Planning a family trip to Africa? If your flights and accommodation are already booked or you're simply dreaming of an epic safari, you'll want to acquaint yourself with South Africa's new immigration laws regarding travelling with kids before you go.
Instated on 1 June 2015, new regulations for the travel of minors have been introduced as part of the South African Immigration Act.
Children under the age of 18 travelling to and from South Africa must carry, and produce when requested, a full birth certificate along with a valid passport through all entry and exit points of the country.
If a full (unabridged) birth certificate cannot be produced, a certified copy can be provided, though it must not be more than three months old.
In addition to carrying a valid passport and full birth certificate, children travelling unaccompanied, with a school group or only one parent, must also provide a legal document signed by any non-travelling parents giving approval for the child's travel.
This document – a Statutory Declaration or an Affidavit – must contain full names, passport information of the parents and child registered on the birth certificate, along with contact details for any non-travelling parent. The document should also specify the travel destinations of the parent and child.
Where it applies, a child must produce a death certificate of a parent registered on the birth certificate or a court order granting sole custody or legal guardianship.
The new policy applies to minors of all nationalities. Children under 18 in transit are exempt unless their nationality requires them to obtain a transit visa.
Non compliance with the new regulations is likely to result in airlines refusing travellers onboard flights, being turned around at the border or heavy fines.
For more information on the requirements of these guidelines or situations regarding legal guardianship, refer to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.