Foreign minors travelling with both parents, who have the same surname, will soon no longer have to present a birth certificate when entering South Africa. This requirement caused major obstructions to international tourism, and changes will make it easier for foreigners to travel with their children. Minors from countries that require a visa will still need to present a birth certificate when they apply for a visa, but they will not have to travel with it.

The Department of Home Affairs published the update on 22 March 2019. They hope that this relaxation of the rules – whenever it is fully implemented – will help to drive tourism numbers up by making it easier for families to pass through South African customs hassle-free.

According to Sue-Ann de Wet, AfriForum’s Project Coordinator for South African Diaspora, these changes may come too late. “It has taken four months for the government to fully establish clarity on this situation. We have been raising our concerns on the outcome of the visa regulations since it was announced for the first time in 2014. South Africa’s tourism industry has already suffered great losses – including a loss in employment opportunities.”

As with many countries, there are special requirements for unaccompanied children, children travelling with one parent only, and parents with different surnames.

The travel regulations that require South Africans younger than 18 to have unabridged birth certificates as well as written permission by parents or guardian(s) that approve their travel plans will remain. AfriForum urgently appeals to parents to not be complacent and to apply for the unabridged certificate timeously to prevent disappointment when they want to travel.

This post is also available in: Afrikaans

Sue-Ann de Wet
Sue-Ann de Wet

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