Recommendations just in from the Inter-Ministerial Committee the President investigating the unintended consequences and mitigating factors relating to the implementation of the Immigration Amendment Acts (2007 and 2011) and the Immigration Regulations, 2014, promise adjustments to be made to their implementation, to make it easier for people to comply.

The requirement for travellers to apply for visas in person, in countries where there is no SA mission, and in vast countries such as China, India and Russia, has softened with the workable solution that such travellers will be able to capture their biometrics on arrival at our ports of entry, if they arrive by air.

With regard to the travelling of children, in respect of inbound travel where visas are required, original birth certificates will still be required (let's hope that same are returned to the applicant) and, as necessary, parental consent or certified copies be submitted during the visa application process. Requirements regarding unaccompanied minors will remain, for example providing copies of the identity document or valid passport and visa or permanent residence permit of the person who is to receive an unaccompanied minor.   

Child-travel requirements for outbound travelling will remain – inclusive of proof of parental relationship using unabridged birth certificates, and, if necessary, parental consent to travel. What the directive doesn't say is whether this applies only to South African citizens or to foreigners leaving the country, alike. One would hope that those with visas obtained at SA missions or at ports of entry will be able to avoid the need for unabridged birth certificates under the new circumstances.

Travellers from visa-exempt countries will be strongly advised to have the necessary documentation at hand in case they are asked to provide such on arrival.

Home Affairs has made lots of promises as to the implementation of these welcomed processes, to be rolled out immediately. One can only hope that its employees are likewise brought up to speed timeously as to what is expected of them, so that they can deliver an appropriate service to our citizens and visitors alike.