Revised advisory notes on the requirements for children travelling through South African ports of entry

In November 2019, the Department of Home Affairs in South Africa published updated advisory notes on the requirements for children travelling through South African ports of entry, these are aimed at giving effect to the Children’s Act (Act 38 of 2005). To view the original update can click here.

Who is affected? 

This will affect all individuals travelling to and from South Africa with children under the age of 18.

Background

On 19 September 2018, the South African Government announced that a number of changes will be made to make it easier for tourists, business people and academia to travel to South Africa. More detail on this announcement is available in our South African Immigration Update published on 25 September 2018. This updated advisory aims to further lighten the burden placed on parents travelling with children through South African ports of entry. This replaces our South African Immigration update posted on 28 March 2019, which detailed the initial advisory notes on parents travelling with minors.

Impact

Subject to some exemptions, below is a list of documents required when travelling in or out of South Africa with minor children:

Where both parents are travelling with their biological child/ children

  • Valid Passport
  • Valid Visa (if applicable)
  • Copy of a birth certificate / equivalent document or passport containing the details of the parent or parents of the child (required only for South African children)

 

Where only one parent is travelling with their biological child/ children 

  • Valid Passport
  • Valid Visa (if applicable)
  • Copy of a birth certificate / equivalent document or passport containing the details of the parent or parents of the child (required only for South African children)
  • Parental Consent Affidavit from the parent who will not be traveling with the child/ children (required for South African children)

 

Where the child/ children are travelling unaccompanied 

  • Valid Passport
  • Valid Visa (if applicable)
  • Copy of a birth certificate / equivalent document or passport containing the details of the parent or parents of the child
  • Parental Consent Affidavit from both parents
  • Copy of the passport(s)/identity document(s) of the parent(s) / legal guardian(s)
  • Contact details of the parent(s)/ legal guardian(s)
  • Full details of the individual receiving the child/ children in South Africa, this should be in the form of a letter with proof of their residential and work address, full contact details, a certified copy of the identity document or valid passport and visa or permanent residence permit
  • Adoption or court order granting full parental responsibilities and rights or a death certificate (if applicable).

 

When the child/ children are travelling with someone who is not their biological parent

  • Valid Passport
  • Valid Visa (if applicable)
  • Copy of a birth certificate / equivalent document or passport containing the details of the parent or parents of the child (required only for South African children)
  • Copy of the passport(s)/identity document(s) of the parent(s) / legal guardian(s) (required only for South African children)
  • Contact details of the parent(s)/ legal guardian(s) (required only for South African children)
  • Parental Consent Affidavit from both parents (required only for South African children)
  • Adoption or court order granting full parental responsibilities and rights or a death certificate (if applicable) (required only for South African children)

 

A child in alternative care shall produce

  • Valid Passport
  • Valid Visa (if applicable)
  • Letter from the Provincial Head of the Department of Social Development where the child resides authorising his or her departure from the Republic as contemplated in section 169 of the Children’s Act (Act No. 38 of 2005)

 

As mentioned above these requirements are subject to certain exemptions as detailed below:

  • South African children travelling on South African passports may travel to South Africa without birth certificates
  • Children in direct transit at an International Airport will not be required to produce any documents (a transit visa may still be required)
  • Children in possession of valid South African visas will not be required to produce any documents as these would have been provided during the visa application process (it is however recommended that the same rules as above are adhered to and copies of the documents be kept on hand)
  • Where parents’ details are endorsed in children’s passports, or other official identification documents, these documents will be sufficient to establish the identity of the parents of the travelling minor
  • In the case of school tours, the parental consent letter may be replaced with a letter from the school principal confirming that all consent letters are held by the school.  Upon producing this letter, immigration officers at ports of entry and South African missions abroad would not require any additional documents from individual scholars such as parental consent, birth certificates, death certificates, court orders or copies of the passports or identity documents of the parents and of the person receiving the child in SA. This special dispensation applies to all schools registered with the Department of Basic Education in South Africa and its equivalent abroad

 

How Santa Fe can assist?

Santa Fe can support parents or individuals who wish to travel with children by assessing their eligibility to travel and to draft the required affidavits/ motivation letters. We can also assist to secure the required documents or request exemptions as required.

We can also keep you updated on further developments in South African immigration matters and will advise on any changes requiring your attention.

Should you have any questions, please contact:

Terence Rover

Immigration Manager – Africa
Santa Fe Relocation
Johannesburg, South Africa
D: +27 (0) 10 442 8933
M: +27 (0) 72 279 9606
E: Terence.Rover@santaferelo.com

Paolo Longo

Regional Immigration Director –  India, Middle East & Africa
Santa Fe Relocation
Johannesburg, South Africa
D: +27 (0) 10 595 2337
M: +27 (0) 83 677 7949
E: Paolo.longo@santaferelo.com

 

To read more immigration updates, click here

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