What does the change mean? South Africa has relaxed documentary requirements for minors traveling to South Africa from visa-exempt countries.

What does the change mean? Minors traveling to South Africa from visa-exempt countries are no longer required to carry birth certificates or a parental consent letter from an absent parent when traveling with one parent or with an adult other than a parent.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: Visa-exempt travel by minors.
  • Business impact: Employees traveling with minor children will have fewer documentary requirements.
  • Next steps: Those traveling with minor children are cautioned that the rule may not be implemented consistently and it is advisable to travel with the children’s additional documentation in case it is requested and to avoid delays.  

Background: South Africa has been working to rescind documentation requirements for traveling minors put in place in 2015 but subsequently criticized for being overly burdensome and hurting tourism. Since last year, foreign children are generally not required to travel with an unabridged birth certificate if their passport contains details of the parental relationship. Parents or other adults traveling with South African children must present copies of the children’s birth certificate and/or other proof of the relationship. The new South African passports for minors contain the parents’ details.

Analysis & Comments: The change is consistent with South Africa’s agenda to relax barriers to travel and will ease documentation requirements for foreign minors traveling to South Africa from visa-exempt countries.

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