Travelling with children – New SA travel regulations.
The newly appointed Home Affairs Minister in South Africa has recently made an important change to the immigration law. This change has a huge impact on parents travelling with children abroad. This rule also applies to tourist travelling to South Africa with children. Travellers now have to provide an Unabridged Birth Certificate. Travel agents and airlines are not allow to sell tickets to minors, who can not provide an unabridged birth certificate, and they will also not allowed to board for their flight. This could be very costly if you are not aware of the new regulations.
This caused outrage among travellers, with reason, because the new law was scheduled to come into affect on 1 July 2014. To apply for an unabridged birth certificate is a process and has to be done through the Department of Home Affairs. If you are travelling on 1 July 2014 or thereafter, and don’t have an unabridged birth certificate for your child, your child will not be able to board.
What is an Unabridged Birth Certificate and how does it differ from a normal birth certificate?
One lady on a forum was very upset because she said she already has a birth certificate for her child and why does she need another? When a newborn child is registered at Home Affairs, he/she is issued with a normal birth certificate. This certificate is adequate, unless you are planning to move and live in another country. The unabridged birth certificate has the full names and information of both your parents. It can take up to 3 months to get an Unabridged Birth Certificate from Home Affairs.
Unclear travel rules delay the process of implementation.
Due to a number of valid complaints by the public and travel operators it has been decided to delay the process until 1 October 2014. Questions that have been raised are the following:
- Does local Cruises count as International travel and do parents need to provide an unabridged certificate?
- Is it possible to have the original certificate certified and can this be presented instead of the original?
- In the case of parents that are divorced and have custody over children. Do they require a new affidavit from the other parent each time they travel with the child? This is applicable to one parent that is often travelling with the child.
- How has the new regulation been communicated around the world to other stakeholders?
What is the reason for the implementation of this new regulation?
South Africa has been actively involved in fighting human and child trafficking. By implementing the law they are hoping to prevent the criminal from taking a child abroad. There are many issues to resolve and in essence this is a great idea. Yes, there is a lot of admin work involved but once you have the Unabridged Birth Certificate, there is nothing else to worry about.
I agree that the original implementation date of 1 July was too soon. Hopefully when it comes into affect on 1 October 2014, most of the issues will be dealt with. I also hope that Home Affairs will be able to deal with the demand and will have the resources available to speed up the issuing process of Unabridged Birth Certificates.
This is an extract from the Law and for more information I suggest you contact Home Affairs directly in South Africa. Travellers travelling to South Africa need to obtain an Unabridged Birth Certificate from their own country.
Following are the new South African immigration regulations concerning travelling with children:
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
(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.