From 1st June, stringent new rules aimed at tackling child trafficking will come into effect for all under-age children arriving/departing South Africa. While it is hoped that this will help protect scores of children brought into/out of the country illegally each year, the new requirements will significantly increase the red tape for anyone travelling with children and children travelling solo.
The Department of Home Affairs will require children travelling alone and the parent(s) or a legal guardian accompanying any child under 18 to present a range of legal documents in order to enter or depart from South Africa at any Port of Entry.
This new requirement will affect all parents/guardians and all children under the age of 18, of all nationalities, wishing to travel to/from South Africa. South African Airways have already confirmed that the new rules will be implemented on flights in and out of London Heathrow Airport.
From 1st June 2015, if passengers do not have the required documents readily available, airlines can refuse embarkation onto international flights and the Immigration Service at Port of Entry can refuse permission to enter/exit. Only those starting their journey BEFORE 1 June 2015 will be exempted from the requirements, provided that the return leg of their journey takes place within a period of 4 months of the outbound journey.
The chief concern for parents/guardians of all nationalities will be not only the cost, but also the potentially lengthy timescales involved with obtaining the required documents, particularly those requiring legalisation/translation in a third-country where the parent/child is no longer resident.
The new requirements will also create issues for single parents who are no longer in contact with the other parent, as well as act as a significant hurdle for those arranging youth tours.
As such, all those considering travel to/from South Africa with children are strongly advised to plan well in advance of their proposed travel date.
A parent travelling alone with a child must provide the unabridged birth certificate plus, as applicable:
• An affidavit from the other parent on the birth certificate, authorising the child to travel (dated within 3 months of the travel date)
• A court order granting full parental responsibilities or legal guardianship
• A death certificate of the other parent named on the birth certificate
• A court order – in the event that the other parent refuses to give consent for travel
A non-biological and non-legal guardian travelling with a child must provide the unabridged birth certificate plus:
• An affidavit from the parents/ legal guardian confirming their permission to travel with the child ( dated within 3 months of travel date)
• Copies of the identity documents or passports of the parents / legal guardian; and
• The contact details of the parents or legal guardian of the child
Underage children travelling alone must be in possession of:
• A letter or affidavit from the parent(s)/guardian giving consent for travel into/out of South Africa.
• Where only one parent provides consent, a copy of the court order granting them full parental rights.
• A letter from the person receiving the child in South Africa, confirming residential address and contact details;
• A copy of the identity document /valid passport / visa / permanent residence permit of the person receiving the child in South Africa; and
• Contact details of the parent(s)/legal guardian.
All documents must be original or certified/notarised copies by a Commissioner of Oaths, Notary Public or the equivalent legal authority in the country of issuance. Any birth certificates not originally in English must also be accompanied by an official English translation by a legally recognised/sworn translator.
Newland Chase are able to assist with any legalisations as required. Please contact us for more information.