What is the change? South Africa’s strict documentary rules for traveling with children take effect Oct. 1.

What does the change mean? Adults traveling with children must carry unabridged birth certificates for all accompanying children, regardless of whether they are their biological children. Additional documentary requirements apply to solo parent travelers.

  • Implementation timeframe: Oct. 1.
  • Visas/permits affected: All visas.
  • Who is affected: Adults traveling with children and unaccompanied minors.
  • Impact on processing times: None.
  • Next steps: Any adults planning to travel to and from South Africa with children should prepare to obtain the appropriate birth certificates and other documentation as soon as possible.

Background: The rules, aimed at reducing child trafficking, are part of South Africa’s immigration overhaul. The rules were originally set to take effect in May, but the Department of Home Affairs delayed implementation to allow families to travel during peak vacation season.

Beginning Oct. 1, all parents traveling with minor children must be in possession of unabridged birth certificates reflecting the particulars of themselves and the child. If only one parent is traveling with the child, he or she must also be in possession of written consent from the other parent in the form of an affidavit that authorizes arrival or departure to and from South Africa with the child. Where applicable, a court order by a divorced parent or a death certificate of a deceased spouse must be provided. These requirements also apply to adults traveling with nonbiological children. Additionally, unaccompanied minors must travel with letters of consent and contact details from both parents as well as letters and identity documents of the persons receiving the children in South Africa.

BAL Analysis: Parents and other adults planning travel to or from South Africa should begin as early as possible to obtain the necessary documents to avoid delays in travel.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in South Africa. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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