What is the change? South Africa is allowing a grace period before strict documentary regulations take effect with respect to traveling with children.

What does the change mean? The Department of Home Affairs will allow children to travel with parents or guardians without unabridged birth certificates until the end of September.

  • Implementation timeframe: Implementation of these provisions will be delayed until the documentary regulations go into effect Oct. 1.
  • Visas/permits affected: All visas.
  • Who is affected: All adults who are traveling with children, as well as unaccompanied children.
  • Impact on processing times: None.

Background: Beginning Oct. 1, South Africa will enforce a new regulation requiring that adults who are traveling with children must carry an unabridged birth certificate for the children. The requirement, which is intended to prevent child trafficking, is part of the immigration overhaul that took effect May 26 and is codified in Immigration Regulations 6(12)(a).

Upon arrival and departure from South Africa, all parents traveling with minor children must be in possession of an unabridged birth certificate reflecting the particulars of themselves and the child. If only one parent is traveling with the child, he or she must also have consent from the other parent, in the form of an affidavit, specifically authorizing entry into or departure 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. The requirements also apply to adults traveling with non-biological children and to children traveling unaccompanied.

The four-month grace period will allow families to travel with children for school holidays without the documents.

BAL Analysis: The Department of Home Affairs is urging South African citizens and foreign nationals to heed its call to apply for unabridged birth certificates for children.

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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