“From October 1st 2014, the requirement for an unabridged birth certificate for children travelling with parents will come into effect for the safety of children, including their protection from child trafficking, abduction and kidnapping,” the department said in a statement.
The Immigration Act, which was implemented on May 26, requires minors to present an unabridged birth certificate, reflecting the particulars of both parents, as well as a passport when leaving, transiting or arriving in South Africa.
Originally the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) said the new regulation would apply from July 1st 2014, but it has since taken the decision to extend the grace period to October 1st 2014. This is to accommodate the plans of many families who have holiday trips planned for the forth-coming school holidays, as these certificates can take up to 3 months to receive.
Is this new rule just for non-South Africans?
This is applicable to all young people travelling, South-African and non-South African passport holders, travelling in and out of the country.
What documents do I need?
1 – Young person travelling with both parents
The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) announced the procedures for parents travelling with children under the age of 18 years in and out of South Africa.
With effect from October 1, 2014, adults travelling with children will need to produce a copy of an unabridged birth certificate for each child they are travelling with, among other documents
2 – Young person travelling with one parent
In the instance where one parent is travelling with a child for any reason, whether as a single parent, or merely in the absence of the other parent, the following documents must be produced for immigration officials
• A copy of an unabridged birth certificate
• An affidavit from the other parent or legal guardian of the child, confirming their consent for the accompanying adult to travel with the child
• Single parents are required to produce a court order (and not just an affidavit) granting full parental responsibilities and rights or legal guardianship in respect of the child, if he/she is the parent or legal guardian of the child
• If applicable, a death certificate of a deceased parent must be produced
3 – Young person travelling with an adult who is not his/her biological parent
This could be for family, friend, school or religious reasons. In instances where an adult is travelling with a child who is not his/her biological child, the following documents must be produced for immigration officials:
• A copy of an unabridged birth certificate
• An affidavit from the parents or legal guardians of the child, confirming their consent for the accompanying adult to travel with the child
• Copies of the identity documents or passports of the parents or legal guardians of the child
• Contact details of the parents or legal guardians of the child
Where one or two adults are travelling with a large group of children, these adults must have these documents for each child travelling
NB – Although not required, it may be a good idea for these adults to have a letter from the trip organisers, giving authority to these adults to attend to these children.
4 – Young person travelling alone
Even though a child of 16 or 17 years could travel comfortably on their own from one country to another, the DHA requires that an unaccompanied minor under 18 years of age, produce the following documents to the immigration officials:
• Proof of consent from one or both his/her parents or legal guardian, in the form of a letter or affidavit for the child to travel into or depart from South Africa
• In the case where one parent provides proof of consent, that parent must also provide a copy of a court order issued to him/her in terms of which he/she has been granted full parental responsibilities and rights in respect of the child
• A letter from the person who is to receive the child in the destination country, containing his/her residential address and contact details where the child will be residing
• A copy of the identity document or valid passport and visa or permanent residence permit of the person who is to receive the child in the destination country; and
• The contact details of the parents or legal guardian of the child in the country of origin
Can I just take a photocopy of the documents?
All documents must be the original version, not a photocopy.
What if I don’t have the right documents with me?
Travellers to South Africa who do not comply, will not be able to fly as airlines will be forced to refuse travel to families and young people not in possession of these documents.
Full details of the Immigration Regulation 6 (12) are here!
Do Something Amazing – and make sure you carry the correct paperwork !