Thursday, June 12, 2014

A must read for those traveling to South Africa with children

Posted by New Frontiers Tours on 11 June 2014

South Africa's immigration laws have recently undergone an intense revision, with two vital amendments that you need to know about:

  1. Any traveller requiring a visa, will now have to apply in person at the relevant South African authority (effective 01 July). This does not apply to countries who do not require a visa for South Africa, including the USA, Canada, UK, EU, Australia, Brazil and Chile.
  2. Parents travelling with children will now be required to provide an unabridged birth certificate of all travelling children. This applies even when both parents are travelling with their children. When children are travelling with guardians, these adults are required to produce affidavits from parents proving permission for the children to travel. This is effective from 01 October (a grace period has been granted on the original implementation date of 01 July)

It is imperative that clients due to travel are advised immediately as an unabridged birth certificate can take weeks to obtain. Airlines will not allow clients to board without the necessary documentation.

While the intention behind the ruling is admirable - to stop child trafficking - the implications have not been thoroughly thought out, and the tourism industry is fighting the impracticality of this. However, we must prepare ourselves for the proposed implementation date.

The full South African immigration regulations concerning travelling with children are:

Regulation 6: (12)

(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.

Any further updates to this ruling will be communicated immediately!

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