Travelling with Children to or from South Africa?

Find out which documents you'll need when travelling in or out of South Africa with your children.

 

Child Visa Checklist by Drive South Africa

Updated travel requirements for minors - statement by South African Tourism Minister, Derek Hanekom

School principals will now be allowed to confirm permission for South African children to travel abroad on school tours, in lieu of individual parental consent forms. A standardised template for the process of confirming permission to travel is available on the Department of Home Affairs website.

The parental consent affidavit has been extended to six months for South African children who are travelling unaccompanied or with one parent.

The Department of Home Affairs has indicated that further changes in immigration requirements decided by Cabinet will be announced as soon as they are finalised.

Travellers and tour operators should also be aware of immigration regulations which have not yet changed:

Children travelling to South Africa from visa exempt countries will still need to carry their unabridged birth certificates (UBC), and other supporting documentation as required by the existing regulations, until the changes to those regulations have been effected and announced.

Original birth certificates or certified copies must continue to be submitted as part of the visa application process for inbound travellers from countries which require visas to visit South Africa.

Get notified when it is official
Step 1

Who is your child travelling with?

  • Child is travelling with both parents
  • Child is travelling with 1 parent
  • Unaccompanied child
  • Child is travelling with an adult that is not a parent nor legal guardian
Step 2

Select the appropriate parent scenario.

  • Biological parents
  • Adoptive parents
  • Legal guardians
  • Parents are married
  • Parents are divorced (or legally separated)
  • Child has legal guardian(s)
  • Parent is widowed
  • Single Parent (only one parent on the Unabridged Birth Certificate)
  • Parents are not married, but both parents names are on the Unabridged Birth Certificate
  • Parents are married
  • Parents are divorced (or legally separated)
  • Child has legal guardian(s)
  • Parent is widowed
  • Single Parent (only one parent on the Unabridged Birth Certificate)
  • Parents are not married, but both parents names are on the Unabridged Birth Certificate
  • Child in alternative care (foster home, youth care centre, temporary safe care)
  • Child is orphan, without legal guardian or adoption yet
  • Parents are married
  • Parents are divorced (or legally separated)
  • Child has legal guardian(s)
  • Parent is widowed
  • Single Parent (only one parent on the Unabridged Birth Certificate)
  • Parents are not married, but both parents names are on the Unabridged Birth Certificate
  • Child in alternative care (foster home, youth care centre, temporary safe care)
  • Child is orphan, without legal guardian or adoption yet
Step 3

Select the specific scenario for the child.

  • Biological
  • Adopted
  • With specific parental rights and responsibilities
  • With full parental rights and responsibilities
  • With joint legal guardianship
  • With full legal guardianship
  • Biological
  • Adopted
  • Biological
  • Adopted
  • With specific parental rights and responsibilities
  • With full parental rights and responsibilities
  • With joint legal guardianship
  • With full legal guardianship
  • Biological
  • Adopted
  • Biological
  • Adopted
  • With specific parental rights and responsibilities
  • With full parental rights and responsibilities
  • With joint legal guardianship
  • With full legal guardianship
  • Biological
  • Adopted

Disclaimer:

Whilst every effort is made to ensure the Child Visa Checklist app is kept up to date, the creators of this app cannot be held responsible for travel delays or curtailment due to changes in the regulations made by the Department of Home Affairs. Please report omissions or corrections to cvc@drivesouthafrica.co.za.

If you’re uncertain, we recommend you check www.dha.gov.za, contact your nearest embassy / consulate or seek legal advice before travelling.

Download SA Home Affairs’ guide to minors travelling internationally (PDF).

Download Guide

Download the Parental Consent Affidavit form provided by SA Home Affairs (PDF).

Download PCA Form

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Legal advice relating to travelling with children to or from South Africa

The South African Child Visa Checklist app was created by Drive South Africa in consultation with Schindlers Attorneys.

For legal advice relating to travelling with children in and out of South Africa contact:

Senior Associate Megan Harrington-Johnson
Candidate Attorney Jennifer Stoler

Megan and Jennifer of Schindlers Attorneys

Special thanks to Senior Associate Megan Harrington-Johnson and Candidate Attorney Jennifer Stoler of Schindlers Attorneys.

Megan and Jennifer reviewed the app’s 37 unique parent-child travel scenarios. They provided key feedback which ensured the app provides accurate travel document checklists that abide by the department of Home Affairs’ Standard Operating Procedures document (as issued to the airlines) and the relevant Acts as per South African law.

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Child visa frequently asked questions

Why is the South African government changing the child travel laws and visa regulations?

The new child travel laws and visa regulations aim to reduce and prevent child trafficking across South African borders. 

When do the new laws come into effect?

Monday, 1 June 2015

Who does this affect?

The laws affect 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. 

Does it affect travellers in transit?

The laws are NOT applicable to passengers remaining in transit, unless the traveller requires a transit visa. 

The necessary documents should be submitted during the transit visa application process and all documents and visa should be carried on person whilst travelling. 

What documents are needed? 

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). 

Use the interactive tool on this page to determine exactly what documents are necessary for your particular scenario. 

How recently must the documents be issued? 

Note that the Parental Consent Affidavit (PCA) documents must be dated within four months of the date of departure or entry. 

Must I travel with the original documents? 

All documents must be original or certified as a copy of an original by a Commissioner of Oaths, or the equivalent authority, should Commissioner of Oaths not be a practice in the country concerned. 

What is an Unabridged Birth Certificate? 

The Unabridged Birth Certificate (UBC) is a birth certificate that reflects the particulars of both parents of the child. 

All children born in South Africa after 14 March 2013 were issued with a valid unabridged birth certificate automatically and free of charge. 

Everyone born before that, and those from countries who do not automatically issue unabridged certificates, must apply for the document well before their travel date.

What about birth certificates and documents that are not in English? 

Documents issued in a language other than English will be accepted, however a verified translation is recommended. 

What if there is no such thing as an unabridged birth certificate in my country?

In the case of countries that do not issue unabridged birth certificates, a letter to this effect issued by the competent authority of the foreign country should be produced. 

In the case of foreign countries that do not issue unabridged birth certificates, an equivalent document containing the particulars of the child and his or her parents issued by the competent authority of the foreign country should be produced.

What if my country does not issue affidavits?

An affidavit is a written statement from an individual which is sworn to be true – and is verified by a Commission the Oath, or equivalent authority. 

If your country does not issue affidavits, you can have one issued at the South African Embassy in your country of residence. This service will be provided free of charge. 

The South African department of home affairs has published this example Parental Consent Affidavit (PDF). NOTE: The document still needs to be verified by a Commissioner of Oaths. 

How to obtain an unabridged birth certificate in South Africa? 

South African parents can apply for an unabridged birth certificate at any branch of Home Affairs. Documents required to apply: 

  • Both parents’ ID books
  • The child’s ID number

You will be required to complete and submit forms. The cost of the unabridged birth certificate is R75 (cash only). 

The indicated time to issue an unabridged birth certificate is between 3 and 8 weeks. 

My child is adopted so our names are not on her birth certificate, what should I do? 

The parents of adopted children should produce proof of adoption by means of an adoption certificate or court order declaring them as parents of the adopted child. 

Use the interactive tool on this page to determine exactly what documents are necessary for your particular scenario.

We are a gay couple (two fathers) and both our names appear on the Unabridged Birth Certificate. If we are both travelling with our child, will that suffice? 

Yes, same sex parents are recognised as per the names on the unabridged birth certificate. Passports and visas (if necessary) will still be required. 

What if my child is travelling with grandparents or extended family members? 

All children under the age of 18, even those travelling with family members, or any adult that is not a parent or legal guardian must be in possession of the required documentation. 

Use the interactive tool on this page to determine exactly what documents are necessary for your particular scenario. 

What if my child is travelling with a school group? 

All children under the age of 18, even those travelling with teachers, or any adult that is not a parent or legal guardian, must be in possession of the required documentation. 

Use the interactive tool on this page to determine exactly what documents are necessary for your particular scenario. 

What will happen if we don’t have the required documentation at the time of check-in? 

Airlines are bound by the South African Immigration regulations and must act accordingly. Travellers not in possession of the required documentation will not be allowed to travel. 

Are these regulations applicable if I travelled into or from South Africa prior to 1 June 2015? 

No, the regulations are applicable only from 1 June 2015. 

Travellers who commenced travel prior to 1 June 2015 and have the necessary proof will not be requested to travel with these documents provided that the return leg of the journey which commenced before 1 June 2015 takes place within a period of 4 months. 

How can I contact at the South African department of Home Affairs? 

For further information and assistance please contact: 

  1. The South African Department of Home Affairs,
    http://www.dha.gov.za/
    0800 60 11 90 (toll free from South Africa);
    or 
  2. Your local South African Embassy 
    http://www.dirco.gov.za/webmissions/