“We’re all going on a summer holiday…” (Cliff Richard)

With the Festive Season (and our Summer Holidays!) well and truly upon us, you may be inviting family or friends to visit you from overseas with their children, or perhaps you are a foreigner planning a family trip to South Africa. Either way here’s some good news in the form of a welcome concession from government in regard to the documentation you will need to produce on entry.

In a nutshell foreign children until now have only been able to enter the country with unabridged birth certificates and consent letters. That requirement was waived – for accompanied children only (check the full details in the table below) – from 8 November 2019.

The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) says it has communicated this very welcome new development to all role players, most importantly to the immigration officials at ports of entry who are tasked with enforcing the rules, but if you do happen to have documentation handy it can’t hurt to bring it along in case of any queries. If you need visas to visit you will anyway have to produce the documents when applying.

South African children (and unaccompanied foreign children) must still provide a list of required supporting documents – see below.

Note that the above is just a summary – it is extremely important that you check the DHA table below for full details, and that you ask your lawyer for help if you think any exemptions may apply, if you have any difficulty in understanding what is required, or if you cannot get the necessary documentation together.

Documents required for children travelling through a port of entry of the Republic

CATEGORY SOUTH AFRICAN CHILD FOREIGN VISA EXEMPT CHILD
CHILD ACCOMPANIED BY BOTH PARENTS
  • valid passport
  • copy of a birth certificate / equivalent document or passport containing the details of the parent or parents of the child
  • valid passport
CHILD ACCOMPANIED BY ONE PARENT
  • valid passport
  • copy of a birth certificate/equivalent document
  • parental consent letter
  • copy of the passport / identity document of the absent parent
  • contact details of the absent parent
  • where applicable-
    • copy of a court order granting full parental responsibilities and rights or legal guardianship in respect of the child.
    • copy of a death certificate of the deceased parent
  • valid passport
CHILD TRAVELLING WITH PERSON WHO IS NOT HIS / HER BIOLOGICAL PARENT
  • valid passport
  • copy of a birth certificate/equivalent document
  • parental consent letter(s)
  • copy of the passport(s)/ identity document(s) of the parent(s)/legal guardian(s)
  • contact details of the parent(s)/legal guardian(s)
  • where applicable-
    • copy of a death certificate
    • copy of an adoption order
    • copy of a court order granting full parental responsibilities and rights / legal guardianship in respect of the child.
  • valid passport
UN-ACCOMPANIED CHILD
  • copy of his /her birth certificate
  • parental consent letters
  • copy of the passport(s)/identity document(s) of the parent(s) / legal guardian(s)
  • contact details of the parent(s)/ legal guardian(s)
  • letter from the person who is to receive the child in the Republic, containing his / her residential address and contact details in the Republic where the child will reside
  • copy of the identity document / valid passport and visa or permanent residence permit of the person who is to receive the child in the Republic
  • where applicable-
    • copy of an adoption order
    • copy of a death certificate of the deceased parent/ parents or legal guardian;
    • copy of a court order granting full parental responsibilities and rights or legal guardianship in respect of the child
CHILD IN ALTERNATIVE CARE
  • valid passport
  • letter from the Provincial Head of the Department of Social Development where the child resides authorising his or her departure from the Republic as contemplated in section 169 of the Children’s Act (Act No. 38 of 2005).

(Source – Department of Home Affairs)

© DotNews, 2005-2019. This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE).

Visiting South Africa with kids just became easier – Here’s what you need to know