The Department of Home Affairs has announced relaxation of some international travel requirements for children going through South African ports of entry.

“From the beginning of December 2018, certain categories of child travellers will be exempt from presenting supporting documents at ports of entry.

However, travellers are urged to carry these documents because they may be requested in certain instances,” says the department.

South African children travelling abroad may be requested to produce supporting documents. However, children with passports detailing their parents’ names will not be required to carry birth certificates.

Home Affairs spokesperson David Hlabane says children who are foreign nationals from countries where visas are required will no longer have to carry supporting documents.

“They would have provided such documents when applying for visas outside. And for those from countries where visas are not required, we have moved away from making it quite mandatory as we did in 2014. What would happen with those that are exempt from visas is that they will, on basis of suspicion really, be required probably to produce documents.”

The Department says it has trained its immigration officials to implement these changes.

“These amendments were made in terms of section 7 of the Immigration Act, 2002 after consultation with the Immigration Advisory Board.These amendments reflect some of the Cabinet approved reforms to the visa regime and are in line with economic recovery plan and stimulus announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in September 2018,” says the department.

The amendments took effect on 01 December 2018.

Below are the changes that the department has made for when you are leaving or coming to South Africa.

For travellers coming to South Africa

  • Children who are foreign nationals from countries where visas are required will no longer have to carry supporting documents. This is because they would have been required to provide these during the visa application process.
  • Children who are foreign nationals from countries where visas are not required may be asked to produce supporting documents upon entry. Even though producing supporting documents is no longer compulsory, travellers are strongly advised to carry the supporting documents.
  • In the case of countries that endorse the particulars of parents in children’s passports, or other official identification documents, these documents shall be sufficient to establish the identity of the parents of the travelling minor.

For South Africans leaving the country

  • South African children travelling abroad may be requested to produce supporting documents at ports of entry.
  • Children with passports detailing parents’ names will not be required to carry birth certificates when travelling. In addition, a parental affidavit may be required.
  • These requirements are meant to give effect to the Children’s Act, 2005 which stipulates that minors travelling in or out of the country must do so with the consent of both parents.