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As of today – 1 June 2015 – those travelling to / from South Africa with children under the age of 18 will be asked to show a number of documents, such as an unabridged birth certificate, for each travelling child. 
 
The new rule comes from the South African Department of Home Affairs who originally tried to implement the requirement in late 2014. However, this was postponed to allow accurate and timely communication to South African missions abroad and give parents more time to obtain the correct documentation. 
 
 
The new requirement is implemented as an attempt to combat international child trafficking in and out of South Africa. However, the strict and burdensome set of requirements that are to be implemented could harm the tourism industry in South Africa as parents and families look to visit countries with more relaxed immigration controls. 
 
Advanced planning will be required as official documents could take several weeks to obtain. Specifically, if relocating under a South African work permit you will require even further advance planning if you wish for your family to travel with you at the same time. 
 
Who is affected? 
 
The strict rules will apply to all children under 18 years traveling to/ from South Africa, regardless of nationality, including South African nationals, South African work permit holder, and permanent residents of South Africa. However, those travelling within South Africa do not need an unabridged birth certificate as long as they do not cross country borders by land, air or sea. 
 
Many families planning travel to South Africa for the summer should start gathering the relevant documents to avoid disappointment of not being allowed entry with their children. 
 
What is an Unabridged Birth Certificate? 
 
It is a birth certificate reflecting the particulars of both parents of the child. 
 
After 14th March 2013, all children born in South Africa were automatically issued with a valid unabridged birth certificate free of charge. 
 
Anyone born prior to this date and those from countries that do not automatically issue an unabridged certificate must apply for the document well before their date of travel. Those applying for a South African unabridged birth certificate are recommended to apply well in advance, as the process could take between three to eight weeks. 
 
Requirements 
 
The new immigration rules cover a range of scenarios and requirements, listed below: 
 
Where parents are travelling with a child: 
 
An unabridged birth certificate of the child reflecting the particulars of both parents and child. 
 
Where a child is adopted proof of adoption by means of an adoption certificate is required. 
 
Where one parent is traveling with a child: 
 
An unabridged birth certificate must reflect the particulars of the parent and the child. 
 
Written consent from the other parent in the form of an affidavit, that is signed no longer than three months before travel, authorising the travel of the parent with the child to and from South Africa. 
A Court Order is required when the parents have legally separated and the other parent does not give consent. 
Where a named spouse on the child’s birth certificate has died a death certificate is required. 
Where the father is unknown, the mother will be required to show an affidavit stating that she is solely responsible for the child. 
Where both parents are deceased and the child is travelling with a relative or another related person, the Director-General at his own discretion can approve such persons to enter and exit South Africa with the child. 
 
Where a person is travelling with a child who is not their biological child: 
 
A copy of an unabridged birth certificate of the child; 
An affidavit from the parents or legal guardian of the child confirming they have permission to travel with the child; 
Copies of the identity documents or passports of the parents or legal guardian of the child; and 
Contact details of the parents or legal guardian of the child. 
 
Any unaccompanied minor shall produce to the immigration officer: 
Written consent from the other parent in the form of an affidavit authorising the travel of the parent with the child to and from South Africa. In the case of one parent relying upon proof of consent from the second parent, they must also provide a copy of a court order issued to him or her in terms stating they have been granted full parental responsibilities and rights in respect of the child. 
 
If a child is traveling to the Republic to be collected by the other parent or persons, the child must show immigration authorities that individuals’ residential address and contact details; 
Copies of the identity document or valid passport and South African work permit / visa or permanent residence of the person who is to receive the child in South Africa; 
The contact details for the child’s parents or legal guardian of the child. 
Any child who is in alternative care as defined in the Children’s Act 2005: 
 
Prior to departure from South Africa: 
 
A certified copy of an authorisation letter from the Provincial Head of the Department of Social Development where the child resides as contemplated in section 169 of the Children’s Act needs to be produced. 
It should be noted that regardless of the criteria a child fits into, all documents (including the birth certificate) must be translated to English by a legally recognised translator. Additionally, any affidavits should not be older than three months at the time of presenting to the South African immigration authorities for travel. 
 
We at DavidsonMorris understand the need to plan well in advance and how to secure the necessary documentation when planning to apply for a South African work permit. 
 
If you require assistance in securing a Business Visa, Intra-Company Visa or Work Permit for South Africa, please feel free to contact us on 020 7494 0118 or at info@davidsonmorris.com. 
 
Original Source: Davidson Morris 
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