What you need to know about the law affecting traveling with children

Children traveling to and from South Africa from 1 June must have a passport and an unabridged birth certificate.

The Department of Home Affairs will implement the changes to Section 7 of the South African Immigration Act.

It will affect everyone traveling with minors.

The regulations

The new SA immigration requirement states that minors should travel with an unabridged birth certificate, which clearly states the names of the child’s mother and father or equivalent from their country of origin.

In addition to the certificate parents need to apply for child passports issued by Home Affairs.

Guardians traveling with children will be required to produce affidavits from parents as proof of permission for the children to travel.

Only the original unabridged birth certificates will be accepted. No copies, even if they are certified, they will not be accepted.

To apply for the child passport both parents and the child should be present.

Why are they needed?

Home Affairs intends to curb human trafficking in South Africa.

According to the Department, 30 000 minors are trafficked through South African borders every year, half are under the age of 14.

How to apply for child passport

Requirements:

  • a completed passport application Form (DHA-73)

  • If the parents are married, the passport application form must be signed with both parents and the child present, a letter of consent and a copy of their ID will no longer be accepted.

  • If divorced and sole parental rights and responsibilities in regard to guardianship have not been granted to one parent, the child and both parents must be in attendance when the application is submitted and both must sign the application form.

  • Applications can be submitted to the nearest Home Affairs office or SA Mission/Consulate.

  • If a parent is deceased, you must submit his or her death certificate with the application for the passport.

  • In the case of minors born out of wedlock, the biological father ’s consent will also be required if any of the circumstances as outlined in section 21 of the Children’s Act, 1995, are applicable, the child and both parents should be in attendance when the application is submitted.

  • If the applicant is in the care of a guardian other than the parents, proof of the High Court’s appointment must accompany the application.

  • If a parent cannot be located or refuses to consent, or a dispute concerning consent arises, the matter should be referred to the Children’s Court. The Court’s decision must be submitted with the application for the passport.

How to apply for unabridged certificate

An ID book of parent or guardian, as well as your child's ID number should be produced.

Applications can be done at any Home Affairs office where your biometric information will be verified.

Submit only originals no copies will be accepted.

The Unabridged Birth Certificate costs R75.

The process takes between six and eight weeks.

The difference between abridged and unabridged certificates

An Unabridged Birth Certificate lists the child's full name, ID number, place of birth as well as the both parents details.

Until 2013, abridged certificates were issued in South Africa only detailing the child's full name and ID number.

While both abridged and unabridged birth certificates are valid documents, only unabridged birth certificates are accepted for:

  • Visa applications

  • School registrations

  • Applications for South African passports

How much does it cost?

  • Child passport – R400
  • Unabridged certificate – R75

Department of Home Affairs FAQ for applications

CapeTalk’s Pippa Hudson spoke to Ignatius Mokgele, Office Manager at the Western Cape Department of Home Affairs and he said that:

Children from 0 - 17 years should have a child passport as well as an unabridged certificate. And when they are 18 years and older they need to apply for an adult passport.

All branches of Home Affairs are eligible to issue child passports and unabridged birth certificates.

Branches with more than 10 employees will open two Saturdays a month.

Listen to Pippa Hudson and Ignatius Mokgele below:

Things to note:

Anyone wishing to travel after the 1 June may do so provided they have a letter from Home Affairs confirming that you have applied.

Home affairs is planning to introduce an electronic system to allow applicants to apply and do payments online and only go to the branches for finger prints and photos. however,It will only be ready from October.

In cases where the unabridged birth certificate is in a language other than English, it must be accompanied by a sworn translation issued by a competent authority from the country concerned.

Department of Home Affairs website

Home Affairs toll free Number: 0800 60 11 90

Click to read the full regulations

Listen below for conversations pertaining to the new travel regulations:

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