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
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.
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.
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
Child travelling with one parent
The parent must also produce:
- 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;
- 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;
- where applicable, a death certificate of the other parent registered as a parent of the child on the birth certificate; and/or
- 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:
- an affidavit from the parents of legal guardian of the child confirming that he or she has permission to travel with the child;
- copies of the identity documents or passports of the parents or legal guardian of the child;
- the contact details of the parents of legal guardian of the child.
An unaccompanied minor child
The child must carry:
- 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;
- 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;
- 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
the contact details of the parents or legal guardian of the child.
- 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
- 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.