The new Immigration Regulations (the “Regulations”), which includes provisions dealing with the travelling of children, have recently caused chaos and concern with many South Africans and foreigners travelling to and from South Africa.  The provisions, which came into effect from 26 May 2014, place an extra burden on those parents who plan on taking their children overseas, especially with school holidays being around the corner.

It is then good news, that in light of this concern, the Department of Home Affairs has decided to postpone the implementation of the provisions in the Regulations pertaining to travelling with minors to 1 October 2014. However, this should not deter parents from becoming familiar with the additional requirements under the Regulations, particularly the requirement for the parent of a travelling child to be able to produce an unabridged birth certificate.

It is advised that all parents review and comply with the Regulations as soon as possible, and apply for unabridged birth certificates, as such certificates take between six to eight weeks to obtain locally.

Below is a summary of the Regulations for parents travelling with children into or out of South Africa:

  • the parents must produce an unabridged birth certificate (in addition to a valid passport) for the child, reflecting the particulars of the parents of the child
  • in the case where only one parent is travelling with the child, consent in the form of an affidavit from the other registered parent is required. Alternatively, either a court order granting full parental responsibilities and rights or legal guardianship in respect of the child, or a death certificate of the other parent registered on the birth certificate must be produced
  • where a person is travelling with a child who is not his or her biological child, they must produce​
    • a copy of the child’s unabridged birth certificate
    • an affidavit from the parents confirming permission to travel
    • copies of passports of the parents or legal guardian
    • the contact details of the parents or guardian
  • an unaccompanied minor must produce:
    • proof of consent from one of or both of his parents or legal guardian in the form of a letter or affidavit for the child to travel into or depart from the Republic (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)
    • 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
    • (iv) the contact details of the parents or legal guardian of the child
  • any child who is in alternative care as defined in the Children’s Act, 2005 and wants to leave the Republic, must produce a certified copy of an authorisation letter from the Provincial Head of the Department of Social Development