Travelling to and from South Africa with children

Clients travelling to and from South Africa with children should take note of a very important amendment to the South African Immigration Act, regulation 6. This regulation requires anyone travelling to or from South Africa with children under the age of 18 years old to be in possession of a valid passport and an unabridged birth certificate for every child.

The amendment was introduced amid concerns about child trafficking and will take effect on 1 October 2014. From this date airlines will be prohibited from allowing passengers on flights,
should they not be in possession of the required documentation.

South African clients should take note that it takes between 6 to 8 weeks to apply for a South African unabridged birth certificate, and should thus ensure that they apply well in advance before travelling.

Regulation 6 (12) stipulates the following;

(a) Where parents are travelling with a child, such parents must produce an unabridged birth certificate of the child reflecting the particulars of the parents of the child.

(b) In the case of one parent travelling with a child, he or she must produce an unabridged birth certificate and-

(i) consent in the form of an affidavit from the other parent registered as a parent on the birth certificate of the child authorising him or her to enter into or depart from the Republic with the child he or she is travelling with;

(ii) a court order granting full parental responsibilities and rights or legal guardianship in respect of the child, if he or she is the parent or legal guardian of the child; or

(iii) where applicable, a death certificate of the other parent registered as a parent of the child on the birth certificate;

Provided that the Director-General may, where the parents of the child are both deceased and the child is travelling with a relative or another person related to him or her or his or her parents, approve such a person to enter into or depart from the Republic with such a child.

(c) Where a person is travelling with a child who is not his or her biological child, he or she must produce-

(i) a copy of the unabridged birth certificate of the child;

(ii) an affidavit from the parents or legal guardian of the child confirming that he or she has permission to travel with the child;

(iii) copies of the identity documents or passports of the parents or legal guardian of the child; and

(iv) the contact details of the parents or legal guardian of the child, Provided that the Director-General may, where the parents of the child are both deceased and the child is travelling with a relative or another person related to him or her or his or her parents, approve such a person to enter into or depart from the Republic with such a child.

(d) Any unaccompanied minor shall produce to the immigration officer-

(i) proof of consent from one of or both his or her parents or legal guardian, as the case may be, in the form of a letter or affidavit for the child to travel into or depart from the Republic: Provided that in the case where one parent provides proof of consent, that parent must also provide a copy of a court order issued to him or her in terms of which he or she has been granted
full parental responsibilities and rights in respect of

the child;

(ii) a letter from the person who is to receive the child in the Republic, containing his or her residential address and contact details in the Republic where the child will be residing;

(iii) 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 Republic; and

(iv) the contact details of the parents or legal guardian of the child.