1 June 2015 South Africa’s new Passport and Travel Documents Act officially took effect. Under the new legislation, South Africans and foreign nationals travelling with children under the age of 18 are required to produce unabridged birth certificates. It is part of the government’s commitment to safeguard the best interests of children and prevent child trafficking. The requirements are aimed at establishing the principle that all children must have the consent of their parents when travelling into or out of South Africa.
The rules apply to South African children, under 18, on leaving South Africa, as well as to children who are foreign nationals and who are visa exempt when travelling through a port of entry of the country. 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. 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 three months old from date of travel. In the event 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 or passports of the parents or legal guardian, and the contact details of the parents or legal guardian must also be provided.
In the event a child is travelling as an unaccompanied minor, not only the unabridged birth certificate, but also proof of consent from both parents or legal guardians and contact details, as well as documentation relating to the person receiving the child in South Africa, must be produced. Where both parents are travelling with valid passports and visas the unabridged birth certificate is not a requirement since these additional documents would have been provided when applications were made for passports and visas.
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Raymond & The Team