Questions?

We're happy to answer your questions, over the phone (+44 20 7993 6860), in person, or by email.

Please use the form below and we'll get back to you within 24 hours.

(Just so we know you're a real person)

SOUTH AFRICA – New Requirements for Parents Travelling with Children

Effective 1 June 2015, parents or legal guardians travelling to or from South Africa with their child will have to produce the child’s unabridged birth certificate(s) along with other relevant documents. This change has been much anticipated over the past months and is being implemented to reduce human trafficking.

Without the required documents, airlines may not allow a child to board flights into or out of South Africa, and immigration officials at the border of South Africa might refuse to allow a child to enter or depart from South Africa.

Who is affected?

These new requirements apply equally to all foreign and South African national parents, travelling with all children under the age of 18, into or out of South Africa, via any port of entry.

Grace Period

There will be a four month grace period, starting 1 June, for children who are already in South Africa, having entered the country for an intended return trip prior to 1 June, and who are departing to complete their journey.

Please note that this grace period does not apply to children who are already resident in South Africa with their parents, nor to any children entering the country after 1 June.

Documents Required

Parents and legal guardians travelling with children under the age of 18 must produce the unabridged (full form) birth certificate of the child which clearly states the names of both parents. Any certificate which is not in English must be accompanied by an official translation by a legally recognised/sworn translator.

Child travelling with one parent

The parent must also produce:

  1. 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 South Africa with the child he or she is travelling with;
  2. 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;
  3. where applicable, a death certificate of the other parent registered as a parent of the child on the birth certificate; and/or
  4. legally separated parents should also provide a court order when the other parent refuses to give consent for the child to travel.

Child travelling with a person who is not a biological parent

The guardian must also produce:

  1. an affidavit from the parents or legal guardian of the child confirming that he or she has permission to travel with the child;
  2. copies of the identity documents or passports of the parents or legal guardian of the child;
  3. the contact details of the parents or legal guardian of the child.

An unaccompanied minor child

The child must carry:

  1. proof of consent for the child to travel into or out of South Africa, from one or both of his or her parents or legal guardian, in the form of a letter or affidavit; along with a court order granting full parental responsibilities and rights in respect of the child, if the proof of consent is provided by only one parent;
  2. a letter from the person who is to receive the child in South Africa, including his or her residential address and contact details in South Africa where the child will be residing;
  3. 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 South Africa; and
  4. the contact details of the parents or legal guardian of the child.

Please note:

  • Any document which is not in English must be accompanied by an official translation by a legally recognised/sworn translator;
  • Sworn/notarized affidavits must not be older than three months at the time they are presented to the authorities at the time of travel;
  • All documents must be originals or copies certified/notarized as a true copy of the original by a Commissioner of Oaths, Notary Public or the equivalent commissioning authority empowered by law do so in the country concerned.

Action Items

  • Ensure that any children travelling into or out of South Africa after 1 June 2015 have the required documents readily available, translated and notarised/certified if necessary.

This alert was drafted using information provided by J Fetting SPC.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this immigration alert has been abridged from laws, court decisions, and administrative rulings and should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice. If you have specific questions regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Peregrine © 2017 Peregrine Immigration Management Ltd.