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Birth Certificate for under 18's required for travel

A new immigration law is coming into effect on 1 June 2015. Please note that this law was originally meant to come into effect on 1 October 2014, however, after engaging stakeholders on the matter, the Department has granted the postponement of the two particular requirements -- the unabridged birth certificate and written permission, to 1 June 2015.

Under the new law, all minors (children 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 is it happening? This is being done to curb human trafficking. According to the Department of Home Affairs, 30 000 minors are trafficked through South African borders every year. 50% of these minors are under the age of 14.

When the new immigration regulation comes into effect on 01/06/2015, it will be the responsibility of passengers to ensure their children have the correct documentation or risk being denied boarding. The new law will be enforced by airlines and immigration officials across the board (land, sea and air) Although airlines and travel agents are doing everything to keep passengers informed, ultimately it will be passengers’ 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.

Children travelling with only one parent

When a child travels with only one parent, additional documents should include an affidavit in which the absent parent gives consent for the child to travel, a court order granting full parental responsibilities or legal guardianship of the child, or the death certificate of the absent parent. The affidavit should be no more than 3 months old from date of travel.

Children travelling without either parent

In the case of a child travelling with a person other than a parent, the Unabridged Birth Certificate must be supplemented by affidavits from the parents or legal guardians confirming that the child may travel with that person, copies of the ID documents or passports of the parents or legal guardian, and the contact details of the parents or legal guardian.

Similarly, a child travelling as an unaccompanied minor would have to produce not only the Unabridged Birth Certificate, but also proof of consent from both parents or legal guardians and contact details, plus documentation relating to the person receiving the child in South Africa. The latter documentation should include a letter stating the person’s contact details and residential address, contact details where the child will be residing, plus a copy of his or her ID document, passport or residence permit.

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