New South African travel requirement for Minors

A new immigration law comes into effect 1 June 2015.

Unabridged Birth Certificate

A new immigration law comes into effect 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.

It is 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).

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.

Travel requirements for minors travelling to and from South Africa

There are different requirements based on how the child is travelling, i.e. children travelling with both parents, children travelling with only one parent, children travelling accompanied but without either parent and children travelling on their own as an unaccompanied minor. For full details on the requirements, please refer to the attached document .

Requirements for children travelling with both parents

A child travelling with both parents will be required to travel with their passport and Unabridged Birth Certificate.

Requirements for children travelling with only one parent
When a child travels with only one parent, he/she will require a passport, Unabridged Birth Certificate, a stamped affidavit in which the absent parent gives consent for the child to travel or 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 6 months old from date of travel.

Requirements for children travelling accompanied but 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 stamped 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.

Requirements for children travelling on their own as unaccompanied minors
A child travelling as an unaccompanied minor has 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.

For more information, go to the Department of Home Affairs website

Application process for Unabridged Birth Certificates

Apply at your nearest Home Affairs office where your Biometric information will be verified. You will need your ID book, as well as your child's ID number. All documents submitted must be originals or certified copies. Certified copies of documents are usually valid for 6 months only.

The Unabridged Birth Certificate currently costs R75. It can take up to 8 weeks to acquire an Unabridged Birth Certificate from the date of application.

Since last year, Unabridged Birth Certificates have been issued automatically for newborns. So if your infant was born after 14 March 2013, you should be in possession of an Unabridged Birth Certificate.

Important contacts and information:

• Department of Home Affairs website - http://www.dha.gov.za/.

• Department of Home Affairs toll free hotline: 0800 60 11 90 

• Quick reference guide:http://www.home-affairs.gov.za/.

Please note that the information on this page is intended as an informal guide to assist people with new South African immigration laws. Please consult the Department of Home Affairs website for full and updated information.