The South African government changed the child travel laws and visa regulations with the aim to reduce child trafficking across SA borders. The new law came into effect 1 June 2015 and affects anyone travelling to or from South Africa with a child under the age of 18 years.
This includes South African citizens leaving or arriving into the country, and foreign nationals arriving and leaving the country. The laws apply to all of South Africa’s borders: land, sea or air. It does not affect those travelling within South Africa.
The laws do not apply to passengers remaining in transit, unless the traveller requires a transit visa. Necessary documents should be submitted during the transit visa application process and all documents and visa should be carried on person whilst travelling.
In short, all children under the age of 18 leaving and entering South Africa will be required to have an unabridged birth certificate to accompany their passport – along with the relevant visa if required.
Additional documents are required depending on (1) who the child is travelling with, (2) the marital status of the parents and (3) any other special circumstances (adoption, foster care, whether both parents are still alive, etc). Visit www.drivesouthafrica.co.za for all the details and frequently asked questions.
Update November 2016: DHA implements new birth certificate – travel requirements for minors remain