The Department of Home Affair appears to have dropped some of the requirements for children travelling to, from and through South Africa.
Tourism Update stumbled upon this breathtaking development by accident on Monday morning.
Addressing a briefing on Friday May 29 (three days ahead of the implementation of the new requirements), Department of Home Afairs Director General Mkuseli Apleni said unabridged birth certificates would not be required “where both parents are travelling with valid passports and visas” explaining that these additional documents would have been provided when applications were made for passports and visas. Read Apleni’s full speech here.
This contradicts the Immigration Amendment Act gazetted in May last year, which states “Where parents are travelling with a child, such parents must produce an unabridged birth certificate.” The Act was to be effective from May 26, but the requirements for children were postponed until October 1, 2014 and then again until June 1 this year.
The Act further states that: “In the case of one parent travelling with a child, he or she must produce an unabridged birth certificate and consent in the form of an affidavit from the other parent, registered as a parent on the birth certificate of the child, authorising him or her to enter into or depart from the Republic with the child he or she is travelling with.” Additionally, the Standard Operating Procedure released by the Department said that “minors accompanied by both of his or her parents are required to carry a valid passport, a valid visa if required and an unabridged birth certificate or equivalent document”.
While Apleni said on Friday that the unabridged birth certificate is not a requirement where both parents are travelling with valid passports and visas, he did not clarify what the requirement would be for families and children travelling from visa exempt countries. “[I]t is where one parent or another person is traveling with somebody else’s child that we require valid passports, an unabridged birth certificate, and parental consent affidavits.” A copy of the parental consent affidavit is available on DHA’s website here.
The DG also provided clarity on the contentious issue of translation. “Based on the specimen of unabridged birth certificates or equivalent documents we have received from countries, we are not requiring any translation from travellers,” he said.
Apleni was confident a smooth rollout will ensue: “We are looking forward to a smooth process with only limited glitches as would be expected of any new endeavour or project,” he said.