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CHILD TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS

The Department of Home Affairs has implemented travel restrictions for minors travelling in and out of South Africa. The new law will take effect from the 1st June 2015. Minors will be required to have their unabridged birth certificate along with their valid passport when travelling.

This affects anyone wanting to travel from or to South Africa with a child under the age of 18 years, parents who are travelling with their child but not their spouse and those who wish to send their child on a trip accompanied by someone other than a parent or unaccompanied. It does not affect those travelling within South Africa (ie: you only need these documents if you cross South Africa’s borders by land, sea or air).

What is an Unabridged Birth Certificate?

It’s a birth certificate that reflects the particulars of both parents of the child.  All children born in South Africa after 14 March 2013 were issued with a valid unabridged birth certificate automatically and free of charge.  Everyone born before that, and those from countries who do not automatically issue unabridged certificates, must apply for the document well before their travel date.
 

Dedicated phone numbers for travellers requiring assistance with the unabridged birth certificates:

072 634 0614 / 072 634 0589 / 073 567 6208 / 073 567 5968.

MINOR TRAVELLING WITH BOTH PARENTS

When a child travels with both parents, they must produce an unabridged birth certificate of the child reflecting the particulars of the parents of the child in addition to valid passports.
Adopted children to provide proof of adoption by means of an adoption certificate.
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MINOR TRAVELLING WITH ONE PARENT

When a child travels with one parent, they must produce an unabridged birth certificate, valid passports in addition to an affidavit in which the absent parent gives consent for the child to travel, a court order granting full parental responsibilities, or the death certificate of the absent parent. The affidavit should be no more than 3 months old from date of travel.
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CHILD TRAVELLING WITH A GUARDIAN

When a child travels with a guardian, they must produce an unabridged birth certificate, valid passports, an affidavit in which the parents gives consent for the child to travel, documentation stating the person’s contact details and residential address & contact details where the child will be residing. The affidavit should be no more than 3 months old from date of travel.
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CHILD TRAVELLING UNACCOMPANIED

When a child travels unaccompanied, the child must produce an unabridged birth certificate, valid passport, an affidavit in which the parents gives consent for the child to travel, letter of permission stating the person's contact details & residential address & contact details where the child will be residing in South Africa. The affidavit should be no more than 3 months old from date of travel.
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Unabridged Birth Certificate Application Process

  • Go to your nearest Home Affairs office to have your Biometric information will be verified.
  • Take your ID book with, as well as your child's ID number or original birth certificate.
  • All documents submitted must be the original or a certified copy.
  • The Unabridged Birth Certificate costs around R75.
  • From the date of application, it can take up to 8 weeks to acquire an Unabridged Birth Certificate 
  • Unabridged Birth Certificates are now issued automatically for newborns. If your infant was born after 14 March 2013, you should be in possession of a UBC.
  • Certified copies of documents are usually valid for 6 months only.
  • The time frame for obtaining the Unabridged Birth Certificate varies greatly, from a few weeks to several months.
  • Minors travelling in school groups or with their grandparents are not exempt from the requirement.

FAQ

Are there travel exemptions?
  • The new law does not apply to children travelling domestically (E.g. Between Johannesburg and Cape Town).
  • Minor passengers on a 'Cruise to Nowhere'. For example a cruise that departs Durban Harbour and returns to Durban Harbour, or a cruise that goes from Durban Harbour to Cape Town Harbour.

 

What about non-South Africa Citizens travelling to South Africa?

  • They will still be required to submit an original birth certificates and, parental consent or certified copies during the visa application process.
  • For visa-exempt countries a strong advisory has been issued, with travellers advised to have proof of relationship and consent from the absent parent/s or guardian/s, in case they are asked to provide such on arrival. It has been recommended by the US Embassy that US citizens should carry an authorisation letter that is notarised.
  • If a child is travelling alone to South Africa, the child must have a letter from the person that will be receiving him/her in South Africa. It must contain the person’s address, contact details, as well as a copy of the host’s identity document or passport.