New South African law on travelling with under 18’s

School group

After an initial postponement, on 1st June 2015 a new law will be implemented whereby all minors under the age of 18 years will be required to produce, in addition to their passport, an Unabridged Birth Certificate (showing the particulars of both parents) when exiting and entering South African ports of entry.

Why the new law?

This is being done in an attempt to stop human trafficking. According to the Department of Home Affairs, 30 000 minors are trafficked through South African borders every year.

When the new immigration regulation comes into effect, it will be the responsibility of passengers to ensure their children or minors in their care have the correct documentation or risk being denied boarding. The new law will be enforced by airlines and immigration officials at all ports of entry. Airlines and travel agents are doing everything they can to keep their passengers and clients informed about the new law, but ultimately it will be the passengers own responsibility to know what is required of them. In all cases an Unabridged Birth Certificate will be required for minors departing and arriving in South Africa … they will not be allowed to travel without it.

In cases where the Unabridged Birth Certificate is in a language other than English, it must be accompanied by a sworn translation issued by a competent authority in the country concerned.

Certified copies of documents are usually valid for 6 months only.

Don’t delay applying for Unabridged Birth Certificates as the time frame for obtaining the documentation varies greatly, from a few weeks to several months.

Minors travelling in school groups or with their grandparents are not exempt from the requirement.

To download the official South African Home Affairs brochure released on this matterclick here.

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