New travel regulations when travelling abroad with children

Herewith an extract from the statement of the Minister of Home Affairs, postponing implementation to 1/06/2015 of the new travel regulations when travelling abroad with children, is copied below.

A copy of the press release -

“Since the announcement of the new regulations, we have consistently maintained that we welcome constructive engagement from stakeholders on their implementation. We thank those stakeholders who have engaged us substantively and constructively.
The information acquired has empowered the department to serve South Africans and foreign visitors and our various stakeholders more efficiently.

Subsequent to our meeting with the Minister of Tourism last month, Mr. Derek Hanekom, we have also met with tourism and aviation industry stakeholders including representatives from the IATA, ASATA the South African Tourism Council, and announced the formation of a joint task team between the department and the industry as a vehicle for ongoing engagement.
We are enormously pleased with the establishment of the task team, and trust that its representatives will bring invaluable perspectives and information on the tourism and travel sector, and help us improve communication with their clients and the sector as a whole.

We have further continued to engage with the representatives of the film industry and soccer fraternity. The different stakeholders have drawn our attention to the challenges relating to the new requirements for travelling children, which come into effect on October 1st, 2014, which were instituted to ensure the safety of children, in line with the Children’s Act of 2005 and our own international obligations.

In particular, the stakeholders have highlighted challenges regarding the requirement that all children entering or exiting South Africa be in possession of a passport, an Unabridged Birth Certificate, and written permission from both parents or guardians of the child, authorising that child’s travel. While the requirement that all children possess a passport has been implemented successfully, challenges have been raised regarding the requirements for the Unabridged Birth Certificate and written permission.
Stakeholders have alerted us to two main challenges: firstly, of ensuring accurate and timely communication to missions abroad, travel operators, and prospective travellers around the world about the new requirements; and secondly, that parents and those authorised to travel with children have time to obtain the required documentation in time for their travel plans.
It was put to the department, that while the new regulations are accepted as necessary and are fully supported, due to these challenges mentioned above, and particularly in light of the upcoming peak travel periods for families – that is, December / January for the festive season and April for Easter – a postponement would greatly assist travellers and the sectors as a whole. The department has taken this input into consideration, along with our obligation to ensure the safety of children entering and exiting the country.

Having taken all of this into account, we have granted a postponement of these two particular requirements – the Unabridged Birth Certificate and written permission to June 1st 2015.
During this postponement, I have directed the DDG: Immigration Services, Mr. Jackie McKay, to work intensively with industry stakeholders to ensure accurate information is available to all prospective travellers accompanying children all around the world, and allow those travellers time to gather the necessary documents.

While the requirements will be the same for South Africans and citizens of other countries, for foreigners’ purposes, an Unabridged Birth Certificate is merely a birth certificate from the responsible authority in their country which lists the particulars of the child’s parents. In the instance where this information is contained on the child’s passport, this too shall be acceptable.
To ensure that the security of children is not undermined during this period, our officials will be on heightened alert, and will use other means, including additional screening, vetting and interviews as necessary, to ensure all travelling children are authorised to do so.”

The implementation of the new South African Immigration Directive has been postponed by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) to 01st June 2015.

The implementation of the new South African Immigration Directive has been postponed by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) to 01st June 2015. There will be stringent documentation requirements for all persons under 18 years to present an "unabridged" birth certificate at check-in, in addition to a valid passport when entering, departing or transiting South Africa.

This requirement will apply to minors of all nationalities whether traveling unaccompanied, with both parents, single parent or with other adults.

"Unabridged" birth certificate contains the details of the individuals’ date and place of birth, gender, name in full, particulars of parents, date and place of their birth and citizenship at time of their birth. It is a longer version as compared to the normal short version certificate which contains only name, date of birth, etc of the individual.

Please ensure that all adults travelling with a passenger under the age of 18 years, has been informed of the South African Immigration Directive.

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