07 August 2014
New rules for travelling in South Africa with children come into force from 1st October 2014 but it has been already debated by many parents. The rule demands parents travelling in or out of South Africa to provide a full (unabridged) birth certificate for the child. In the case of the child travelling with only one parent, it will be necessary to have legal or parental consent from the other parent allowing the child to travel (an affidavit from the second parent or a court order).
The same permissions apply should a child be travelling with any other adult. Adults with children will be required to travel with these documents, as well as translations of birth certificates issued in other languages to be ready to present if asked to.
As well as this, certified copies of the both parents’ passports or any kind of identifying documents should also be provided to the immigration officials. Provided a parent has legal solo guardianship, a certified copy of the court order should be provided.
The news of these upcoming regulations has spread panic among South African parents who have plans to travel because now they will have to face a potentially long waiting time to get all the necessary documents ready. For instance, producing a full birth certificate at the South African Department of Home Affairs can take 5-8 weeks or longer.
On the 31st July 2014, Malusi Gigaba, the Minister of Home Affairs, and Derek Hanekom, the Minister of Tourism, issued a joint statement considering the new rules. A spokesperson for home affairs said that the rules were planned to come into force from July 1st but it was decided to change the date with regard to the school holidays.
Provided the difficulties with issuing the necessary documents, it is recommended to have an appropriate travel insurance that covers any loss. It’s easy to think only of medical costs when planning travel insurance, but this goes to show how important documents and passports are, and they need protection too.