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Travelling with a Child to South Africa

Tracey Campbell - June 1, 2015

Today, the long awaited (or rather should I say much dreaded) new regulations for anyone travelling with a child under 18 years of age to and from South Africa comes into force and in case you have missed these all important changes, here is a summary of what you can now expect at Immigration at Johannesburg, Cape Town or Durban/King Shaka Airports.

Please note that these requirements apply regardless of nationality.

Parents travelling with children  must produce an unabridged birth certificate for the child, showing full details of the child’s parents. If the birth certificate is in a language other than English, it must be accompanied by a sworn translation issued by a competent authority in the country concerned. If the child is adopted, the adoption certificate must be produced.

If only one parent is travelling, said parent must also show consent in the form of an affidavit from the other parent named on the birth certificate authorising the child to travel (the affidavit must be no more than 3 months old from the date of travel), or a court order granting full parental responsibilities to the travelling parent, or (where applicable) a death certificate for the deceased parent. Legally separated parents should also provide a court order when the other parent does not give consent.

Where a person is travelling with a child who is not their biological child, he/she must produce an unabridged birth certificate for the child supplemented by affidavits from the child’s parents/legal guardian giving consent for the child to travel and copies of the identity documents or passport of the parents/legal guardian PLUS their contact details. There are also additional rules for unaccompanied minors – available on request.

An unaccompanied child has to produce an unabridged birth certificate or equivalent document, a Parental Consent Affidavit, a  letter from the person who is to receive the child in South Africa containing such person’s residential and work address and full contact details in SA, and finally 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 SA.

Additional notes:

It goes without saying that valid passports are also required for travel!

An Unabridged Birth Certificate is an extract from the Birth Register containing the particulars of the child and his/her parent or parents.

In the case of foreign countries that do not issue unabridged birth certificates, a letter to this effect issued by the competent authority of the foreign country should be produced. A suggested format for such an equivalent document is available at: https://www.dha.gov.za/files/EquivalentDocumentForeignGov.pdf

All documents must be original or copies certified as a true copy of the original by a commissioner of oaths or the equivalent commissioning authority, should commissioners of oath not be a practice in the country concerned.

For more information, contact the South African High Commission (https://southafricahouseuk.com/) or the South African Department of Home Affairs (https://www.dha.gov.za/).

PLEASE NOTE: Travel Butlers have made every effort to ensure that the information displayed here is correct and accurate, but the onus still remains with the traveller to verify the information with their local South African High Commission or Embassy.

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