What is the change? The new Minister of Home Affairs, Hlengiwe Mkhize, has been asked to consider removing controversial visa rules put in place by her predecessor that require children to carry documents evidencing the consent of their parents when traveling into or out of South Africa.

What does the change mean? A report on the impact of the rules on South Africa’s tourism industry found that 13,000 travelers were turned away en route to South Africa in 2016 because they lacked the required documentation.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing.
  • Who is affected: All minors traveling to or from South Africa.
  • Impact on processing times: The requirement adds to the documentary headaches for travelers as it can be time consuming to obtain birth certificates and other required support documentation for children.
  • Business impact: The rules also impact employees traveling with minor children.

Background: The rules were implemented in 2015 after several delays. Intended to prevent child-trafficking, the rules were roundly criticized as overly burdensome on travelers. Concessions were later made, but recent figures show the country’s tourism industry continues to be negatively impacted.

BAL Analysis: The rules for traveling minors remain in place, but the change in leadership at the Department of Home Affairs could lead to a review and possible additional concessions.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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