The stringent international travel requirements for children travelling to and from South Africa have finally been relaxed. It’s taken years of complaints and lost revenue since former Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba introduced the laws. The Home Affairs Department (DHA) said Wednesday it was “pleased” to make the announcement.
The DHA said: “From the beginning of December 2018, certain categories of child travellers will be exempt from presenting supporting documents at ports of entry. However, travellers are urged to carry these documents because they may be requested in certain instances.”
The new travel requirements are as follows:
For travellers coming to South Africa:
- Children who are foreign nationals from countries where visas are required will no longer have to carry supporting documents. This is because they would have been required to provide these during the visa application process. (Tbh – this stipulation already existed beforehand… but the problem at the DHA is that not all officials were always up to date with what was and was not required.)
- Children who are foreign nationals from countries where visas are not required may be asked to produce supporting documents upon entry. Even though producing supporting documents is no longer compulsory, travellers are strongly advised to carry the supporting documents.
- In the case of countries that endorse the particulars of parents in children’s passports, or other official identification documents, these documents shall be sufficient to establish the identity of the parents of the travelling minor.
For South Africans leaving the country:
- South African children travelling abroad may be requested to produce supporting documents at ports of entry.
- Children with passports detailing parents’ names will not be required to carry birth certificates when travelling. In addition, a parental affidavit may be required (where one or both parents are absent).
- These requirements are meant to give effect to the Children’s Act, 2005 which stipulates that minors travelling in or out of the country must do so with the consent of both parents.
The Department says it has trained immigration officials to implement these changes.
The amendments took effect on 01 December 2018, ahead of the festive season when many parents and families will be going on holiday with children.
For more details check the DHA Website; www.dha.gov.za or call the contact centre on 0800 60 11 90.