South Africa’s New Regulations when Travelling with Minors

From the 1st of June 2015, South Africa will implement new child traveller regulations. If you’re planning on travelling with the kids, these are the things you need to know as well as frequently asked questions on this topic:

What is the Reason for the Government Changing the Laws?

This new law is to curb child trafficking, however this means that there will be a considerable amount of paperwork when travelling to South Africa with children. According to the Department of Home Affairs, every year 30 000 children are trafficked through South Africa and 50% of these are under the age of 14 years old.

What is Needed?

All children under the age of 18 leaving and entering South Africa will be required to have an unabridged birth certificate to accompany their passport. All documents must be dated within four months of the date of departure or entry. Documents must also be original or certified as a copy of an original by a commissioner of oaths or equivalent authority.

What is an Unabridged Birth Certificate? 

It is a birth certificate that reflects the particulars of both parents of the child.

What About Birth Certificates that are not in English?

It must be translated into English in a sworn document by an authority in the country of origin. All supporting documents need to be original and duplicates must be certified.

What do I need if I am travelling with my children and not my spouse? 

If the child is travelling with only one parent, the parent travelling will be required to provide a passport and unabridged birth certificate, as well as an affidavit from the non-travelling parent giving express permission for the child to travel with the other parent. The non travelling parent will also be required to produce a court order giving the travelling parent full parental responsibility.

I am a single parent, what do I need?

If the child’s unabridged birth certificate only reflects the name of one parent, parental consent is not required from the absent parent. If the absent parents name does appear, the other parent must consent in an affidavit. If the absent parent cannot be traced, a letter of special circumstances must be applied for.

What is needed if one of the parents is deceased?

A death certificate must be produced.

What do we need if our child is travelling with extended family?

If a child is travelling with someone other than a parent, additional documents need to be present. This will include an affidavit from the parents or legal guardian to state that the child is allowed to travel with that person, the contact details of the parents of legal guardian and copies of the identity documents and passports of the parents or legal guardian.

Have a look at the infographic that Cape Town Tourism has compiled:


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