guardians and contact details, plus documentation relating to the person receiving the child in South Africa. The latter documentation should include a letter stating the person’s contact details and residential address, contact details where the child will be residing, plus a copy of his or her ID document, passport or residence permit.
Certified copies of documents are usually valid for 6 months only.
Minors travelling in school groups or with their grandparents are not exempt from the requirement.
Department of Home Affairs toll free hotline: 0800 60 11 90