If you travel to South Africa with children under 18 years of age, you must make sure you comply with the South African immigration regulations. The important rulings in regards to carrying an UBC (unabridged birth certificate) when entering or leaving South Africa came into effect already three years ago. Now as of 1 December 2018, the first amendment to these rules came into effect. As there is still much insecurity about this issue, please read our recommendations below.
The regulations initially required parents to produce an unabridged birth certificate in addition to a valid passport when entering or leaving South Africa. These regulations have been eased somewhat. It is still mandatory, however, to carry further documentation should the child travel alone or is only accompanied by one parent or a guardian.
The new immigration regulations still cause some concern for foreign parents travelling with children. As your child's birth certificate may still be asked either by airline or the immigrations officer at border control who is not informed about these changes, make sure to pack the certificate for your travels. This is strongly advised if your child carries a different name than the parents. For single parents travelling with the child make sure to carry the letter of permission of the other parent as well.
The immigration regulations for travels with children state that...
For more information regarding immigration issues regarding travel to South Africa with Children, please see the government information brochure here or click on the image to the right. Also find in the box, the official consent form as required by DHA.
The provisions place an extra burden on those parents who plan on taking their children overseas or who intend to travel to South Africa on any kind of visa, even if they are citizens of visa-exempt countries. This regulation applies to South Africa citizens as well as foreign nationals. It is strongly advised, that all parents comply with the regulations. For South African citizen travel to and from South Africa without necessary unabridged birth certificate will not be relaxed and it is compulsory to carry the document showing both parents names. Airlines have been enforcing the new regulations strictly and it will be seen how far the regulations will be relaxed further to improve tourism numbers again.
Be aware that you apply for unabridged birth certificates as soon as possible also for new borns, as such certificates take up to eight weeks if applied for locally. For parents with foreign passports to obtain a birth certificate, you need to apply for the SA unabridged certificate either via your hospital's home affair officer or at the DHA offices. With this certificate you can then apply for an unabridged birth certificate at your local embassy or consulate and also apply for your newborn's passport. Should you need copies of the unabridged foreign birth certificate, please contact your national mission in South Africa.